The BBC has just announced the news the world has been waiting for over the past 72 hours, that Pope John Paul II has died.
I'm not a Roman Catholic; I've never recognised the authority of the Pope; and in many ways I disagree with the ultra-conservative views he held. I even found it strange beyond words the way the media reported his final days as if there was nothing else going on in the world - as if Mugabe hadn't won a land-slide rigged election in Zimbabwe - as if the very world stopped spinning and held its breath...And yet I find myself moved by his passing.
I found myself moved, almost to tears, by a conversation with my Catholic next-door-neighbour-but-one over the garden fences this morning; as she planted an ornamental rose tree and dedicated it to John Paul II, and I hung out the washing on the line...we spoke of life, and death, and how the death of a believer is at once both happy and sad all mixed up together...
It is a funny thing how one man's death can touch so many lives, who did not even know they could be touched by him.