Reactions to the Pope’s life and death came from two leading church figures in Lisbon’s expatriate community on Sunday.
The Rev. Michael Bullock of St. George’s Church in Lisbon said he was a great, holy man. “I had enormous respect for him and he towered above us. I think he was a man of definite and strongly held principles and, if you believe something to be right, no matter what your time or culture is, then for you it is right,” he remarked on the Pope’s conservative and traditional views. However, he said that much of the Pope’s pontificate would be seen as progressive, particularly his social teaching and opposition to the death penalty. “His views (whether on the ordination of women priests, contraception, Aids, gay marriages and rights, abortion, euthanasia and the death penalty) didn’t come out of bloody-mindedness, but on a serious consideration of what he believed the demands of God to be. He was somebody who stated deeply-held principles and endeavoured to interpret them in modern times,” he added.
The Rev. John Young of St. Andrew’s Church said that, while Pope John Paul II was a conservative, he was “a great man”. “In world terms, he used his position for peace and the promotion of high moral and ethical standards. Despite some disagreements in his teachings and doctrines, there was no doubt that he was a highly charismatic Pope who influenced and attracted many young people, especially in the former Eastern Bloc countries,” he said. Rev. Young added that Catholics worldwide must be suffering a sense of loss difficult to imagine for other faiths. “They are without leadership now and our thoughts go out to our Roman Catholic friends,” he concluded. C.G.