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A date to remember

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Oct 16, 2008

 Hard to believe, isn't it, that on this date in 1978 most Catholic Americans-- no, make that virtually all of us-- woke up in the morning completely unfamiliar with the name "Wojtyla." We had barely learned the name "Luciani," and fully expected to hear another Italian surname announced when the new Pontiff was elected. 

We also expected the Berlin Wall to stay in place, and the Soviet Union to remain a world power for decades. We were wrong about that, too.

Oddly enough, the leaders of the Communist empire knew the name "Wojtyla" quite well. When the new Pontiff appeared smiling from the loggia of St. Peter's, and said, "Be not afraid," they knew he wasn't talking to them.  

 

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