Cardinal Christoph Schönborn has shared the “unanimous” response as to why young people loved St Pope John Paul II so much.
In an interview with Zenit in the Vatican, the Archbishop of Vienna reflected upon the Polish Pontiff for the 40th Anniversary of his election, and on a question of how the saint was able to be loved by millions of young people worldwide, but still always retaining and promoting Church teaching so clearly and effectively.
Today, October 16, 2018, marks this 40th Anniversary of Karol Wojtyla as Pope.
Asked how, given this, the Church today can embrace the model of JPII shown during his pontificate, the Austrian Cardinal responded: “I remember when he had died and his body was exposed in the Basilica in the Vatican in St. Peters, 4 million people passed in prayer one after another, and to see his body and pray.”
“Four million. They had to wait up to 15 hours, on lines that seemed never to end, he said. “The whole Via della Conciliazione was full of those waiting, for this little moment, to see him for the last time.”
“With the red cap,” Cardinal Schönborn said smiling touching his head, “I had the privilege to pass privately, and not wait 15 hours.”
“But,” the Archbishop of Vienna said, “I took the occasion to ask young people why do you stay here for hours, some all night, to just have a glimpse, a short moment then to see for the last time John Paul.”
“The answer,” Cardinal Schönborn stated, “was absolutely unanimous, some with tears: we have lost a father.”
“I say these words, for me, was the answer,” of how he can be so loved and so firm in Church teaching, the Cardinal responded, underscoring: “That was the secret of John Paul and the Youth.”
“He was a father and they felt that he really loved them.”
“And because he really loved them,” Cardinal Schönborn emphasized, “he was very demanding but not as a judge, but as a father who loves his children.”
“I think that is the secret ….that he was a father…that’s it.”