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Statement on Death of Pope John Paul II

Pope John Paul II was one of the most important leaders of the Catholic Church in modern history. He will be remembered for his vigorous spirituality, for bringing the communist rule of Eastern Europe to an end, and for the international reach of his Gospel message.

There are three messages from the life of the Holy Father that are particularly important to Duquesne University of the Holy Spirit. First, he believed, as we do, in young people. Despite the dangers to young men and women around the world, youth brings hope and the opportunity for positive change.

Secondly, the Pope believed in human dignity, that every person regardless of their circumstances is made in the image of God. He also believed that human dignity can be enhanced or diminished by behavior and by social systems. This accounts for his outspokenness against war and killing, communism, materialism, and poverty.

Finally, the Pope believed in truth. In an age of relativism and nihilism, he insisted that there are truths about life and its meaning. We cannot come to these truths without self-discipline, respect for others, and intellectual humility. No university can thrive without this same conviction--that truth exists and we can discover it, at least part of it.
Pope John Paul II was a powerful presence to believers everywhere. His life was a gift of the Catholic Church, from Poland to the world.

Charles J. Dougherty, Ph.D.
Duquesne University

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.