2016-06-30
The following are excerpts of reactions from political and religious leaders to the death of Pope John Paul II:

"Her Majesty (Queen Elizabeth II) remembers the untiring efforts of Pope John Paul II in promoting peace and goodwill throughout the world."
-- A statement from Buckingham Palace

"We, as Orthodox Christians, will always remember, among other instances, (his) expression of a desire for reconciliation and unity as we pray for the repose of his soul."
-- The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

"Pope John Paul II was surely one of the most outstanding people of the 20th century. His personal warmth and ability to engage with people made him a charismatic figure."
-- The Rev. Alison Elliot, moderator of the Church of Scotland

"He not only spoke about bringing freedom to the enslaved in nations all around the word, but he moved heaven and earth to bring about freedom for enslaved people through his actions."
-- Roberta Combs, president of the Christian Coalition of America

"Pope John Paul II appealed to people to reach the heights of their human potential, to respect one another by acting justly and with charity."
-- Monsignor William Kerr, director of the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington.

"His guidance renewed in us our need to come together as one human family and challenged us to reach out to the poorest of the poor -- not just to alleviate their suffering but to help them fulfill their potential and maintain their dignity as human persons."

-- Ken Hackett, president of Catholic Relief Services

"With the loss of this amazing figure the world is missing one of the greatest men of our time, but for all of us touched by his time here on Earth, we are consoled in the knowledge that we are strengthened by his legacy."
-- Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council

"To enumerate his many accomplishments and deeds of service to the church and the human family would literally fill volumes."
-- Archbishop John Myers of Newark, N.J.

"No pope did more for the Jews than John Paul II."
-- Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center

"He will be long remembered for his tireless efforts to promote world peace and for his great warmth of personality."
-- Prince Charles, prince of Wales

"John Paul II was the first bishop to visit a synagogue in almost 2,000 years. He repeatedly stated that anti-Semitism is a sin against God and that there is no room in Christianity for anti-Semitic interpretations of Christian texts."
-- Eugene Korn, director of Jewish affairs and intergroup relations, American Jewish Congress

"We ... join people everywhere in thanking God for the long and remarkable ministry of this beloved Christian leader and pray God's blessing on the Roman Catholic Church as it seeks guidance in selecting a successor."
-- The Rev. Kenneth Kearon, secretary general of the Anglican Communion

"Throughout the many years of his service as spiritual leader of the Roman Catholic Church, he was a shining example of dedication to the episcopal ministry and to the high office to which he was called and a good steward of the manifold grace of God."
-- Metropolitan Herman, primate of the Orthodox Church in America

"The life and witness of John Paul II spanned the horrors of the 20th -- and now into 21st -- centuries. All those movements and events that conspired to undermine human dignity -- from Hitler's Fascism, to Marxist-Leninist gulags, to the debasement of human sexuality, to the culture of death -- he stood against all with courage and faith, lifting up a vision of humankind as our Creator intended us."
-- Diane Knippers, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy

"Throughout his leadership of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope John Paul II's theme has always been `Be not afraid.' He lived this belief and serves as an inspiration to millions of Christians."
-- Rev. Louis P. Sheldon, chairman of Traditional Values Coalition

"The pope's willingness to reach out to Christians outside of the Roman Catholic faith was critical to promoting unity across the Christian family. His vision, his determination, and his loving spirit will be missed by Christians around the world."
-- Chuck Colson, founder and president of Prison Fellowship

"Let us pray for the repose of his great soul. I have to believe that there will be great joy in heaven on the return home of the vicar of Christ."
-- Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, archbishop of Washington

"A genius with languages and with the new ideas of our age, he will be remembered as a giant of our time, and of every time."
-- Cardinal William Keeler, archbishop of Baltimore

"The world now mourns the loss of this man of God whose spirit and devotion, even in the face of frail health, exemplified Jesus Christ's own love for the church."
-- Cardinal Francis George, archbishop of Chicago

"From the perspective of Christian faith, Pope John Paul II was never a more compelling witness to the hope of the Gospel than in his last years and months. Even in his diminishment and dying, our Holy Father offered himself as a gift for the church and the world, emptying himself, pouring himself out before us ... and through self-giving unto death, has become life, light and love for the world."
-- Cardinal Roger Mahony, archbishop of Los Angeles

"Our beloved Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, has been called home to God. To his dying breath, he has served God and the church with unwavering love and his own steadfast faith in Jesus Christ."
-- Cardinal Adam Maida, archbishop of Detroit

"This pope may have come from a faraway place, but he grew close to the hearts of millions over the years in every part of the world."

-- Cardinal Justin Rigali, archbishop of Philadelphia

"His Holiness John Paul II will be remembered as one of the most courageous spiritual leaders of our time. He demonstrated this courage as much in his illness as he did through his leadership, his writings and his pronouncements."
-- The Rev. Samuel Kobia, general secretary of the World Council of Churches.

"He was truly the pope of peace, whose commitment to the cause of peace is unmatched in our time."
-- Carl Anderson, supreme knight, Knights of Columbus

"A man of the people, he championed the cause of justice and peace not only for his native Poland but on behalf of all the peoples of the world. He welcomed into his embrace people of every creed and race, but his love for young people was a special example of his care for all."
-- The Rev. Mark Hanson, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and president of the Lutheran World Federation

"Pope John Paul II was a religious leader of inordinate conviction, courage and compassion who bridged the gulf between intellect and spirit, piety and poverty, church and synagogue to leave the world a better place."
-- Rabbi Ismar Schorsch, chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York

"In word and deed, Pope John Paul II worked tirelessly to repair the church's painful 2,000-year history with the Jewish people. ... He was a man of God in every sense and a true friend whose visionary leadership will be sorely missed."
-- Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League

"The historic and landmark contributions that he made to Catholic-Jewish relations were pioneering and invaluable. The pope's denunciation of anti-Semitism as a sin against God, which he made as he traveled around the world, is all the more important in light of the alarming trends we see today."
-- Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America

"His voice and moral authority gave inspiration and hope to millions well beyond the Roman Catholic Church. His commitment to the unity of the church expressed itself in his personal willingness to meet with representatives of other faith communities and to invite those outside his own tradition to reflect on how the ministry of the bishop of Rome might be of greater service both in the cause of Christian unity and the well-being of the world."
-- The Most Rev. Frank T. Griswold, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church

"I hope that this pope will be remembered most for the remarkable things he did to bring forgiveness to a higher level of discussion in Christian circles. That will, I believe, be one of his lasting legacies and perhaps his greatest achievement as pope. On a personal level, the pope forgave his would-be assassin -- a remarkable act and an amazing testimony to Christian forgiveness.
-- John Witvliet, director of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich.

"Pope John Paul II was one of the giants of our time. The pope enlisted his vigorous intellect, abundant charisma and considerable will in causes of peace and political freedom. In so doing, he changed not only his church, but our world. His influence will echo down the ages."
-- The Right Rev. John Chane, Episcopal bishop of Washington

" He's ... a pope that has reached out ... as far as he could afford to reach. He's reached out to other faith groups in an effort to create a sense of peace between us."
-- Bishop J. Delano Ellis, president of the Joint College of African-American Pentecostal Bishops

"On the temporal level, this papacy was a profound disappointment for those who believe that Christ's message of liberation, human freedom and more democracy should apply not just to the world, but to the church itself. ... He was a pope, but he was a man. He was human; he did good things and bad things. He had glorious achievements and abject failures. God has finally taken him home and, I am sure, welcomed him with love and compassion."
-- Frances Kissling, president of Catholics for a Free Choice

"In our still violent world, John Paul never failed to witness on behalf of the innocent victims of conflict and war. His deep compassion will serve as a lasting legacy and tribute."
-- The Rev. William Sinkford, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association.

"He spoke with conviction, he was principled, he challenged us and said hard things. Even those who disagreed with him admired his honesty and conviction. He will be sorely missed; he will be a hard act to follow. May he rest in peace."
-- The Rev. Tom Reese, editor of the Jesuit magazine America

"To Pope John Paul II, the bishop of Rome, we echo Jesus' words in Matthew 25:14-30: 'Well done, good and faithful servant, come share in your master's joy.'"
-- Sister Christine Schenk, executive director, FutureChurch

"Pope John Paul II was a towering figure representing righteousness, spirituality and humanity. His spirit and his legacy are a testament to his dedication to making the world better through the healing of injustices and past misunderstandings."
-- Marie Abrams, chairwoman of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs

"While (we) and Pope John Paul II had clearly divergent views concerning women, today we express sorrow at his passing and honor the fullness of his life. (We) also grieve for the actions the pope left undone for women's equality in the church and the world."
-- Joy Barnes, executive director of the Women's Ordination Conference

"We pray for the repose of his soul, and we pray that the Holy Spirit will provide our church with a leader who shares Pope John Paul II's strong voice and moral courage, but who will provide us with a church that is more open to dialogue, reconciliation and gay/lesbian equality."
-- Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry

"His earthly life is now finished. His teaching, however, will go on: `Be not afraid!' May God grant him eternal rest and peace."

-- Bishop Donald Wuerl of Pittsburgh

"We give thanks to God for giving us Pope John Paul II -- brother, father, grandfather, teacher, shepherd, vicar of Christ. And we thank Pope John Paul II for being all of those things to us, with us and for us in such an extraordinary way."
-- The Rev. David O'Connell, president of the Catholic University of America.

"The poor were never far from the heart of Pope John Paul II."
-- The Rev. Larry Synder, president of Catholic Charities USA

"Differences we have in theological perspective do not keep us from giving testimony to this remarkable legacy of faith and we celebrate those achievements even as we mourn his death."
-- The Rev. John Thomas, general minister and president of the United Church of Christ

"He provided inspiration and leadership, not only to Roman Catholics but also to the greater Christian world and beyond with his uncompromising stances in favor of life and against the culture of death. Though historic differences between our churches remain, Pope John Paul II will also be remembered for his call for Christian churches to seek to work out their differences in faithfulness to their convictions and to their doctrinal heritage."
-- The Rev. Gerald B. Kieschnick, president of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod

"John Paul II presented evangelicals with a pope in whom we found amazing ground of agreement and personal respect even as we believe the office he holds is not a biblical office. ... I think evangelicals also recognize that in the passing of John Paul II we may never see his likes again; and there's a real sense of loss in that even as we continue to be greatly concerned about the institution of the papacy, we have great admiration for the man."
-- R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

"The pope's voice remained firm in defense of freedom, family and Christianity. On matters of principle and morality, he was uncompromising. On his compassion for the world's poor, he has been unwavering."
-- First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

"Pope John Paul II was passionate in his commitment to doing God's work here on Earth, seeking peace and justice for all. His deeds, his words, and his indomitable spirit of love were a blessing to this world. Pope John Paul II was a man of God, and he was also a man of the people."
-- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

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