Statements from World Leaders | Groups

"The Catholic Church has lost its shepherd, the world has lost a champion of human freedom, and a good and faithful servant of God has been called home."
-- President George W. Bush

"He never wavered, never flinched, in the struggle for what he thought was good and right. Yet, whatever his own hardship and experience of what was wrong in human nature, he never lost faith in the human spirit and its ultimate capacity to do good."
-- British Prime Minister Tony Blair

"Pope John Paul was a leader of manifest holiness and a faithful and prayerful friend of the Anglican Church."
-- The Most Rev. Rowan Williams, archbishop of Canterbury

"Pope John Paul II was unquestionably the most influential voice for morality and peace in the world during the last 100 years. His extraordinary gifts, his strong Catholic faith, and his experience of human tyranny and suffering in his native Poland all shaped him, and yet he was respected by men and women from every conceivable background across the world. He was truly one of those rare individuals whose legacy will endure long after he has gone."
-- Evangelist Billy Graham

"Few Jews will forget his visit to the synagogue in Rome or his deeply moving pilgrimage to the Western Wall in Jerusalem. That one act of atonement for the suffering caused to Jews by the church was one of the great healing moments of our time."

-- Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, chief rabbi of Great Britain

"Quite apart from his role as a spiritual guide to more than a billion men, women and children, he was a tireless advocate of peace, a true pioneer in interfaith dialogue and a strong force for critical self-evaluation by the church itself."
-- U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan

"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

"We neither express grief nor joy over the death of the pope. Some of what he said about peace and harmony was worth considering."
-- Abdul Latif Hakimi, spokesman for the Taliban in Kabul, Afghanistan

"With his vision and dedication, the day when people of faith will view people of other faiths as being partners in faith, rather than in competition with each other to save souls, is not far."
-- Anahat Kaur, vice chairperson of World Sikh Council -- America Region

"John Paul II has been the most beloved religious leader of our age -- far surpassing in popular admiration the leader of any faith. He has been a man of great warmth, profound understanding, deep spirituality and indefatigable vigor. ... His personal magnetism brought together all Christians in new bonds of understanding."
-- Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson

"Muslims worldwide respected Pope John Paul II as an advocate for justice and human rights. His message of international peace and interfaith reconciliation is one that will reverberate for decades to come."
-- Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations

"I think history will record Pope John Paul II as one of the most significant, historic figures of the 20th century, on a par with great statesmen and world leaders. In many ways, he was as eloquent a spokesman for the inherent and intrinsic value of every human being as Winston Churchill was for freedom and liberty."
-- Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

"While we had our disagreements -- on gender equality, reproductive rights, and the rights of gays and lesbians -- we never doubted for a moment that he was a man of profound principle, courage and vision. Even when our religious traditions led us to different conclusions, John Paul II always found new opportunities for re-engaging in our common purpose of bringing justice with mercy into the human community."
-- Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the Union for Reform Judaism

"His major legacy to Christians within and outside the Roman Catholic Church was the pope's commitment to the incarnate Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Savior, along with his commitment to the presence of the Holy Spirit."
-- The Rev. Robert Schuller, pastor of the Crystal Cathedral and host of the "Hour of Power" television program

"The pope was a man of true peace and justice. His strong commitment to human rights, democracy and interreligious dialogue will not be forgotten."
-- Pawan Deshpande, member of the Hindu American Foundation Executive Council

"He engaged in a passionate quest to end hostilities in all the hot spots of the globe and to advance human rights everywhere. He spoke forthrightly on the scandal of want and need among the global family, calling to task the wealthy and secure, urging them to invest in economic systems that support human dignity and well-being."
-- The Rev. Bob Edgar, general secretary of the National Council of Churches

"Pope John Paul II took as an informal motto of his papacy the words of Scripture, `Be not afraid!' Through these 26 years, he taught us in word and deed the meaning of this phrase -- that all who wholeheartedly open their lives to Christ and belong to him have nothing to fear in this world or the next."
-- Bishop William Skylstad of Spokane, Wash., president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

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  • Catholics for Faithful Citizenship
  • His Holiness the Dalai Lama
  • Council on American Islamic Relations
  • Christian Coalition of America
  • Union for Reform Judaism
  • The Bruderhof Community
  • Bono of U2

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