Letter to the The Australian from Dr Sev Ozdowski OAM - 6 April 2005
As an Australian citizen who was born in Poland, the death of Pope John Paul II fills me with two principal emotions. On one hand a sense of pride that a man from my country of birth, whom I had the great honour to meet, should have achieved so much on behalf of mankind and the Catholic faith. On the other hand, a sense of loss that he is no longer among us.
Of course, his legacy to the world has also profoundly intersected with the protection and advancement of secular rights. He advanced these values in all nations. The litany of achievements on this front is astounding: the fall of communism and the advancement of freedom and democracy in Eastern Europe; his uncompromising work on behalf of peace; his leadership on behalf of the poor, the infirm and the disabled and of possibly most profound long-term importance, his engagement in ecumenical dialogue between faiths.
I believe it is incumbent on all Australians, whatever their belief, to continue on with the legacy of John Paul II especially as it relates to the furthering of secular values.
Dr Sev Ozdowski OAM
Human Rights Commissioner, HREOC