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feature : word on ths street
February 10th, 2005
Word on the Street: Pope John Paul II

If you could visit Pope John Paul II in the hospital right now, what would you like to say to him?

We set out for Central Park on a slushy afternoon to ask people in New York City what message they would send to the ailing Pope if they had the opportunity. Many international tourists–in town to visit “The Gates” in Central Park–enthusiastically agreed to speak to us. Not so eager to answer, however, were the many Americans we approached. One of them even laughed and said “I’m not touching that one.”

Marta, 36, Poland
"I feel sad and I hope he's going to feel better and I understand he's getting old like all of us, but I really hope he can stay with us for a little bit longer. I think he's a great person. I really value him and I just wish him all the best. I'm not sure what is going to happen when he's gone because now it's his way of guiding us and you never know who is going to be next. I believe the next Pope will be good, but I like the way he is now."
Sarah and Liz, 25, England
"I'm pretty anti-religious."

BH: In the midst of what looks like the end of his term, do you think a new Pope will have an effect on the Church?

"Yeah, maybe a fresh new outlook because he's pretty dated isn't he because he's been the Pope for so long and he's very set in his ways. Maybe someone who's up to the minute and knows about foreign affairs and more in touch."

BH: Do you have confidence the Church will pick someone like that?

"Honestly, no, not really."
Yunting, 26
"I hope he will be well. I'm not Catholic, but I think he will be well and get back to work."
Shreyeskumar, 22, India
"We can only pray to God for his long life. Nowadays he is so sick and his life is in trouble, but we can pray to God that the rest of his life will be good for him."

BH: Is there anything you would want to say to him?

"Actually, I think he should tell President Bush to stop the attack on Iraq . It would be a good thing for the entire world because nowadays President Bush is not doing a good job. People are being killed in Iraq . Pope John Paul should tell him to please stop these things. Now Saddam is captured so what are they going to do? They are going to concentrate only on America and the American Economy."
Pablo, 25, Chile
"This is an important question. I would just say he knows what to do. That's what I would want him to know. Only God knows what will happen. I think he's a Saint and he will be one of the most important figures of the century."
Sylvia, 31, Italy
"I am really sorry for him. When I see pictures I get really emotional about it. He's really ill and old."

BH: Do you think there will be a lot of changes when there is a new Pope?

"I think so. He's been really important."

BH: For the better?

"I don't know. He's been doing a really good job though."


 
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