Billy Graham: Pope John Paul II Was "Most Influential Voice" in 100 Years
By Michael Ireland
Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service
CBN.com – LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA (ANS) -- Speaking on the April 2 edition of CNN's Larry King Live program Dr. Billy Graham said that that Pope John Paul II was the most influential voice for morality and peace in the world in the last 100 years.
Dr. Graham told Larry King he had the privilege of seeing the Pope on several occasions at the Vatican.
"And tonight, I have a very strange feeling of loss. I almost feel as though one of my family members has gone. I loved him very much and had the opportunity of discussing so many things with him. And we wrote each other several times during the years," Dr. Graham said.
Larry King asked Dr. Graham: "Did he actually say to you once, "We are brothers' "?
GRAHAM: That's correct. He certainly did. He held my hand the first time that I met him about 1981 -- he'd just been Pope for two years when I saw him first. Because when he was elevated to the papacy, I was preaching in his cathedral in Krakow that very day. And we had thousands of people in the streets. And watching the television today of Krakow has brought back many memories.
KING: You said that he was an Evangelist.
GRAHAM: He was, indeed. He traveled throughout the world to bring his Christian message to the world. And we see tonight the outpouring from the world that he touched. And I think he touched almost everybody in the whole world.
KING: What, Billy, in your thoughts -- you said you feel like it's a personal loss. What in the human sense was so special about him?
GRAHAM: I think it was his background in Poland. And I had finished preaching all over Poland, gotten to know many people, and I knew a little bit about where he came from.
"And he was a suffering pope, too. He suffered as much as anybody you could ever imagine. His mother died when he was young. And he had that terrible assassination attack. And through it all, he taught us how to suffer. And I think in recent days he's taught us how to die.
KING: There is no question in your mind that he is with God now?
GRAHAM: Oh, no. There may be a question about my own, but I don't think Cardinal Wojtyla, or the Pope -- I think he's with the Lord, because he believed. He believed in the Cross. That was his focus throughout his ministry, the Cross, no matter if you were talking to him from personal issue or an ethical problem, he felt that there was the answer to all of our problems, the cross and the resurrection. And he was a strong believer.
KING: I understand that you've been invited to the funeral, but because of your own health, you can't attend. But someone in the Graham family is going to go?
GRAHAM: That's correct.
KING: Do you know who will go?
GRAHAM: I don't have the physical strength to go, and I have been invited. I was invited about six or seven months ago by the Vatican ahead of time. And they've asked that I come. So I asked if I could send my daughter. They wanted a woman to come representing me. So I'm asking my daughter, Anne Lotz, to go. And she's going with an associate of mine. And then my son, Franklin, will be going to the enthronement of the new Pope.