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Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Supreme Knight Carl Anderson Reflects on Pontiff

NEW HAVEN, Connecticut, DEC. 21, 2009 ( Pope John Paul II's holiness was apparent to anyone who met him, or even read his writings, says the supreme knight of the Knights of Columbus.

Carl Anderson, who met several times with the Pontiff, spoke with ZENIT of the Holy Father's cause for canonization, which advanced one step closer to beatification this weekend.

On Saturday, Benedict XVI approved a decree testifying to John Paul II's heroic virtue. To qualify for beatification, John Paul II, who died in 2005, needs a miracle attributed to his intercession.

ZENIT: Benedict XVI has approved the heroic virtues of Pope John Paul II, and there is talk that the former Pope could be beatified as early as next October. How exceptional is it for a figure to pass so quickly through the process of canonization?

Anderson: It is certainly exceptional for someone's cause to move this quickly, but it is not unprecedented in truly extraordinary cases. Mother Teresa's cause also moved forward very quickly. I think the key with both John Paul II and Mother Teresa was this: Both were known throughout and universally acclaimed for their holiness.

We should not forget the cries of "santo subito" that rang out at John Paul's canonization.

As for John Paul's beatification, I wouldn't want to speculate on the timing of his beatification. Such an event will only come after a process, a careful process, that takes time, but certainly things have been moving forward as quickly as is prudent.

ZENIT: You knew John Paul II personally. What most impressed you about the late Pontiff?

Anderson: Pope John Paul was unforgettable on many levels. It was unmistakable that he was a very holy man, that he loved Christ immensely and that he was Christ's vicar on earth -- a role he took very seriously.

If his holiness was unmistakable, so too was his human side. He had a great sense of humor, and a very bright mind. Anyone who has read John Paul's writing knows just how brilliant he was and just how important his faith was.

Meeting him, I found a man consistent with his writing. A man with a deep concern and compassion for humanity, for his fellow man, for the future. He was a man every bit as remarkable in person as he was in his thought and writing, and that was almost immediately apparent when spending time with him.

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