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'He showed how we are all brothers'

World leaders and ordinary folks. Catholics, Jews, Muslims and nonbelievers. Millions of people felt that Pope John Paul II made a lasting impact on them and the world around them. Here is a sampling of comments made about his passing on Saturday.

By wire services
Published April 3, 2005


PRESIDENT BUSH

"The Catholic Church has lost its shepherd. The world has lost a champion of human freedom. (The pope) left the throne of St. Peter in the same way he ascended to it - as a witness to the dignity of human life."

SIMONE BELLATO, 22

Student sitting in the crowd Saturday in St. Peter's Square

"For once, while the pope was suffering, the whole world prayed together: Catholics, Jews, Muslims, the Orthodox. Only he could have done it."

TONY BLAIR

British prime minister

"Throughout a hard and often difficult life, he stood for social justice and on the side of the oppressed, whether as a young man facing the Nazi occupation in Poland or later in challenging the Communist regime. He never wavered, never flinched, in the struggle for what he thought was good and right."

CHRISTINE HALL, 25

Teacher at St. Anthony Shrine in Boston

"I think his journey through suffering is complete. I'm proud, as a Catholic, of the way he died. He was a model of how to die with dignity."

SHIMON PERES

Israeli vice premier

"(The pope) embodied the best that is within all mankind as well as the commonness of humanity. . . . His actions and statements transformed relations between the Catholic and Jewish faiths, and made a fundamental impact on the struggle against anti-Semitism. We will miss him."

PATRICK GIPRALL, 65

As he sat in a pew in Richmond, Va., waiting to go to confession

"I think he showed how we are all brothers. We may have our differences, but we are all family."

HESHAM YOUSSEF

Spokesman for the secretary general of the Arab League

"This is a sad day. We are very sad to lose him. We will never forget his noble stance in support of the oppressed people, including the Palestinians."

GIULIO LA ROSA, 23

A student in St. Peter's Square

"I'm not a believer, but I came here because I believe in him as a builder of freedom."

FELIPE PEREZ ROQUE

Cuban foreign minister, whose country the pope visited in January 1998

"We always saw, and continue to see, Juan Pablo II as a friend."

JACQUES CHIRAC

French president

"An enlightened and inspired priest, he devoted himself to responding to the search for sense and the thirst for justice that is expressed today on all continents."

STANISLAWA JASKOLKA

A native of the pope's hometown of Wadowice, Poland

"He taught us to raise our heads high and to realize that humans should be free."

REV. BILLY GRAHAM

He "was unquestionably the most influential voice for morality and peace in the world during the last 100 years. . . . He was convinced that the complex problems of our world are ultimately moral and spiritual in nature, and only Christ can set us free from the shackles of sin and greed and violence."

RABBI ERIC YOFFIE

President of the Union for Reform Judaism

"Catholics worldwide have lost a monumental leader and the Jewish community has lost a treasured friend. John Paul II made it a special priority of his papacy to continue the process of reconciliation between the Church and the Jewish people."

ALIYAH SECK

A Muslim graduate student in Milwaukee

"My religion talks about peace all the time and the pope has been preaching peace his whole life, trying to bring people together."

CONSUELO

HIDALGO, 84

At Mexico City's Basilica de Guadalupe, where in 2002 the pope canonized Aztec peasant Juan Diego, who had a vision of the Virgin of Guadalupe in 1531

"He meant everything to me. I see him as a saint. He was a man filled with love, for everyone, but above all for Mexico."

LISA JENKINS

Of Orlando, during a visit to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.

"It's a sad day. I'm praying for the world to open its eyes for what he stood for - peace, morality and more."