The text of Pope John Paul II's speech at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial:
The words of the ancient Psalm, rise from our hearts: "I have become like a broken vessel. I hear the whispering of many - terror on every side - as they scheme together against me, as they plot to take my life. But I trust in you, O Lord: I say, 'you are my God.'" (Psalms 31:13-15)
In this place of memories, the mind and heart and soul feel an extreme need for silence. Silence in which to remember. Silence in which to try to make some sense of the memories which come flooding back. Silence because there are no words strong enough to deplore the terrible tragedy of the Shoah.
My own personal memories are of all that happened when the Nazis occupied Poland during the war. I remember my Jewish friends and neighbors, some of whom perished, while others survived. I have come to Yad Vashem to pay homage to the millions of Jewish people who, stripped of everything, especially of human dignity, were murdered in the Holocaust. More than half a century has passed, but the memories remain.
Here, as at Auschwitz and many other places in Europe, we are overcome by the echo of the heart-rending laments of so many. Men, women and children, cry out to us from the depths of the horror that they knew. How can we fail to heed their cry? No one can forget or ignore what happened. No one can diminish its scale.
We wish to remember. But we wish to remember for a purpose, namely to ensure that never again will evil prevail, as it did for the millions of innocent victims of Nazism.
How could man have such utter contempt for man? Because he had reached the point of contempt for God. Only a godless ideology could plan and carry out the extermination of a whole people.
The honor given to the 'just Gentiles' by the state of Israel at Yad Vashem for having acted heroically to save Jews, sometimes to the point of giving their own lives, is a recognition that not even in the darkest hour is every light extinguished. That is why the Psalms and the entire Bible, though well aware of the human capacity for evil, also proclaims that evil will not have the last word.
Out of the depths of pain and sorrow, the believer's heart cries out: "I trust in you, O Lord: 'I say, you are my God.'" (Psalms 31:14)
Jews and Christians share an immense spiritual patrimony, flowing from God's self-revelation. Our religious teachings and our spiritual experience demand that we overcome evil with good. We remember, but not with any desire for vengeance or as an incentive to hatred. For us, to remember is to pray for peace and justice, and to commit ourselves to their cause. Only a world at peace, with justice for all, can avoid repeating the mistakes and terrible crimes of the past.
As bishop of Rome and successor of the Apostle Peter, I assure the Jewish people that the Catholic Church, motivated by the Gospel law of truth and love, and by no political considerations, is deeply saddened by the hatred, acts of persecution and displays of anti-Semitism directed against the Jews by Christians at any time and in any place.
The church rejects racism in any form as a denial of the image of the Creator inherent in every human being. In this place of solemn remembrance, I fervently pray that our sorrow for the tragedy which the Jewish people suffered in the 20th century will lead to a new relationship between Christians and Jews. Let us build a new future in which there will be no more anti-Jewish feeling among Christians or anti-Christian feeling among Jews, but rather the mutual respect required of those who adore the one Creator and Lord, and look to Abraham as our common father in faith.
The world must heed the warning that comes to us from the victims of the Holocaust, and from the testimony of the survivors. Here at Yad Vashem the memory lives on, and burns itself onto our souls. It makes us cry out: "I hear the whispering of many - terror on every side - but I trust in you, O Lord: I say, 'You are my God.'" (Psalms 31:13-15)
Mey's Sermon to the Forgotten People
(These aren't clichés. Oh, no. They're the true facts of life.)
Our world is cruel, mad and dangerous.
Computers have taken over our society. It's a global village, but all the doors are shut. We lie to eachother in chat-rooms, cheat through spam, while ones and zeroes crawl into our brains.
Anyone that comes up with an original, groundbreaking invention is laughed at. He's not a pioneer, but rather a psychopath or schizophrenic. Governmental projects as the electric car, a time machine and Hover-Golf were hushed by evil corporations. Once again, progress loses. Progress IS essential, yet it frightens us, and fear becomes paranoia, clouding our judgement... Oh, we don't want to be clear-minded. We drink cheesy beer and eat stale pretzels in bars, spitting and cursing, till we're kicked out, then drive home intoxicated.
Remember when people lived in peace? No, you don't. It never
happened. People need wars. It's in their genes. It's human nature.
They first choose their enemy, then move in for the kill. They
say it's for territory, women, a Holy Grail, but the reason is
simple - carnivores eat meat. How do you think Hitler started?
He found the lowest common denominator. "We're surrounded
by sheep", the wolf howled, and the other wolves jumped on
Not a meteor will finish mankind, my friends, but an atomic bomb.
Where is our faith? We search for the next Jesus, for another Moses, for a Mohammed, some leader who'll show us the way to heaven... We get Soaps, McDonald's commercials and 'Who Wants To Be a Millionaire'. What's so 'Happy' about a meal?!
The more we're ridiculed by the media, the more cynical we become. There is no more faith, hope or merriment in our hearts. Over-exposure to violence made us apathetic. Modern approach to romance rendered us unable to love. So we wish pathetically for a momentous 'happily-ever-after' love affair, yet spend most of the day watching a reflection of life just as THEY want us to see it.
Meanwhile, poverty and crime prosper. In a world of wealth, children starve. In a reality of 'progress', mothers give hand-jobs for pennies. No form of regime can prevent it. Murder, theft, rape - oh, these are cries for help. They exist because the law's with prejudice. The same acts in war are considered heroism.
Gender-equality is a myth invented by men. The females will be forever witches, prostitutes, childish... Anything but the loving, magnificent human beings they are. Pity they go mad once a month.
We're losing our children. Those innocent, playful tots are now dispirited. They smoke pot, they watch filthy porno movies with vacant eyes, they rub asses together to the sound of loud, sinister music. They get laid at the age of 13, have kids at 14 and get married at 15.
Lies, you say? Half-truths? Oh, I'm not finished:
E.T. WAS a phallic symbol.
Jesus WAS an alien.
Elvis IS alive.
Communism IS dead.
Science and theology CAN'T live together.
Am I still lying?
Conspiracies are not a thing of the past. Truth is constantly muffled by THEM - the CIA, the FBI, politicians, Martha Stewart. THEY control the streets through the Mafia and the homeless. THEY put hidden messages in movies and TV shows. THEY introduced Clinton to Monica. THEY wire our phones, read our mail and fart in our food.
Oh, but we don't care. More important things are on our minds.
Jewish or Catholic, hetero or gay, Japanese or French, feminists
or chauvinists, from rich to poor families, you and me; We have
too much coffee, have too little time, have hated jobs, have hated
families, have no joy of life. (ever watched 'American Beauty'...?)
We feel lost, confused, as if life just passed us by.
So we jump from airplanes, inject heroin, color our hair, try different relationships with both genders, practice Voodoo, ("Eat THAT, mom!"), Yoga ("Hhhhhhmmmm... Hhhhhmmmm..."), Feng Shui. ("Sofa, chair, armoire... I'm happy!")
We try desperately to redefine our lives as we search for the answer.
Well, I have the answer... and you can get it in NO-TIME (!!!) if you'll send 20$ to: PO Box 31311 or 31315, Miami, Florida.
Nominated in April 2000
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