Tribute to Blessed Pope John Paul II
Only six years after his death, Pope John Paul II was proclaimed blessed by his successor, Pope Benedict XVI, before an immense crowd assembled at St Peter’s Basilica in ome, on Sunday, May 1st, 2011. This historic event, which was broadcast by television stations in almost one hundred countries, confirmed in some ways the holiness of this great servant of the Catholic Church whose pontificate lasted more than a quarter of a century (from 1978 to 2005).
In his homily, Pope Benedict XVI, paid tribute to his predecessor’s “strength of a titan” and ability to “reclaim[ed] for Christianity that impulse of hope” in the face of Marxism, successfully reversing “a tide which appeared irreversible”. He also highlighted John Paul II influence on him over the course of the 23 years he served as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. “My own service was sustained by his spiritual depth and by the richness of his insights. His example of prayer continually impressed and edified me: he remained deeply united to God even amid the many demands of his ministry.”
As highlighted by Archbishop Pierre Morissette, President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), in a statement on the day following the Holy Father’s announcement of the beatification : “Pope John Paul II left a major mark on the Church and on the world. His vision and energy were a continuation of the Second Vatican Council. His Encyclicals and other writings are a lasting source of inspiration and teaching.”
The Catholic Church in Canada remains touched by the memory of Blessed John Paul II, particularly his three visits in 1984, 1987, and 2002, for World Youth Day in Toronto. L’Osservatore Romano has recently published a memory album which includes many texts and photos that remind us of Karol Wojtyla’s journey. This publication, as well as other articles on Pope John Paul II, is available through the Publications Service of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.