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What a send-off they gave him! It's almost unbelievable the Vatican could have organised such a splendid funeral Mass for Pope John Paul II in such a short space of time; and I take my hat off to the Italians for the way they've managed to make everything run smoothly in the last week, the massive influx of faithful wanting to pay their last respects notwithstanding. There is this standing joke in Europe, that hell is where everything's organised by the Italians, but this week they've certainly proved that to be unfair.

For me, the most interesting part of the service were the prayers offered by the priests and patriachs of the Eastern Churches -- I didn't recognise all of them but I saw representatives of the Greek-Orthodox, Coptic and Ethiopian churches; it meant a lot to see them participate in the liturgy and pay their respects to a Pope who worked so hard at oecumene...although we might have wished him to have been a little more successful at it. It was also very good to see representatives of the other world religions in the VIP enclosure, plus all the heads of States and no fewer than 3 American presidents, none of whom are Catholic.

That made the absence of any member of our Royal House that much more painful. Our government decided that sending the (staunchly protestant) prime-minister alone would suffice, and said the Scandinavian royals weren't going either. So what was Carl Gustav doing there, then? But of course, the decision for any royal to attend or not lies ultimately with the Queen, and the fact that she hasn't deigned to go has deeply offended the Catholics in Holland. She is, after all, supposed to be our Queen, too; and some have said it felt like we had travelled back 150 years in time, when to be Catholic meant being a second class citizen, not allowed to worship freely, not allowed to enter the civil service, etc. If she felt that she couldn't very well go herself, she could at the very least have sent her Catholic daughter-in-law, or either one of her Catholic sisters; or even Princess Marilène, the Catholic daughter-in-law of her protestant sister. The Prince of Wales even postponed his wedding to that horsey woman by a day so that he could be present, and Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan attended a memorial service in Tokyo.


( 8 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )
Apr. 8th, 2005 03:46 pm (UTC)
Our Royal Princess had audience with the Pope 1-2 years ago. Might have something to do with it. And well, our House is very, very conscientious as a rule.
Apr. 8th, 2005 04:09 pm (UTC)
The pope came to The Netherlands on one of his many travels abroad, and met with the Queen in 1985. I'm not sure if they met in more recent years, but apart from being the head of the church, the Pope is also a head of state, and it would have been nice to see the Queen in Rome. Especially since she had no qualms about attending King Hassan of Morocco's funeral a few years back; a monarch who was renowned for denying his subjects basic human rights, under the pretense that it would mean so much to the Moroccan community in The Netherlands.
Apr. 8th, 2005 04:26 pm (UTC)

Well, diplomacy is certainly a world of its own.
Apr. 8th, 2005 10:44 pm (UTC)
A lovely funeral for a lovely man.
Apr. 9th, 2005 03:29 pm (UTC)
It looks as if he's bound for sainthood soon -- and who's to say he wouldn't make a good one?

Now we'll just have to wait and see who they'll elect to succeed him. I'd like to see a South American become pope next, but who knows? Just as long as it isn't Cardinal Ratzinger...
Apr. 8th, 2005 11:51 pm (UTC)
i'm just watching it now (as i wasn't able to get up at 3:00) and it is very beautiful even for someone who is not Catholic.
Apr. 9th, 2005 12:57 am (UTC)
except CNN's decided to do it with commercials and news breaks so that's not so nice.
Apr. 9th, 2005 03:30 pm (UTC)
Commercial breaks during a funeral? The mind boggles!
( 8 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )
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