This is how history is made. A man dies, and then the battle over who he was, what he said, what he meant; who now carries on his essential meaning and philosophy? We saw this with the Pope, conservatives, liberals, etc. all interpreting, embracing, rejecting, ignoring particular statements and symbols to make their case one way or the other.
A couple things that stand out for me: he was against the war in Iraq, he warned against the dehumanizing aspects of capitalism (property is more important than people?!). Here's a more mystical version of this pope: "I am. I remember. I watch. Look at the cross, in which God's 'I am' means love. Look at the cross and forget not...To watch is to love your neighbor - it means fundamental human solidarity."
How many hearts and heads did this old man (he always seemed old) touch?
The final image, the final symbol, a picture in the newspaper. Amidst all the pomp and ceremony, all the gold and finery; a simple, plain, pine box. After all, (forget the absurd notion of infallibility) here lies a human being, so much, so little, now gone, never gone, energy transformed.
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