Notes from a small island
A weblog by Jonathan Ali

Monday, April 11, 2005  

Karol Wojtyla was a witness to [the] holocaust, which may be why he did the extraordinary thing that he did.  On his visit to Israel in 2000, he posted a prayer in a niche in Jerusalem's Wailing Wall which said: "God of our fathers, you chose Abraham and his descendants to bring your name to the nations. We are deeply saddened by the behaviour of those who in the course of history have caused these children of yours to suffer, and asking your forgiveness we wish to commit ourselves to genuine brotherhood with the people of the covenant."

By posting that prayer in the wall, he acknowledged that this uniquely Jewish method of communicating with the Almighty is valid – and by its contents he accepted that the Jewish covenant with God is still in force.  It was a thing done in a moment, but it ended two thousand years of Christian rejection of Judaism. The Catholic church, while still advocating the conversion of everybody else, no longer seeks the conversion of the Jews, which is as close as it can come to acknowledging the essential validity of the Jewish faith.

That was the Big Thing that John Paul II did, and it is more important and will last far longer than all the other things he did put together.

-- Gwynne Dyer, in his syndicated column, on the legacy of Pope John Paul II.

posted by Jonathan | 1:53 PM 0 comments


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