Skip to comments.Pope John Paul II: Generation X continues to lose our greatest leaders, but their values remain
Posted on 04/04/2005 3:15:28 PM PDT by qam1
I suppose that every generation goes through the melancholy task of burying the leaders who shaped the world from our childhood. For people of my generation, dubbed Generation X, a group much different than the baby boomers - socially and politically, we have already begun the process of saying good-bye to a number of people who helped to create the world we live in today. The most recent person we lay to rest is among the most influential people the world has ever known: Pope John Paul II.
On Friday, President Bush will be the first United States President ever to pay respects to a Pope in Rome as leads a small United States delegation to The Holy See for the Popes funeral.
Already, pundits and talking heads are wondering whether or not President Bush should break with tradition in our, debatably, secular society to attend the funeral of the spiritual leader to over one billion Catholics, but the Pope was much more than a simple spiritualist. He was a man who helped the greatest leaders that my generation remembers transform the world into one of Communism and tyranny against freedom and liberty to one where liberty and freedom no longer fear individual states or the menace of the Soviet Union. Our fear today is not of a missile attack by a superpower, but a chemical or nuclear attack by a small group of disgruntled Islamists.
If ever there were an event for the tradition of a United States President not to attend the funeral of a religious leader and head of state the funeral of Pope John Paul II is that occasion.
The Pope was a central figure, along with Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher coupled with the courageous people of the former Soviet Union, in ending the Cold War and bringing down the Iron Curtain that divided Europe.
Freedom and liberty came to hundreds of millions of people without the firing of a single shot and although times have changed and enemies have become less obvious than America versus the USSR, the message of liberty has not lost on President Bush as he fights a war on terror and leads the world to stomp out a menace more sinister than the Soviet Union.
The cycle of life that takes the great leaders of our generation creates a need for other men and women to rise to a level of prominence that many question if anyone will ever be able to replicate.
When President Reagan died I lost the first President I ever really knew and it was an emotional loss; greatness doesnt come along very often. Pope John Paul II has been a fixture on the world scene for 27 years and as pictures were being replayed of a young Cardinal Karol Wojtyla walking into the Conclave after the death of Pope John Paul I, who presided over the faithful for only 33 days culminating in what some have dubbed the Year of Three Popes, it was hard not to think about the astonishing things John Paul II brought to the world.
Reaching out to bridge the gap between the Orthodox Christian faiths of the east to the Catholic Church in Rome, being the first Pope in history to attend both a synagogue and a mosque and his greatest achievement, in my mind, of bringing young people into the arms of G-d and making them excited about religion made Pope John Paul II a leader among leaders.
The Pope had a keen insight into the fact that it would be difficult to change the minds of some selfish baby boomers, but to affect the future he had to become as popular as a rock star and affect the behavior and minds of their children.
During World Youth Days he was greeted exactly like a star by hundreds of thousands of young people who see the egotism of the generation that begat us as we distance ourselves from the values they attempt to instill into us. We dont believe in the free love culture they embraced, or that behavior of an individual in this life doesnt matter in the next or that taking life from the innocent as they become either a burden (read: Terri Schiavo) or those too weak to care for themselves (read: abortion) is not okay for any society.
Pope John Paul II had a gift of perception that comes from watching his childhood friends be taken to concentration camps by the Nazis never to return. He lived under the tyranny of Communism so was a remarkable figure and inspiration for change as he became the first Polish Pope in history and the first non-Italian in 456 years and also the youngest in the 20th Century.
Three leaders stand out in the minds of people in my generation for their steadfast leadership and courage: Ronald Reagan, Pope John Paul II and Margaret Thatcher. Within a year weve lost all but the latter and her health is waning as the result of a stroke and it may not be long before Lady Thatcher is taken from the world and reunited with the men who shared her hatred of tyranny and love of liberty.
As we watch the pomp and circumstance of what will be happening during the funeral of Pope John Paul II and the Conclave of Cardinals as they choose the next Pope, Generation X has to be wondering when will the next group of greater than great leaders appear? Some come close President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair (neither of them like the other on social issues, but united in foreign policy) are excoriated at home for their various methods of attacking terrorists where they live instead of allowing them to attack us where we do.
Reagan and Thatcher faced similar opposition and history proved that those who opposed them were wrong. Unfortunately, being wrong doesnt matter when the target is a conservative; being wrong as a liberal elevates their stature, being right as a conservative passes as a blip in history and is often belittled as an accident.
Pope John Paul II made moral teaching a central part of his Papacy; Margaret Thatcher and President Reagan were not willing to assume that the former Soviet Union could not be conquered and they succeeded. President Bush is doing similar things today as is his counterpart in Great Britain.
When the white smoke rises from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel announcing the election of the next Pope, let us hope that he may follow in the shoes of John Paul II in a way that adheres to the teaching of the value of life and a hatred for tyranny.
He may be too young to have lived under Nazism or from a place too distant to feel the reality of lack of liberty, but with G-ds help he will realize quickly that the Pope has a way of changing the world by using his Papacy for the good of the world and not simply the good of the Catholic faithful.
Steve Yuhas is a columnist and radio talk show host on KOGO out of San Diego. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.steveyuhas.com
Well said. Thank you!
It has been my experience - personally and in discussion with other X'ers - that our role models; adult figures who inspired us as we grew up and came of age - were not from the '60's generation' but rather were the parents of the boomers.
Our grandparents and others their age - Ronald Reagan; Pope John Paul II; Margaret Thacher, etc.,et.al. - were those who offered Gen X'ers a moral compass, an optimistic vision of the future, who spoke of duty and purpose and spoke of Western Civilization as something worth defending.
Yes, I just thank God I grew up under "Silent Generation" parents! Whheeeewwww, no Hippies for me! Dodged that bullet!
I believe you are right, but the Mrs. is very concerned. My own view is that there seems to be something of a resurgence of faith in the US. I am guardedly optimistic.
What? Where did you get that? From the gospel according to Teplukin?
First off, the word is TENET--not tenant.
Second off, calling a religion a lot of Freepers happen to believe in "nonsense" is flamebaiting. You do that a lot, and usually on this very subject.
Third, who are you to go telling people who 'true freepers' are, newbie?
What I believe is nonsense is the notion that Catholicism is first among the faiths, by virtue of the words Christ spoke to Peter. I did not condemn Cathoics. Indeed a sister in law of mine is a Catholic.
Third, who are you to go telling people who 'true freepers' are, newbie?
To point out the obvious, distinctions & judgment must be made in defense of truth faith and our true political orientation. I buy not iota of the pernicious doctrine that all faiths are equal, all political beliefs are equal. That is a form of moral relativism. There is right & wrong, correct and incorrect. All Freepers know this intuitively.
I think you make it pretty clear just what you believe is nonsense when you say "Catholicism is simply Christian sect founded upon a false tenant [sic]." You might just as well admit you believe the whole faith and any adherents are being silly. You don't have issues with Catholicism being 'first among the faiths,' you have issues with Catholicism.
I did not condemn Cathoics. Indeed a sister in law of mine is a Catholic.
I bet some of your best friends are Negroes, too.
To point out the obvious, distinctions & judgment must be made in defense of truth faith and our true political orientation.
So you don't have any problems with Catholicism per se, just that it proclaims itself first among the faiths, but you're defending the 'true faith,' which evidently isn't Catholicism.
I buy not iota of the pernicious doctrine that all faiths are equal, all political beliefs are equal. That is a form of moral relativism. There is right & wrong, correct and incorrect. All Freepers know this intuitively.
You bigots really like this tack, tossing out the straw man, and damning moral relativism, which nobody here is advocating. You say that anyone who doesn't like their faith being insulted is denying truth and righteousness. But you've made no religious argument--you've said nothing other than the whole of the Catholic faith is founded upon nonsense. You retreat to this 'right and wrong' crap as if you had merely said something that was empirically true. No, you said that a whole churchful of believers believe "nonsense," when you evidently believe a whole other sectful of "nonsense." What you believe insofar as religion is concerned may be your opinion, but it's as inappropriate to call others' nonsensical here without any reason and in an improper forum as randomly saying at the bus stop that you think Jews are stupid or spouting off in the supermarket that you think Mexicans are dumb. You want to debate theology, start your own thread, and the folks who want to debate the number of angels who dance on the head of a pin and how God hates religion X will join you.
Yeah, I'm pretty sure Jesus said something about the 2nd Amendment in Luke. /sarc
"The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose. An evil soul producing holy witness is like a villain with a smiling cheek, a goodly apple rotten at the heart. O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!" - William Shakespeare
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