9 Reasons Pope John Paul II mattered
Pope John Paul II in a file photo
January 14th, 2011
03:14 PM ET

9 Reasons Pope John Paul II mattered

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Pope John Paul II is in the news today in a big way, with the Vatican announcing he will be beatified in May - the last step before sainthood.

Most people know that John Paul was hugely important - one of the most consequential popes in history - without exactly knowing why.

Here are 9 reasons:

1. John Paul II turned the role of pontiff into global celebrity. "He was the first pop pope," says Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion professor and CNN Belief Blog contributor. "Although rather conservative theologically he was the first to marry the papacy to the cult of celebrity."

2. He made people rethink the Catholic Church, updating its image and strengthening its influence with everyday people and world leaders alike, through a vigorous campaign of global engagement. "For the most part popes had been viewed as old Italian guys in white sitting on some gilded baroque throne in Rome," says David Gibson, who has authored multiple books on the papacy. "But in demonstrating a willingness to think and act outside the papal box, John Paul inspired many Catholics and, just as important, he made billions of others look at the Catholic Church in a new way."

"John Paul II embodied in change in so many ways," Gibson says, "that he seemed to signal to the world that the Catholic Church could be as agile as any institution in the modern world."

3. He left Rome. A lot. John Paul II was the first globetrotting pope, drawing huge crowds in corners of the world that no pope had ever visited. "He broke out of the golden cage of the Vatican and its protocols and took the papacy to the world rather than expecting the world to follow the road to Rome," says  Gibson. And people responded. When John Paul II celebrated mass at Grant Park in Chicago - a city no pope had visited before - in 1979, 1.2 million people showed up.

4. He helped end Communism. A year after his election to the papacy, John Paul returned to his native Poland to "strengthen the brethren" there in the face of Soviet rule. His visit, in which he repeatedly told Poles "Don't be Afraid," helped inspire the launch of the Solidarity in Poland, the most powerful anti-communist movement until that time, which in turn triggered similar resistance across the Soviet Union. When Communism collapsed in 1989, many credited John Paul with helping lay the groundwork.

5. He was one of the world's great communicators. Fluent in 8 languages, the John Paul II often addressed audiences in their native tongue. "He spoke everyone else’s language, and his Latin wasn’t so great," says Gibson. And he wasn't shy about using the media to get his message out. 'If it doesn’t happen on TV, it doesn’t happen,” John Paul used to say, according to Gibson.

And he was even more effective in person. "Almost everyone who ever met him describes it exactly the same way, that when he was speaking with you, it was as if you were the only person in the world," says Joseph Zwilling, who directs communications for the Catholic Archdiocese of New York. "He saw in every person a real reflection of the image and likeness of God, and lived that out in a radical way."

Even when he was suffering from Parkinson's late in life, Pope John Paul was unafraid to be seen. "His willingness to appear in public bearing the effects of Parkinson's reminded the world that for the Christian, suffering is nothing to be ashamed of, or hidden away," says James Martin, a Jesuit writer.

6. More than previous popes, he inspired young people, the lifeblood of any religious tradition. John Paul II "logged hundreds of thousands of miles in tours that brought vast crowds of adoring adolescents," says Prothero. Adds Tom McClusky, director of government relations for the conservative Family Research Council in Washington: "He empowered youth throughout the world to make holiness a part of their lives."

7. While revolutionizing the papacy, he strictly adhered to traditional church teaching. "Change is often seen as a dirty word in the church, as though altering the smallest custom or tradition would start a crack in the entire edifice of faith," says Gibson. But John Paul reaffirmed the church's conservative stances on social issues like abortion and contraception, signaling a change of course after what some saw as the more liberal reforms of the Second Vatican Council.

"He ended the dominance of liberation theology... revivified the grandeur of traditional Catholic liturgy, and he reconnected Catholic social teaching to the witness of scripture," says Deal W. Hudson president of Catholic Advocate.

"John Paul II energized the 'evangelical' wing of the Catholic Church, meaning Catholics who embrace church teaching and want to take it to the streets to change the culture, which in the United States you see most clearly on the 'life issues' such as abortion and gay marriage," adds John Allen, Jr. CNN's Vatican analyst. "There’s now a whole generation of younger 'John Paul II' priests and bishops who share that mindset.

8. John Paul reset Catholic relations with other religious traditions. He was the first pope to visit a synagogue and a mosque. "Many Jews think of him as the greatest pope in history," says Allen. "He also managed to pioneer better relations with Islam - two pretty remarkable things to have accomplished at the same time."

He also improved Catholicism's relationship with other Christian traditions. "John Paul II won an unprecedented level of respect for the Catholic Church among evangelical Christians, removing the anti-Catholic tinge of much of their preaching, teaching, and cultural commentary," says Hudson.

9. He de-Italianized the papacy, the first pope born outside of Italy in centuries.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Leaders • Pope John Paul II • Vatican

soundoff (465 Responses)
  1. Sainthood is Ridiculous

    if a woman with Parkinson disease pray to Pope Paul and cure why not all the patients should just pray to Pope and be cure. Why Pope would be mean minded not to heal all the people with the Parkinson disease. Remember you Christian people exercise the power like as a God, but God did not gave you such a power. Whole process of sainthood is ridiculous. You are saying what you people are doing God must have to accept it. This is ridiculous. Why not Pope pray to God that there would be no natural disaster for next 10 years. let see what would be the outcome.
    You people are behaving like God. But real God would throw you to the hell fire to behave like a God. You people are living with your own desire and Vatican comply with the people demand. To real God it does not have any value. Hell will be the permanent place for you people to practicing this.

    January 14, 2011 at 7:36 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Sainthood is Ridiculous,

      You said, ‘You are saying what you people are doing God must have to accept it.’

      No, we are saying if God shows us a miracle through the prayers of Pope John Paul II through our one Mediator, Jesus Christ, then we accept what God has shown us.

      January 15, 2011 at 11:35 am |
  2. PAcatholic

    He was a great man and a great Pope. He earned the respect of millions of people through out the world, including people of different faiths. I saw him in 2002 in Toronto. The excitement he ignited with his prescence is undescribable. It trully speaks to the man's character when an audience of over 700,000 people from differrent walks of life and from different language speaking countries where able to chant in unison "JP 2! We love you!"

    January 14, 2011 at 7:36 pm |
  3. webster

    I'm not religious at all but Pope John Paul II was a great person and independent of religion he knew that government could not get between people and their faith. He knew that people needed to be free from government in their faith no matter what it was.
    The Soviets feared him so much because his words and deeds spoke nothing of them but did so much to destroy their influence. The Catholic church may be a bit flawed but Pope John Paul II was a good person, a scholar and a gentleman.

    January 14, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
  4. mike

    Phenomenal man. Period.

    January 14, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
  5. Lynn Heilman

    This fast tracking to sainthood makes me sad. I have lived long enough to see a lot of popes, and the one that seemed truly saintly to me was John XXIII. Even the name he choose showed from the beginning of his papacy that he was committed to reconciliation and inclusion within the church and a larger role for the laity. No pope since his time has had the courage to follow his lead. Don't tell me they are going to fast-track JPII over Mother Teresa's ashes? Now that's just plain wrong.

    January 14, 2011 at 7:04 pm |
    • PAcatholic

      Pope John XXIII is already beatified and is on the track of becoming a saint. The same with Mother Teresa.

      January 14, 2011 at 7:39 pm |
  6. Catholicbelief

    I do believe that Pope John Paul II did do some very wonderful things. On the other hand he, he helped to hide/protect child molesters. Was this to protect the catholic figure heads who committed these crimes. Or was it to protect the victims from certain bashing/hatred? Lets be honest. If many of these children's story's were brought into the light. It is more than likely that their lives would have been destroyed. They would have been the subject of blind hatred by many. Religion of all types has been plagued by war and murder. That being said. He does deserve an incredible amount of recognition for the work he did, but sainthood. I think not. I welcome others oppinions and thoughts. All I ask is that you take the entire picture into account.

    January 14, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Amazing. What a ridiculous piece of excuse making. If he did indeed prevent the truth from coming to light, if he simply moved priests to avoid scandal, then he exposed other children to abuse. You don't protect victims by enabling criminals to make new victims. By your reasoning, JPII was an accessory to the crime.

      January 14, 2011 at 8:48 pm |
    • Marlene

      These children's lives were destroyed by the very people they trusted. Their lives were destroyed the very minute they were taken advantage of. Perhaps allowing them to expose their secret to an understanding audience would have liberated them from their darkness and allow some deep and true healing.

      January 14, 2011 at 9:08 pm |
  7. bald eagle

    I am not a Catholic and while spiratual am not religous. I had the opportunity to live in Rome for a few years to to have several personal encounters with Pope John Paul II. Due to my work I alos had the opportunity to meet a number of other shakers and movers in the political arenaincluding Presidents, Prime Ministers, and the like. I dont agree with his persoal views about the church and would align myself more with the views of Cardinal Carlo Martini... but I can say with out doubt that John Paul II had a spiritual glow and awe about him. He would look me right in the eye and make be feel like I was the only person in the world. He had this affect on everyone. I went to several masses at the Vatican where there were 100000 or more people and flt that he fixed his eyes and attention on me at each one. An amazing man with impecable integrity. The sins of the church over the centuries have nothing to do with this pope... god rest his soul.

    January 14, 2011 at 7:00 pm |


      January 14, 2011 at 7:51 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      bald eagle,
      Others have felt that same phenomenon of having the Popes gaze fixed on them in a crowd of 100,000 also and wouldn’t it seem to be a blessing from the Holy Spirit to each person there!

      January 16, 2011 at 11:46 am |
    • Something

      Others have felt that same phenomenon, thinking the same thing about Frank Sinatra, or The Beatles, or Justin Bieber or many other celebrities - some get so worked up that they even fall right over in a faint. It is called fan hysteria.

      January 16, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
  8. bihogo

    those who condemn others should remember that they are themselves not perfect. In any case, will come the a day when we all have to give account for what done before the one who created us. Are we ready for that encounter in truth?

    January 14, 2011 at 6:54 pm |
  9. Brigit C

    To all you pope-bashers who accuse John Paul of being "backwards," you only display your ignorance. This man was a great thinker and philosopher as well as a great humanitarian. Why don't you read some of his writings before you post instead of pushing the child molestation button? As if Catholics have a monopoly on pedophilia. Please. Your blanket hatred of the Pope and religion in general reveals a closed mind. You probably don't even know that monks during the Dark Ages in Ireland preserved all of the great texts of western civilization up to that point or that the Catholic Church endorses the theory of evolution and have always been leaders in scholarship. No, you don't know. You're too busy hating.

    January 14, 2011 at 6:54 pm |


      January 14, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
    • The Rev'd Fr. Raymond H. Burgoon-Clark

      Let's talk about what went on in Ireland more recently: nuns keeping girls as slaves.

      January 14, 2011 at 7:19 pm |
    • Marlene

      Pedophilia can and does happen anywhere unfortunately. The distinction is that if one knows that it is happening and condones or ignores it, then inaction or little action condemns the informed for knowing and, yet, allowing it to continue to happen.

      January 14, 2011 at 9:04 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Brigit C,
      Evolution is a theory. It suggests there IS a God,... which is what the Church affirms...There is a God.

      January 15, 2011 at 11:25 am |
    • thinker

      Catholic mom, i have to correct you. Evolution is fact, not a theory. Evolutionary theory tries to describe the fact of evolution. Think about it like this: Gravity is a fact, nobody denies it. Gravitational theory, first proposed by newton, was an attempt at explaining the fact of gravity. his theory was not correct and failed to explain the elliptical orbits of planets. Along came einstein, and his relativity theory did explain the orbits of planets and also explained that light can be bent by a large body in space.
      When newton was proved wrong with his gravtiational theory, did apples stop falling from trees? No! the fact of gravity still remains! In the same way, the fact of evolution will always remain. So far, no counter-evidence has been found to disprove the theory of evolution. Evolution is a random process built on mutations, and micro-evolution has been observed in the lab. It shows that we arrived to this stage WITHOUT a god. How do you draw a connection that evolution explains that there is a god? I sincerely think that your brain doesn't work in a logical way, which is disheartening. Im sure u r a good person, but it doesn't make the deity u believe in to be true.
      Infact, evolution shows the opposite to what your creation myth (genesis) says.
      1. It is an evolutionary FACT that if a brother and sister have a child together, that there is a 99% chance of the child being retarded. So if we came from adam & eve, why isn't 99% of the world retarded?
      2. It is an evolutionary FACT that plants were here before humans. Then why does genesis say that god created adam first and then the plants, animals, etc...?? Surely god can't be wrong....But he IS wrong! what does that tell u catholic mom? When you use logic and science all the biblical myths like genesis are proven wrong!

      So i'm sorry, but your statement that evolution shows that god exists is completely wrong. i hope that one day you can think and argue logically.

      January 16, 2011 at 3:56 pm |


    January 14, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
    • Marlene

      666 is a code for Herod and used in the Gospel of John-this gospel is full of codes appropriate for the time that it was written and in light of the political unrest faced by Jesus, disciples and frankly everyone in first century Judea being governed by the Roman Empire–these include all of the different factions of Jews (Pharisees, Essenes, Sadducees, Zealots), Samaritans (Jews who intermingled with Gentiles), non-Jews and foreigners. As far as the staff, many of the symbols are carried over from Egyptian pharaohs.

      January 14, 2011 at 9:01 pm |
    • DeAguaDulce

      The upside-down cross is a symbol of Peter, not Jesus. According to his contemporaries, Peter requested to be crucified upside-down because he didn't feel worthy to be cucified in the same way that Jesus was.

      January 15, 2011 at 11:54 pm |
  11. Susette

    The 10th reason: He did not support the war in Iraq and tried to convince W.

    January 14, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
  12. Luke

    Is this man without error? Of course. But relative to other individuals who have been made Saints, this man is at the top of the list. He was one of the main players in the fall of Communism and took Catholicism out of its dark, Nazi sympathizing days. Dude should be made a Saint, plain and simple.

    January 14, 2011 at 6:49 pm |


    January 14, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
    • EuphoriCrest

      Yahaslsdfa Tsadjsdu: Where are those "Statues of Limitations"? Where they sculpted by Michelangelo? Seriously, dude, lose the caps lock.

      January 14, 2011 at 8:34 pm |
  14. Mason

    Possibly one of the best and most inspirational popes in world history. I'm not even Christian, and I strongly admire this man.

    January 14, 2011 at 6:43 pm |
  15. bihogo

    I am so happy to belong to the generation of Pope John Paull 2. He really love d us the young people and he gave us hope to face our present and future not only for us christians but for Budhists, moslems, Jews etc. I remember when he died, very many moslems in Mali (where i was at the time ) cried for losing such a holy person who loved them. He was a gift fo God for humanity. Let's take time to read what he said and we will find a treasure to fulfill our earrthly existence. We love you Pope John Paull 2.

    January 14, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
  16. Elaine Bessette

    This conservative man was instrumental in:
    keeping women second class,
    promoting a type of patriarchy formulated by 4500 BCE tribal Bedouins who believed that women were less than fully human,
    perpetuating the notion of infallibility (an 1870 idea smacking of megalomania),
    who promoted Fr. Marciel,
    whose close friends ran corrupt seminaries,
    who, like his successor, thought the church was based in Rome and was essentially of Greek origins,
    who promoted the glitz and bling of empire.
    Saint? Hmmm.

    January 14, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Elaine Bessette,

      Do you know…

      How Did the Catholic Church Get Her Name?

      by Kenneth D. Whitehead

      The Creed which we recite on Sundays and holy days speaks of one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. As everybody knows, however, the Church referred to in this Creed is more commonly called just the Catholic Church. It is not, by the way, properly called the Roman Catholic Church, but simply the Catholic Church.

      The term Roman Catholic is not used by the Church herself; it is a relatively modern term, and one, moreover, that is confined largely to the English language. The English-speaking bishops at the First Vatican Council in 1870, in fact, conducted a vigorous and successful campaign to insure that the term Roman Catholic was nowhere included in any of the Council's official docu-ments about the Church herself, and the term was not included.

      Similarly, nowhere in the 16 docu-ments of the Second Vatican Council will you find the term Roman Catholic. Pope Paul VI signed all the docu-ments of the Second Vatican Council as "I, Paul. Bishop of the Catholic Church." Simply that – Catholic Church. There are references to the Roman curia, the Roman missal, the Roman rite, etc., but when the adjective Roman is applied to the Church herself, it refers to the Diocese of Rome!

      Cardinals, for example, are called cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, but that designation means that when they are named to be cardinals they have thereby become honorary clergy of the Holy Father's home diocese, the Diocese of Rome. Each cardinal is given a t!tular church in Rome, and when the cardinals participate in the election of a new pope they are participating in a process that in ancient times was carried out by the clergy of the Diocese of Rome.

      Although the Diocese of Rome is central to the Catholic Church, this does not mean that the Roman rite, or, as is sometimes said, the Latin rite, is co-terminus with the Church as a whole; that would mean neglecting the Byzantine, Chaldean, Maronite or other Oriental rites which are all very much part of the Catholic Church today, as in the past.

      In our day, much greater emphasis has been given to these "non-Roman" rites of the Catholic Church. The Second Vatican Council devoted a special docu-ment, Orientalium Ecclesiarum (Decree on Eastern Catholic Churches), to the Eastern rites which belong to the Catholic Church, and the new Catechism of the Catholic Church similarly gives considerable attention to the distinctive traditions and spirituality of these Eastern rites.

      So the proper name for the universal Church is not the Roman Catholic Church. Far from it. That term caught on mostly in English-speaking countries; it was promoted mostly by Anglicans, supporters of the "branch theory" of the Church, namely, that the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church of the creed was supposed to consist of three major branches, the Anglican, the Orthodox and the so-called Roman Catholic. It was to avoid that kind of interpretation that the English-speaking bishops at Vatican I suc-ceeded in warning the Church away from ever using the term officially herself: It too easily could be misunderstood.
      Today in an era of widespread dis-sent in the Church, and of equally widespread confusion regarding what authentic Catholic ident!ty is supposed to consist of, many loyal Catholics have recently taken to using the term Roman Catholic in order to affirm their understanding that the Catholic Church of the Sunday creed is the same Church that is united with the Vicar of Christ in Rome, the Pope. This understanding of theirs is correct, but such Catholics should nevertheless beware of using the term, not only because of its dubious origins in Anglican circles intending to suggest that there just might be some other Catholic Church around somewhere besides the Roman one: but also because it often still is used today to suggest that the Roman Catholic Church is something other and lesser than the Catholic Church of the creed. It is commonly used by some dis-senting theologians, for example, who appear to be attempting to categorize the Roman Catholic Church as just another contemporary "Christian denomination"–not the body that is identical with the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church of the creed.

      The proper name of the Church, then, is the Catholic Church. It is not ever called "the Christian Church," either. Although the prestigious Oxford University Press currently publishes a learned and rather useful reference book called "The Oxford Book of the Christian Church," the fact is that there has never been a major ent!ty in history called by that name; the Oxford University Press has adopted a misnomer, for the Church of Christ has never been called the Christian Church.

      There is, of course, a Protestant denomination in the United States which does call itself by that name, but that particular denomination is hardly what the Oxford University Press had in mind when as-signing to its reference book the t!tle that it did. The as-signment of the t!tle in question appears to have been one more method, of which there have been so many down through history, of declining to admit that there is, in fact, one–and only one—ent!ty existing in the world today to which the designation "the Catholic Church" in the Creed might possibly apply.

      The ent!ty in question, of course, is just that: the very visible, worldwide Catholic Church, in which the 263rd successor of the Apostle Peter, Pope John Paul II, teaches, governs and sanctifies, along with some 3,000 other bishops around the world, who are successors of the apostles of Jesus Christ.

      As mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles, it is true that the followers of Christ early became known as "Christians" (cf. Acts 11:26). The name Christian, however, was never commonly applied to the Church herself. In the New Testament itself, the Church is simply called "the Church." There was only one. In that early time there were not yet any break-away bodies substantial enough to be rival claimants of the name and from which the Church might ever have to distinguish herself.
      Very early in post-apostolic times, however, the Church did acquire a proper name–and precisely in order to distinguish herself from rival bodies which by then were already beginning to form. The name that the Church acquired when it became necessary for her to have a proper name was the name by which she has been known ever since-the Catholic Church.

      The name appears in Christian literature for the first time around the end of the first century. By the time it was written down, it had certainly already been in use, for the indications are that everybody understood exactly what was meant by the name when it was written.

      Around the year A.D. 107, a bishop, St. Ignatius of Antioch in the Near East, was arrested, brought to Rome by armed guards and eventually martyred there in the arena. In a farewell letter which this early bishop and martyr wrote to his fellow Christians in Smyrna (today Izmir in modern Turkey), he made the first written mention in history of "the Catholic Church." He wrote, "Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" (To the Smyrnaeans 8:2). Thus, the second century of Christianity had scarcely begun when the name of the Catholic Church was already in use.

      Thereafter, mention of the name became more and more frequent in the written record. It appears in the oldest written account we possess outside the New Testament of the martyrdom of a Christian for his faith, the "Martyrdom of St. Polycarp," bishop of the same Church of Smyrna to which St. Ignatius of Antioch had written. St. Polycarp was martyred around 155, and the account of his sufferings dates back to that time. The narrator informs us that in his final prayers before giving up his life for Christ, St. Polycarp "remembered all who had met with him at any time, both small and great, both those with and those without renown, and the whole Catholic Church throughout the world."

      We know that St. Polycarp, at the time of his death in 155, had been a Christian for 86 years. He could not, therefore, have been born much later than 69 or 70. Yet it appears to have been a normal part of the vocabulary of a man of this era to be able to speak of "the whole Catholic Church throughout the world."

      The name had caught on, and no doubt for good reasons.

      The term "catholic" simply means "universal," and when employing it in those early days, St. Ignatius of Antioch and St. Polycarp of Smyrna were referring to the Church that was already "everywhere," as distinguished from whatever sects, schisms or splinter groups might have grown up here and there, in opposition to the Catholic Church.

      The term was already understood even then to be an especially fitting name because the Catholic Church was for everyone, not just for adepts, enthusiasts or the specially initiated who might have been attracted to her.

      Again, it was already understood that the Church was "catholic" because – to adopt a modern expression – she possessed the fullness of the means of salvation. She also was destined to be "universal" in time as well as in space, and it was to her that applied the promise of Christ to Peter and the other apostles that "the powers of death shall not prevail" against her (Mt 16:18).
      The Catechism of the Catholic Church in our own day has concisely summed up all the reasons why the name of the Church of Christ has been the Catholic Church: "The Church is catholic," the Catechism teaches, "[because] she proclaims the fullness of the faith. She bears in herself and administers the totality of the means of salvation. She is sent out to all peoples. She speaks to all men. She encompass-ses all times. She is 'missionary of her very nature'" (no. 868).

      So the name became attached to her for good. By the time of the first ecu-menical council of the Church, held at Nicaea in Asia Minor in the year 325 A.D., the bishops of that council were legislating quite naturally in the name of the universal body they called in the Council of Nicaea's official docu-ments "the Catholic Church." As most people know, it was that same council which formulated the basic Creed in which the term "catholic" was retained as one of the four marks of the true Church of Christ. And it is the same name which is to be found in all 16 docu-ments of the twenty-first ecu-menical council of the Church, Vatican Council II.

      It was still back in the fourth century that St. Cyril of Jerusalem aptly wrote, "Inquire not simply where the Lord's house is, for the sects of the profane also make an attempt to call their own dens the houses of the Lord; nor inquire merely where the church is, but where the Catholic Church is. For this is the peculiar name of this Holy Body, the Mother of all, which is the Spouse of Our Lord Jesus Christ" (Catecheses, xviii, 26).

      The same inquiry needs to be made in exactly the same way today, for the name of the true Church of Christ has in no way been changed. It was inevitable that the Catechism of the Catholic Church would adopt the same name today that the Church has had throughout the whole of her very long history.

      From The Catholic Answer, May/June 1996?
      Published by Our Sunday Visitor, Inc., 200 Noll Plaza, Huntington, IN 46750, 1-800-521-

      January 15, 2011 at 11:17 am |
    • mikka

      Elaine, he wasn't a socialist, Have ever seen him? If you had you would have understood..

      January 15, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  17. sudale

    9 good reasons that fits the criteria to be a Saint but may be you are missing one. Below is 10th.
    You must be a spy working for the CIA your whole life and that will complete the training as a Saint.
    No disrepect to the man.

    January 14, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  18. James

    I have just booked my flight to Rome for the beatificaton ceremony. What a grace to be part of making one the greatest Popes a blessed! Isn't Catholicism wonderful.

    January 14, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      You are blessed to be able to go to Rome! and...YES!!

      January 15, 2011 at 11:08 am |
  19. tallulah13

    That's an interesting list. Not one of those accomplishments are actually useful outside of the catholic church, except maybe the fall of communism, but credit for that should go to those people who actually risked their lives and livelihoods, not to a glorified cheerleader. He did lots of stuff for his church, so I suppose that he could be the greatest pope ever. However, there is nothing on the list to indicate he was of any real use to anybody else.

    His stand on birth control makes it pretty obvious he was more interested in doctrine or power than the lives of actual human beings. If he knew about the church's protection of child abusers, or if he was too busy chasing celebrity to know what the organization he headed was up to, that makes him not very good indeed.

    Honestly, if you really need to turn a pope into a saint, I'd pick John Paul I. He actually seemed to live the sort of life Christ taught.

    January 14, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
    • KB

      Could not agree with your post more. Very well written and good points.

      January 15, 2011 at 10:51 am |
  20. portuguese catholic

    I can't believe that he is even being considered.....someone like all the previous pope's were aware of the children being molested by catholic priests and none of the pedahiles were expelled from the church!!!! What is wrong with everyone!!!!He consented this sick behaviour being the head of the church...God have mercy on his sole!!!!He has a lot to answer to the big guy!!!

    January 14, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
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