To err made him human; to forgive made him divine

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By | March 15, 2005

OPINION AND ANALYSIS To err made him human; to forgive made him divine By Charita M. Goshay It is clear that whoever coined the phrase, “May you live in interesting times,” never worked in a newsroom, or they never would wish for such a thing. {{more}}What a week.The life and death of Pope John Paul II should forever lay to rest the myth that one person can’t make a difference in the world. The Polish priest who survived Nazism and lived under the thumb of communism is one of the key reasons for the latter’s downfall.Recently, it was reported that John Paul’s attempted assassin, Mehmet Ali Agca, may not have acted on his own, but may have been a pawn of the Soviets, who blinked when confronted by a man armed with nothing but faith.John Paul’s simple and sincere gesture in forgiving Agca for shooting him did more for Christianity than 10,000 homilies.Though Catholics believe that the pope is God’s voice on Earth, John Paul was, like his fellow humans, an imperfect vessel. A man known for his compassion, his inexplicably slow response to the church’s horrifying child-abuse scandal made him appear almost detached from parishioners’ anguish.Despite a declining number of priests, he was unbending in his refusal to entertain even the discussion of women in the priesthood, or making celibacy optional for priests.He leaves behind a church torn between tradition and pragmatism.Near the end, his frustration apparent, the pope’s desire to fulfill his mission was undermined by an aging, uncooperative body. Yet to his last breath, John Paul stayed true to his calling, embracing the Scripture, “To every season … there is time to be born and a time to die.” He went to his death with the same grace and courage that defined his life.Rest in peace, sir.- Not even death has tamped down the rancor and rhetoric surrounding Terri Schiavo. Her memory has become hostage to political maneuvering, family infighting and religious warfare.She may never rest in peace. – Some years ago, I covered the late Johnnie Cochran’s visit to Kent State University, whereupon I described him as “King of the Cool Cats.”Despite his dapper dress and unflappable demeanor, Cochran was the kind attorney you’d want to bring with you to a bar fight. Some people resented Cochran for winning O.J. Simpson an acquittal, but what decent defense attorney doesn’t go the mattresses when a client pleads “110 percent not guilty?”Journalists go out of their way to appear unimpressed by the rich and famous, but Cochran was the only time I’ve ever seen that unspoken rule broken.Following his press conference, he was swamped by reporters and photographers seeking his autograph. Asked to explain the secret of his success, Cochran replied: “I never let anyone out-prepare me.” – Scandals and cynicism aside, the start of baseball season means it’s spring, and spring is the rebirth of hope.In baseball, everyone is given a clean slate, with 162 chances to get it right. As we emerge from our winter of war and sorrow, spring makes us feel that the possibility of a happy ending still is within our grasp.At a time when the world events are coming at us faster than a Barry Bonds hissy fit, there’s a comfort in knowing that some things never change – even when they probably should.Charita M. Goshay is a writer at The Repository in Canton, Ohio.Visit Copley News Service at TOP