As the world was focused on a royal wedding this past weekend, in Vatican City the blessed Pope John Paul II was beatified in front of 1.5 million people from all over the world. The last step before sainthood, beatification is bestowed on the holiest of people and marks the day that he or she has the power to help others who pray for them in heaven. Pope John Paul II was an iconic figure loved not just by Roman Catholics, but by people of all faiths.
In October of 1995, I had the high honor of being at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland where Pope John Paul II held Mass. As a volunteer firefighter for the Mass, I was near the Pope’s route of travel as the Holy Father approached the altar where he gave a very inspirational Homily. In his Homily, the pontiff said,
One hundred thirty years ago, President Abraham Lincoln asked whether a nation ‘conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal’ could ‘long endure.’ President Lincoln’s question is no less a question for the present generation of Americans. Democracy cannot be sustained without a shared commitment to certain moral truths about the human person and human community.
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Pope John Paul’s words sixteen years ago struck me then and they still ring true today. The founders of our great nation made sure that God was the anchor for our Republic. They recognized that God gave us certain unalienable rights that can’t be taken away by any government or leader. It was this moral compass that helped defeat the Soviet Union in the Cold War.
Read the full op-ed here