The L’Osservatore Romano published a homily delivered by then-archbishop of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, on the occasion of John Paul II’s death in 2005.
The homily shows that the need for a consistent Christian witness has been an ongoing conviction for Pope Francis, who has addressed similar themes in homilies at the Casa Santa Marta.
The homily, which was delivered on the Feast of the Annunciation, was featured in a special edition of the Vatican newspaper for the canonization.
“John Paul was simply consistent,” he said. “He never deceived, he never lied, he was never evasive. John Paul communicated with his people, with the coherence of a man of God, with the consistency of someone who spent long hours in Adoration each morning, and as he adored he allowed himself to come into harmony with the power of God.”
This consistency, he said, cannot be bought or studied. Rather it “is forged in the heart through adoration, through the anointing for service to others and through upright conduct. Without lies, without deception, without falsehood.”
John Paul II, said the then-Cardinal Bergoglio, “was consistent because he allowed himself to be moulded and formed by the will of God. He allowed himself to be humbled by the will of God. He allowed to grow in his soul that obedience which our father Abraham had and all those who followed after him.”
Cardinal Bergoglio cited further examples of this “consistency,” such as when he invited homeless men from a nearby Piazza to come and speak with him, or when he visited in prison the man who had tried to assassinate him.
“He is a witness,” he said, concluding: “We see in John Paul an imitation of that faithful witness. And we give thanks because he ended his life in this way, consistently because he ended his life simply as a faithful witness.”