Friday, April 01, 2005

Goodbye Pope John Paul

Before I was two, when Dublin was a flood of flared trousers, psychedelic fabric and my mum still had long glossy black hair, I'm told I saw the Pope when he was helicoptered in to Maynooth, where my parents still clung onto the dream they had bought a house in what would be a suburb of Dublin.

It's not a memory I share with them, but there is no denying that growing up in Dublin in the eighties meant living in the last vestiges of Catholic Ireland. The churches were brimming and children dreamed of the piles of ten penny bags, cool-pops, stinger bars and dip-daps that would result from their Communion money.

Pictures of the Pope blessing the good Catholic unions hung in many of my friends houses. I didn't know the man and I've never been religious. On 5-7 Live tonight there was talk of 1,000 people going to a mass in the Pro Cathedral for the Pope. Vox-pops of men and women hoping that the pope won't die or wishing his successor the best of luck.

Conflicting reports on whether he's still alive or dead. But for one moment in 1979, Pope John Paul held the equivalent of a U2 concert in the Phoenix Park. When I was a teenager I worked in a factory and an older co-worker told me that she and her mates had walked from a night-club in town to see the Pope's talk. It wouldn't happen now I don't think.

Like it, loathe it, think it irrelevant, but any death like this, where each second is commented on, is strange and I think a bit sad. So, I never knew you, but best of luck Pope John Paul, wherever you're off to.

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