David Crabtree on Assignment

Pope's Visit Brings Renewed Hope

Posted April 18, 2008

Msgr. Tim O'Connor, pastor at St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church in Cary, shares his thoughts about the pope's visit.

Shortly after the election of Pope Benedict XVI, I was asked by people who knew that I had followed Pope John Paul II closely over the years, what the difference between the two popes is.

After some reflection, I was able to answer the question with these words: People came to see Pope John Paul II, and people come to hear Pope Benedict XVI.

That is not to say that Pope John Paul II did not teach us anything. God knows the volumes we now own of his writings and his homilies.

But with thousands of others of all faiths, I came to Washington to both see and hear Pope Benedict XVI. So, what did I see, and what did I hear?

I saw a very humble and compassionate man – who before his election was considered by some as anything but compassionate – stand amidst reporters on his plane to America to tell us he was ashamed of the sexual scandal and how it was not handled well.

I read of his impromtu decision to meet with several victims of the abuse scandal and tell them he was sorry and wanted to help. Yes, all roads do lead to Rome, and Rome has responded.

I watched 50,000 people come together of all ages and backgrounds to celebrate the Eucharist with our pope. I heard one man say, "Isn't it great to know that there was an event that gathered so many thousands, and it wasn't a rock concert"

I listened with intensity to the pope's homily at the Mass. It offered hope not only to our church but to our nation.

I listened as our pope spoke to our bishops and challenged them with compassion to be strong leaders of the faith and to correct the errors that surrounded the sexual abuse scandal.

I both watched and heard our pope tell Catholic educators of the strong obligation they have to not only teach well but authentically.

I was greatly moved as our Holy Father reached out to leaders of other faiths desiring to work together to bring peace to the most troubled parts of the world.

All of this gives me renewed hope as I continue my ministry in God's vineyard, and I continue to pray for those I encountered who did not share these hopes and visions.

Msgr. Tim O'Connor has served as a papal consultant for WRAL News for nearly 10 years, including the 1999 documentary "Upon This Rock," and Pope John Paul II's funeral in 2005.

12 Comments

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  • TheAdmiral Apr 18, 2008

    Everyone who is democrat wants to give things away, some even claim to be disciples of God - but they go againsst what Jesus has said Here is an example:

    "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."
    Lao Tzu

    Jesus Said: "And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Matthew 4:19

    What I have seen is people especially when it comes to religion have intolerance and disdain for anyone who is attempting to assist other people. Cast them out when they ask questions, and when they debate - turn healthy debate into hatred.

    It is unfortunate, because this is why people move from church and the word of god.

  • TheAdmiral Apr 18, 2008

    "Us none belivers belive in ourselves and do not need a crutch like releigion to get by in life put yourself"

    Ahhh, one of the people I call tin-gods - who believe that no one should believe in god but in themselves. They are generally out to get things that make them happy; are the ones with the fingers in the window; and are generally not happy overall.

    They have an unreasonable desire for what we do not possess. In some cases they will sacrifice their future because they have no direction.

    I have a family member who believes as such - he has been in and out of the same company and same job 3 times - and is never happy.

  • crml Apr 18, 2008

    "So I guess you wouldn't call Billy Graham a holy man, or any other religious leader holy?"

    There are plenty of men who I believe are "holy", but there are none that I would call my "Holy Father". Hopefully you can see the difference.

  • TheAdmiral Apr 18, 2008

    "I believe he does the best he can, but he is not Holy I'm sorry."

    I do not view televangicals as holy such as Oral Roberts, The Hagees, Jim Baker and Wife, Jerry Falwell, or those on TBN including Benny Hinn.

    There is a difference between being Holy and being in it for the cash. The pope does not get paid, and is not in it for the money.

  • yaright Apr 18, 2008

    Us none belivers belive in ourselves and do not need a crutch like releigion to get by in life put yourself first the only one who can help themselves are them selves comic books and bibles are for children and the weak.

  • Conservative Democrat Apr 18, 2008

    He is Holy if his followers recognize him as such, and over 50,000 of them did and do. Millions do, and most importantly, I do! You non-believers just wish you had someone you could look up to and revere who is as universally recognized as this man. We pray for you to Mary with our Rosary beads.

  • MarvinsWife12 Apr 18, 2008

    I cringe when I see people refer to a man as "Holy Father". No matter how special Catholics believe this man is, that is a title that should be reserved for God alone.
    crml

    So I guess you wouldn't call Billy Graham a holy man, or any other religious leader holy?

  • crml Apr 18, 2008

    I cringe when I see people refer to a man as "Holy Father". No matter how special Catholics believe this man is, that is a title that should be reserved for God alone.

  • pandcjunk Apr 18, 2008

    How do you qualify "holy"? I would say he meets one or more of these definitions:

    1. specially recognized as or declared sacred by religious use or authority; consecrated: holy ground.
    2. dedicated or devoted to the service of God, the church, or religion: a holy man.
    3. saintly; godly; pious; devout: a holy life.
    4. having a spiritually pure quality: a holy love.
    5. entitled to worship or veneration as or as if sacred: a holy relic.
    6. religious: holy rites.
    7. inspiring fear, awe, or grave distress: The director, when angry, is a holy terror. –noun 8. a place of worship; sacred place; sanctuary.

  • superman Apr 18, 2008

    There are probably a couple thousand people that could come to America and generate a big crowd. Not to even mention inviduals who live in America who could draw a crowd. You could generate a crowd by a public hanging on the court house steps. Being able to draw a crowd is not a big deal.

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WRAL anchor David Crabtree reports from around the world.