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Pope John Paul II is best remembered as a peacemaker and defender of the underprivileged [April 11]. His experience of deprivation and tyranny during the Nazi and communist eras made him understand his important role. He cherished dialogue with people from different religions, and that helped promote understanding among nations and religious groups. He was a Pope who never hesitated to visit and reach out to Third World countries.
San Juan, the Philippines
The Pope's leadership crossed all barriers, and his love extended to Muslims around the world. His efforts to promote peace and defuse the chronic Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and his sensible stand on the status of Jerusalem, were sensitive to all religions. As one of the leaders of an interfaith organization, I particularly valued his role in developing understanding and trust among the faiths. We are in dire need of sane voices like John Paul's in this world torn by lust for power and neglect of human rights.
S. FAIYAZUDDIN AHMAD, PRESIDENT
LEICESTER COUNCIL OF FAITHS
The Pope is still living among Christians all over the world. It was overpowering to see how his death affected people. Perhaps those most moved are in Latin America, where so many of the world's Roman Catholics reside. John Paul II visited Latin America 18 times and established a relationship with all its peoples. He understood the injustice and problems facing the region. He ignited profound love and devotion as well as a deep understanding among Latin American Catholics.
You can read additional articles from TIME's archives about Pope John Paul II at timearchive.com/collection
Verses for the Spirit
Your critique of "7 Books of Poetry Worth Curling Up With" [May 9] was welcome. It is nice to know that poetry has not lost its place in our misguided material world. When we as a society lose interest in poetry, we further alienate ourselves from the spiritual realm of human existence. Perhaps, in addition to free verse, there is room for old-fashioned rhyme and meter. Fashion should not apply to poetry.
JAMES A. PAPASTAMOS
Your interview with controversial lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who gave his views on the ethics scandals roiling Washington [May 9], proved that more stringent campaign-finance reform can no longer be postponed. It is appalling that Abramoff hides behind the defense that he is not the worst-behaved lobbyist in Washington. Abramoff and his friend House majority leader Tom DeLay need to be reminded that representing the people is a privilege, one not to be exploited for personal gain. I feel no sympathy for Abramoff, who now must spend a lot of money on lawyers instead of making money from his clients.
PAUL W. CLARY