"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." -Aldous Huxley

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wSunday, April 10, 2005

AND SPEAKING OF REASON AND PAPAL COVERAGE: Web editor Tim Cavanaugh asked if I would be willing to write about JPII, so I hammered this piece out last Saturday night after Mass and the storm from hell. I started by taking a shot at Larry King and eventually worked my way around to looking at JPII's papacy:

As pope, Wojtyla was a rock star. From the start, he caught most observers by surprise. When John Paul I—the Jerry Ford of popes—died of a massive heart attack after only 33 days in office, this put the fear of a Seriously Pissed Off Deity into many of the cardinals. And so, when voting deadlocked over two popular Italian candidates, they decided to thrust John Paul II onto the world.

Looking at some of the television footage of Wojtyla when he was introduced to the world as John Paul II, and shortly after, I can see why the crowds took to him. He was young for a pope (58), vigorous, and cut quite the figure. He was the first non-Italian pope in over 400 years and the first Slavic pope ever. He was something new and different and unpredictable.

As if to underscore this, for his inaugural address, Wojtyla broke from protocol and shrugged off the dead language of the Vatican to address the crowds in his broken Italian. Over the next 26 years, he would redefine what we think of when the word "pope" is uttered. [more]

posted by Jeremy at 7:40 AM