Left his mark

Champion of moral certainties

New Zealand Anglican and Presbyterian Church leaders have extended their sympathies to Catholic Church.

The head of the Anglican Church in New Zealand and Polynesia, Archbishop Whakahuihui Vercoe, has sent a personal message of sympathy and support to Cardinal Thomas Williams.

“I have a deep sense of appreciation for what the Pope has done for humankind. I am thankful for his stand on so many things. I think, for example, of the way he so consistently spoke out for marginalized people, races and nations and the manner in which he approached his own death was just another testimony to his courage and holiness.

“In the coming days, our prayers and thoughts will be especially with our Catholic friends here.”

The moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand, the Right Rev. Garry Marquand, sent a letter to cardinal Thomas Williams extending condolences.

“John-Paul has exercised considerable influence in the affairs of both church and world,” says Mr Marquand. “We have observed his concern for the individual and his willingness to travel and connect with peoples everywhere. We have applauded his courageous and wise role in Eastern Europe in its moves into post-communist freedom and his more recent initiatives in fostering reconciliation with Jewish and Orthodox communities.

“John-Paul has championed moral certainties in a changing world and challenged world leaders in politics and economics. At the same time, he encouraged the church to engage more effectively with the contemporary world in which we live. Through it all, his devout life and his winsome personality has been widely appreciated.

“John-Paul was undoubtedly one of the outstanding leaders of the 20th century.”

By Peter Veugelaers. There was additional reporting by Candice Osbourne.

Published 2005, Challenge Weekly

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