Cardinal Schönborn Cites Prayer as a Key to John Paul II

Detects a Rebirth of the Spiritual

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ROME, OCT. 23, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The archbishop of Vienna says it is impossible to understand John Paul II's work without taking into account his intense life of prayer.



Now, when his physical frailty is evident, "the mystery of the person of the Holy Father, the source that constitutes the whole of his work, is revealed," said Cardinal Christoph Schönborn at the end of a Mass in the Holy See's St. Lawrence youth center in Rome.

Over the past 25 years, "the Church has extended its borders," making its presence felt in all corners of the global village, the Austrian cardinal continued.

"With his example, the Holy Father has shown us that, without an intense interior life, there can be no fullness in any work or social effort carried out in our society," Cardinal Schönborn added.

"There is at present a rebirth of the spiritual, which the Holy Father stimulated long ago with the testimony of his life," he said. "He is a man of prayer, of a profound spiritual life, which is perceived with his simple presence and which also impresses people of other religions."

With a prophetic vision, John Paul II has fostered interreligious understanding, as "demonstrated in several meetings in Assisi," the cardinal added. "In our globalized world, the dialogue between the different confessions is the only path to peace."

The prelate also mentioned ecumenism, "to which [the Pope] has ceaselessly dedicated all the necessary efforts to find a speedy way to Christian unity. Innumerable trips to countries such as Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Georgia and Armenia were great successes, opening an important phase in relations with the Orthodox Church."

Regarding the Church's relations with the media, which are not always easy, Cardinal Schönborn said: "It is fascinating to see that in his 25-year papacy he has maintained the interest of all the media.

"I think it is a very unusual phenomenon in our time that contact with the media should be maintained at that level. Why do so many media from around the world come to this anniversary?"