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In a Time of Moral Crisis, Pope Swam Against the Tide

October 22, 2003

Re "A Papacy's 25 Years of Unfulfilled Potential," Commentary, Oct. 17: Daniel Maguire's attack on Pope John Paul II hardly deserves a serious response. John Paul has led the church for 25 years through times of serious crisis, demonstrating his steadfast moral strength and greatness throughout that period.

I can only laugh at Maguire's suggestion that this pontiff has not faced the moral issues of this age head-on. Indeed, John Paul, more than any other public figure in recent history, has been a truly countercultural beacon of hope to a world of darkness. He has repeatedly preached "the Gospel of Life" in the face of the culture of death. Maguire and his generation of dissenters, bitter at their failure to re-create the church in their own image, will soon be gone from the ranks of the Catholic Church. The legacy of John Paul, however, will endure many years beyond his papacy.

This pope has re-energized the faith, hope and love of Catholics throughout the world, demonstrating both in his teaching and through the example of his own personal life the moral virtues human beings were created to strive after. I have no doubt that he will be known at some point as John Paul the Great, a truly modern saint, a man who brought the church into the 21st century with compassion and humility.

Patrick Sternal

Alhambra

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I was raised a Catholic and wondered in my youth why nuns could run the schools but could not perform the functions of priests. As a young adult, I pondered the inconsistency of opposing abortion and forbidding the use of contraception. I could never understand the church's reasons for preventing priests from marrying. Because of its archaic, rigid and elitist beliefs, I long ago left the church.

I've been watching the celebrations marking the 25 years of John Paul's papacy. Sadly, I agree with Maguire. It has been one of longevity but, for me, one with no pertinence.

Jan Sasabe

Los Angeles

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It is obvious that Maguire doesn't understand the difference between Roman Catholic standards of morality and ethics and the convenient "theology" of expediency he seems to promote. Yes, other Christian churches went along the path of compromise -- and now look at the moral and theological chaos. Thank God for John Paul II. For Maguire to accuse the Vatican of "murderous" ignorance is unbecoming a theology professor in a Jesuit university.

Andrew Tyszkiewicz

Rancho Palos Verdes

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