Today is not the day for a harsh look over the life of the Pope and his role in defining the Catholic Church over the past quarter century.  Today is a day for reflection on the passing of one man.  A day to reflect on the loss that his passing means – to his followers and to the world.  John Paul II, like the church he leads, is full of contradictions.  The Catholic faith has had two thousand years to mean multitudes to multitudes.

While I think that today is not the right day for look back – for critical review of John Paul II’s Papacy – I do think it is a day to reflect on the future.  The Church can play a role like few other organizations in shaping the moral direction of world society.  It not only carries a great deal of power and influence on moral issues, but its institutional self has a profound presence in the world.

So today – looking forward – I offer a prayer (a reflection) for a just Pope; for a new church.

I pray first that the spirit of Jesus Christ influence the outcome of the Papal election.  I pray that the Jesus of Peace, the Jesus of Love, the Jesus of Justice guide the men who will elect the next Holy Father of the Catholic Church.

I pray that the Jesus of Peace guide these men to select a Pope who is strong enough to challenge all the world’s leaders directly.  I pray for a Pope strong enough to stand up against tradition and corruption to put the considerable strength of the Catholic Church to carry forth the “Culture of Life” in total and absolute opposition to Crimes Against the Peace and all forms of aggressive war and occupation.  I pray for a Pope strong enough to call for an end to war – and to help construct a world body capable of making all war criminal.  

I pray that the Jesus of Love guide these men to select a Pope who is strong enough to challenge all the world’s peoples directly.  I pray for a Pope strong enough to stand up against all forms of oppression.  I pray that the Absolute Freedom of Christ be expressed and pushed forward by the Pope.  I pray that love be the guiding force for tolerance and equality of the law, equality in prosperity, and equality in social customs and civic life.  I pray for a leader of love, willing to stand down the evils of war, intolerance, cruelty and greed.  I pray for Christ to inspire our next Pope to remove all corruption from the Church.  I pray that this be done out of love – for those least loved and most forgotten by society.

And I pray that the Jesus of Justice guide the men who select the Pope to be the last the men who select a Pope at the exclusion of half of humanity.  I pray for justice in the Church and society for women and men alike.  I pray that the Church recognize that the Jesus of Love, Peace, Justice does not stand for 2,000 year old traditions that exclude women from the role of spiritual leadership and Church authority.

I pray the selection of the next Pope lead to the end of poverty, to the end of oppression, to the end of injustice on Earth.  I pray for an end to war.

I pray for a Church that works for prosperity for all, liberty and justice for all, and for peace.  In memory of John Paul II, I pray for a strong and loving new Church.  I pray for a new Church, in the spirit of Jesus Christ – peaceful, loving and just. I pray that the new Holy Father will work to protect the Earth and the biodiversity of the Earth. I pray for leadership calling for sustainable prosperity, in balance with all God’s creation.(21:42 PDT on 04/03/05)

Tom Kertes | Seattle, WA

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