Page 12, 11th August 1978

11th August 1978
Page 12
Page 12, 11th August 1978 — Lord Ramsey was struck by Paul's concern for unity

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Lord Ramsey was struck by Paul's concern for unity

Continued from Page 2

Bishop Murphy O'Connor said that while he was in Rome he had been particularly impressed by the Pope's openness to all those who met him in public or private audiences "The countless thousands of people who came to see him all had their own need for

encouragement and reassurances. He spoke to them all, the old and the young, the 'conservative' and the 'progressive'. the troubled and the anxious and to all he spoke a word of welcome and encouragement.

"Pope Paul reminded me that one can afford to be very open provided one is rooted in the important things such as prayer. the Eucharist and faith in Christ's Church."

The Bishop said the Pope was a living example of one who spoke for unity amid diversity, the true symbol of the catholicity of the church. Although his reign had been troubled, it was not one in which opportunities had been lost. , Under Paul VI a new path had been set for the Pilgrim Church. Bishop Murphy-O'Connor stressed that the church owed a great debt to the Pope.

"Personally I am grateful to Pope Paul for so bravely serving the Church as supreme Pastor and holding it together in unity during these unprecendented times. He has bourne the heat and burden of the day, and I think history will be kinder to him than many of our contemporary commentators.

Lord Michael Ramsey. the former Archbishop of Canterbury. who had gone to see the Pope in the Vatican in 1966, said he was deeply moved by the news of the Pope's death.

He said it led him to reflect on their momentous meeting in 1966, His personal impression was that the language, the style and the atmosphere of the event had been very much Pope Paul's own.

backbround of the Decrees of the Vatican Council on Ecumenism ... but the impression of the

Pope's own heart and mind had been unmistakable.

The Common Declaration had been the product of some to and fro drafting beforehand but I remember that the significant words 'based upon the Gospels and the common ancient tradition' were the Pope's own.

Lord Ramsey said that in his private conversations with the Pope he had been struck by the depth of Pope Paul's concern for unity. He had also been impressed by the Pope's vivid sense of the Communion of the Saints and also by his feeling for the Anglican Church.

'He spoke of our Blessed Lady, of Augustine, of Bede and Anselm as near companions in the family of Christ ... He also spoke warmly of the influence of John Henry Newman in theology and spirituality. But none was nearer to his heart than Bede and Anselm, whom he felt to belong to 'you' as well as to 'us."

Lord Ramsey said the Pope had been courageous and creative in both words and actions. "One instance was the day of the Canonisation of the Forty Martyrs. Some of us feared that the event might strengthen the old triumphalist siege mentality.

"But there was no need for such fears. The Pope's words of longing towards 'our beloved sister the Church of England' coming as they surely did from his own pen, made all the difference. and marked him as a prophet of the day of unity."

Archbishop Derek Worlock of Liverpool praised the Pope's versatility and capacity for hard work. "Few men have been able to sustain the burden of responsibility within the Church for so long," he said. "As Substitute Secretary of in the post-war years. Mgr Montini rapidly showed his efficiency and sense of purpose in international affairs.

"Later he declined a cardinalate in order to continue to serve Pope Pius in this post. But when Milan became vacant in 1954. he was appointed Archbishop, and at once the world saw his deep pastoral priestliness. Efficient administrator as he was, Archbishop Montini saw the Church as of and for all people."

Archbishop Worlock said the Pope's integrity and selfless dedication have had an immense impact on the international scene. "I have little doubt that history will record with highest praise his painstaking and consistent efforts to implement the decrees of the Council.

"It has proved a huge task, and he was always willing to face up to the issues in dealing with the consequences the Council could not foresee."

The Queen and Prince Philip sent a message to Cardinal Camerlengo. the head of the College of Cardinals, expressing their "deep sorrow" over the news of the Pope's death. By royal command all flags on government and public buildings were flown at half-mast on Monday.

President Jimmy Carter of America said he was deeply saddened by the Pope's death. "As a man of peace and profound spirituality he will be greatly missed, not only by all Catholics. but all people whatever their religious conviction."

The President said he had been impressed by the Pope's untiring efforts in the ecumenical movement and his world travels through which he carried the message of peace and love to the four corners of the earth.

Mr James Callaghan, the Prime Minister, sent a private message of sympathy to the Vatican and paid warm tribute to the Pope's outstanding statesmanship.

Mrs Margaret Thatcher, the leader of the opposition said the world had suffered the loss of a great leader.

The Lambeth Conference of Anglican Bishops sent a letter of condolence to Cardinald Hume on Monday in which they said they were "profoundly moved at the death of the Holy Father."

Dr Donald Coggan, the Archbishop of Canterbury, echoes those sentiments and said he had admired the Pope's gentle firmness and his desire for unity. He spoke also of Pope Paul's "total devotion to the truth" and

his determination to carry his burden of responsibility to the end.

Cardinal Willebrands, the Archbishop of Utrecht said the Pope's choice of name held the key to his papcy. He had followed in the footsteps of the apostle St Paul, confirming his brothers in faith and proclaiming the Christian Message to all peoples for the glory of God and for the promotion of justice and peace among men.

Cardinal Gordon Gray Archbishop of Edinburgh and St Andrews broke off his holiday as soon as he heard the news. He described the Pope as a man of "tremendous holiness and ability".

He praised the Pope's courage in facing up to unpopular decisions when he felt they were necessary. "There were times when his heart must have been heavy indeed with the controversies that raged in the Church, but with courage he did what he knew to be right.

"We have lost a great leader and one whose name as a Pope will go down in history as one who entered on his office at a very difficult time but never faltered through all those years."

Archbishop Michael Bowen of

t ; Southwark sent a telegram of sympathy to Cardinal Villot. the Secretary of State, on behalf of the priests and people of his archdiocese together with the assurance of their prayers.

The Archbishop said, "We shall miss Pope Paul greatly as our spiritual father and leader. We shall remember him with gratitude for the loving care and example of deep faith that he showed to all of us over the past 16 turbulent years of change.

The Cardinal drew attention to the Pope's concern for unity with both the churches of the Eastern rite and the Protestant denominations of the west.

Praising his work for peace. Cardinal Willebrands commented, "His efforts in favour of disarmament. peace and national judicial order had their roots in his desire to protect the life of man and develop it in spiritual and material well-being. His words to the United Nations have been repeated more and more often, always stronger and more penetratingly."

The Duke of Norfolk who had accompanied 30 members of his family to a private audience in the Vatican four months ago. said they all had been impressed by the Holy Father's holiness and simple sincerity.

The Duke said he thought the Pope would he remembered by the way he took over the Vatican Council after Pope John's death. and the great strides he made in uniting Christian leaders in the praise of God.

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