Reactions on pope are mixed locally |

Reactions on pope are mixed locally

Alex Miller and Cliff Thompson

EAGLE COUNTY – It was with mixed emotions that residents and visitors contemplated what appeared to be the final hours of Pope John Paul’s life on Friday. Catholic or not, most of those asked had some kind of opinion regarding the ailing pontiff.

“He’s had a long life, but he’s very important, a good man,” said Maryanne Pearl, a Catholic who was visiting Vail from the Washington, D.C. area. “He’s been our pope for a long time, but we’ve accepted that he’s very old. I think it’ll probably hit everyone once he passes.”Audrey Nash of Denver, who said she was brought up Catholic, said she thought it would be interesting to see how the church named a new pope, but didn’t think it was of critical importance.”I think the pope is more interesting than important,” Nash said. “It doesn’t hold that much meaning.”

As a nurse, Nash said she thought the information coming out of the Vatican this week regarding the pope’s health was circumspect.”It’s hard to believe he’s with it at all if he’s as sick as they say he is,” she said. “Who knows, if he’s even really alive.” Given the pontiff’s age and highly publicized poor health, no one asked expressed any surprise that John Paul had received last rites Thursday – the Catholic sacrament administered when death is near.”It’s kind of sad,” said Edward Roman of Vail. “It’s his time, though. It’s almost surprising he got this far without a new pope lined up.”

Jeric Harper of Minturn said John Paul has been pope for as long as he’s been alive.”I heard it on the radio,” he said of the pope’s condition. “He couldn’t even say the Easter mass this year.”While the cable news networks aired non-stop coverage of the pope’s condition Friday and Catholics around the world prayed for him, others were less sentimental.

“He’s done a lot of good work and I wish him the best,” said Linda Miner of Eagle. “But hey, he’s 85, so maybe it’s time for him to take off.”Father Hugh Guentner, OSM, of St. Patrick’s Parish in Minturn said Catholics across Eagle County are waiting and praying. He’s awaiting a directive from the Archdiocese of Denver, of which his church is a part. He believes a mass may be held.”It’s a matter that we are holding, waiting and praying and keeping the holy father in prayer and trying to let God become present to him much more, by taking him,” Guentner said.He said an ecumenical, or multi-denominational service, is being considered at the Vail Interfaith Chapel later in the week once the matter is arranged with the ministerial alliance in Vail.

Alex Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 615, or Daily, Vail, Colorado

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