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Australian bishops express sorrow

Bishops around Australia have expressed their sorrow at the death of Pope John Paul II, with Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president, Archbishop Francis Carroll, saying he was deeply saddened by Sunday morning's news.

Archbishop Carroll, of Canberra-Goulburn, said Pope John Paul was a much loved leader of the Church who left an extraordinary legacy.

He added the Pope was also widely recognised as having played an important role in shaping world events during his long pontificate, particularly the fall of Eastern bloc Communism.

"The recent intense focus on his declining health served to illustrate the place he held in the life of the world," he said. "I ask all Catholics to join me in praying for the repose of the Pope's soul and to pray for the Church as it goes through this period of sadness and begins to prepare for a new pontificate."

Cardinal George Pell of Sydney described Pope John Paul as one of the greatest Christian pastors in history.

"History will know him as John Paul the Great," he said. "He was not only the most politically influential popes in centuries. He was also, to the very end, one of the greatest Christian pastors in history."

"John Paul II ended as he began, with faith, love and courage. With these he gave a whole world new reasons to hope; new reasons to trust in God and the power of love," said Cardinal Pell

Archbishop Philip Wilson of Adelaide said Pope John Paul would be revered as a humble leader who continually reminded the world of the beauty of humanity.

"We affectionately farewell a man who had such a dramatic impact on the world because of his holiness and his integrity," Archbishop Wilson said.

Bishop Michael Malone of Maitland-Newcastle said Pope John Paul II will be judged by history as one of the most influential leaders of our time. He stands tall among political and religious leaders alike.

"John Paul II has been a clear sign of spiritual and moral integrity to the world," Bishop Malone said.

Bishop Kevin Manning of Parramatta said Pope John Paul would live on in people's memories as a champion of truth and freedom, a leading thinker of our times, a great moral leader, steadfast in his love of God and his fellow human beings.

"Pope John Paul stands out as a powerful witness to holiness of life, a man close to God, who, in acccepting suffering, totally abandoned himself to God's will," Bishop Manning said.

Australian bishops express sorrow (Catholic Leader 3/4/05)


4 Apr 2005