It's not only the Catholic faith that is feeling the loss of Pope John Paul II. NewsChannel 11 discovered people of other denominations and religions mourn for a man who made it his mission to reach out to people of all faiths.
Dr. Clarke Cochran, a Catholic and a professor of political science at Texas Tech says, "His relations with the Jewish world, Muslim world, Orthodox world, Protestants across the world, was an attempt to create and unify, to bring unity to testify to all of us being sons and daughters of God. So, a lot of folks who aren't Catholic had a deep and spiritual connection with him as well."
Lawrence Mayer, also a professor of political science at Tech and a member of the Jewish faith says, "He went to Israel prayed...he prayed in Roman Synagogue. These were steps that were unheard of for previous popes."
|Local Observances Marking Death Of Pope John Paul II|
Before Pope John Paul II, the relationship between the Catholic church and the Jewish faith was severely strained for two thousand years. The Pontiff eased those tensions, recognizing that Catholicism is not the only path to God. Mayer says, "That is a monumental contribution. I think the world owes him a debt of gratitude for taking this unprecedented step."
Protestants as well recognize the powerful effect he had worldwide and they pray for their fellow Christians who have lost a beloved leader. Reverend Jay Horton, pastor of First United Methodist Church says, "I know our Catholic brothers and sisters in Christ, in the Christian community, they're hurting. So, why shouldn't we pray for them?"
Reverend Horton recognizes there are major doctrinal differences between his faith and the Pope's, but he also can't ignore just how much the Pope's influence trickled down to people of all beliefs. He explains, "He was more or less a globetrotter and five U.S. presidents have met him and I think those visits made a real difference in America and in relations between Catholics and Protestants.
|Pope John Paul II Special Coverage Section|