QUEBEC (CP) - From the bustling Toronto subway to contemplative Quebec cathedrals, Canadians prayed Friday as Pope John Paul neared death.
Colette Courrieu tossed aside her normal daily prayers at Basilique Notre-Dame in Quebec City to pray for the soul of a pontiff who defined the church for a quarter-century.
"I often disagreed with him because I thought he was too soft on the modernists," said Courrieu, a retiree who lives near the basilica.
"But today, I'll pray to the Virgin Mary because they say he was especially devoted to her. It's sad, but there is hope, because there is always hope in renewal.
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I've have deep differences with the pope (contraception, female clergy, his attitude toward Liberation Theology, etc), but his pontificate has been marked with a deep faith. No one could accuse of him of waffling on issues. His was/is an intellectual ministry. He is the philosopher pope. He changed history. He used his throne to advance the cause of the gospel as he understood it.
Tonight, I'll pray for him and for my sisters and brothers in the Roman Catholic Church.
For those who are interested, Time Magazine has published a primer on what happens after a pope dies.
Read it here.