Thanks for that thoughtful & lengthy reply, NYer. The only thing I can add is, that most serious theologians with say, a Master of Divinity, would have studied world/comparitive religions in great detail. I should think no less of Pope John Paul II. I would find it hard to believe that he was ignorant of what is stated in the Koran, yet we all here are well aware of it.
You're right. It is difficult to fathom what went through his mind when he kissed the Qu'uran. We may conjecture and point fingers of blame or make excuses but at the end of the day, we will never know, much less understand.
The one thing we do know, however, is that he touched the lives of millions around the globe. Pope John Paul's funeral brought together the single largest gathering of heads of state in history, surpassing the funeral of Winston Churchill.
Coinciding with the funeral in Vatican City, archbishops and bishops at cathedrals throughout the world, celebrated memorial Masses for grieving Catholics. In a historical rarity, Protestant and Eastern Orthodox Christian leaders, as well as leaders in Judaism and Islam, offered memorials and prayers of their own for their congregants sharing in the grief of Catholics.
It is thought that billions of people had watched the funeral either through actually being in Vatican Square, watching it on television live, or watching a taped version or replayed version later that day. The latter may be particularly true in the United States, where the funeral happened early in the morning and on a weekday. It was covered live by Al-Jazeera and China television - both firsts.
Since you find JPII kissing the Qu'uran to be intriguing, surely your interest must have been piqued when the Last Will and Testament of JPII was read and published. In it, other than his personal secretary to whom he assigns the task of burning his personal papers, he singles out the Rabbi of Rome, to acknowledge with great tenderness. That would be Rabbi Elio Toaff.
In the course of his pontificate, JPII met countless dignitaries from all nations and faiths .... yet ..... in his final will, he mentions the Rabbi of Rome. Why? Why not the Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church with whom he developed an equally beautiful friendship? It's a conundrum, to say the least. It speaks volumes to the heart and here again, one can only conjecture on what might have been in his mind at the time of its writing.
You are new to FreeRepublic and to this forum.
It has been my experience here, as in the world, that Jews and Catholics share a similar journey of persecution for the faith. Perhaps that is why JPII singled out Rabbi Toaff with whom he felt a kindred understanding. You have certainly witnessed the evidence of that statement on the posts to this thread. And those comments come from freepers who proclaim themselves to be christians.
Just out of curiosity, could you please answer one question? Why was this thread posted now?
Thank you for reading this. Please accept my best wishes to you and your family as you prepare to celebrate the Feast of Passover.