Father Graham comments on the death of the pope

University President Michael J. Graham, S.J., offers his view on the pontiff's death from personal, professional and priestly perspective | April 4, 2005

As a Roman Catholic priest and University president, I feel especially proud of the great contribution Pope John Paul II has made to our world, particularly in the area of interreligious dialogue, forgiveness and understanding. His outreach to the Jewish people, for example, is one of the epoch-making accomplishments of his papacy. It will be remembered long into the future because it forever changed the tenor of the relationship between Catholics and Jews. He was not only the first pope to visit a Jewish temple, but also the first to pray in a Muslim mosque. He revolutionized relationships between Catholics and members of all other religious faiths. His steadfast leadership on every important, moral questions of our era matches his reaching out to people of every faith and persuasion in ways that redefine what it means to be a Pope. As Pope he belonged to everyone, not just Catholics. While in faith I believe that he has gone home to God and as well that the same Spirit who raised him up remains active and alive in the church, I feel nonetheless sad and solemn at his passing. But more than any of that, I feel lucky to have lived during the life of this remarkable man.

Michael J. Graham, S.J.