• Terri Schiavo (search) is dying. Pope John Paul II (search) is ailing. And, on this most solemn of days for Christians around the world, some wonder whether there is any "good," this Friday.

    These two individuals are joined in the oddest of ways on these most sacred of days: Terri, for her fragile grip on life, and the pope, for wanting to maintain that no one end that life.

    It is the oddest of confluences: a woman whose real intentions we cannot know and a pope whose own frailties we cannot miss. Both seem so vulnerable. Yet both seem so strong.

    Neither would like being called a poster child for any cause. Terri for the right to live or die and the pope for the right to judge a man not by how he looks but what he is.

    Both have inspired supporters and critics: They have triggered heated, sometimes nasty debates neither envisioned nor wanted.

    They speak volumes by not speaking at all: The pope over the right of a woman who cannot speak for herself and the woman for those who someday might not be able to speak for themselves.

    They seem both so kind and gentle — not what they were, but strong in what they are.

    Time is running out on both: For Terri, forcibly. For this pope, soon, naturally.

    But in their frailties and weaknesses, they have said so much by not saying anything at all.

    Both are the stuff of world headlines — at the same time, in the same season. When Christians the world over look for inspiration above and realize in these two individuals they have already found it, here.

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