Sunday, April 03, 2005


I have followed some of the coverage of Pope John Paul II with interest. I can remember the excitement of his early years (not my own - but I know that others were) when he toured the world and his charisma was very apparent.
We were watching the news coverage last night and my daughter (23) had a different perspective as she could only remember him as a very old and frail man so she was very interested to see all of the early coverage.

Is the coverage now going a bit over the top?? I don't think so because for the many catholics in the world this is a momentous event and I can recall being in Italy when the white smoke came from the chimney when they chose Pope John Paul I. I was on a campsite and complete mayhem seemed to break out around us. Such things are very emotional events as well as being of great importance.

I was curious to see what Boris Johnson had written and whether he had resisted the temptation to offend but he appears to be ski-ing so we have not yet had an opportunity to see what he has to say on the subject.

There is no doubt that the late Pope was influential and charismatic but already there are signs of hype. Dana, on the radio, this morning seemed to suggest that he was almost solely responsible for the Berlin wall coming down. That is not quite my recollection of events.

The choice of the next pope will be interesting, especially in light of the pro-life debate that rages and threatens to develop a party political angle if we are not careful. I have a particular interest in the HIV/AIDS pandemic and am curious to see whether the new pope will take a different line on the subject of condom use. My view is that a change of papal line will save lives so I shall be watching this particular debate with interest.