Lebensabend eines Pontifex

Einmal mehr wurde Papst Johannes Paul II. mit schwerer Krankheit ins Krankenhaus eingewiesen. Selbst für einen Nichtkatholiken wie mich ist dies ein Anlass, über den Verlust nachzudenken, den die Welt erleiden wird, wenn der Körper des Papstes endgültig seinen Leiden erliegt.

Dabei ergibt sich ein Bild in ganz unterschiedlichen Farben. Für diejenigen unter uns, die den Zusammenbruch des Kommunismus als wegweisendes Ereignis in der Geschichte des zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts ansehen, ist Papst Johannes Paul ein Held. In Polen konzentrierten sich sämtliche Aktivitäten der Zivilgesellschaft auf ihn. Während in anderen Ländern, insbesondere in Rumänien, aber auch in der damaligen Tschechoslowakei und in Ungarn, als Alternative zum Kommunismus nur ein Vakuum existierte oder bestenfalls einige isolierte Organisationen in der Zivilgesellschaft, verfügte Polen über eine andere Quelle der Legitimität. Vor und nach seiner Wahl war der damalige Kardinal Karol Wojtyla von Krakau ihr wirkungsvollster Vertreter.

Kardinal Wojtylas Wahl zum Papst war daher weit über die Grenzen der Kirche hinaus von Bedeutung. Eigentlich mochte er selbst die Gleichsetzung seiner Kirche mit der Zivilgesellschaft nicht. In einem Gespräch protestierte er: „Nein, die Kirche ist keine Zivilgesellschaft, sie ist eine heilige Gesellschaft.“

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