News reports indicate that John Paul the Great is slowly headed for his eternal reward.I think we can now recognize that John Paul was the greatest pope any of us are likely to see.Three reasons that John Paul will be considered the greatest Pope of the last few centuries:1. He defied conventional wisdom at every turn. The owners of the microphones in the West love death. They have no children themselves and view abortion as one of the chief human liberties. They have embraced sexual immorality and sterility. They think women and men should be interchangeable and that being a priest is a “job.”John Paul the Great said “No.” to this.As a result, wait to hear people talk about his “mixed” record and how the next pope must be more “flexible.” They will blame John Paul the Great for not being what they wish him to be. They will act as if a great flood of contraceptive using, abortion loving leftists are waiting to flood the Catholic Church with vocations in such thriving places as Sweden or Holland. The will pretend that Rome should replay the sad history of the American Episcopal Church.The next pope will build on John Paul’s legacy. Why? The “third world” is now the “first world” in the new Church. The next pope will work to please full and thriving conservative churches in Kenya and China, not empty German churches full of semi-pagans.John Paul the Great made the Church international.2. With Reagan and Thatcher, John Paul the Great was the key to freedom in Eastern Europe. No Orthodox Christian can fail to be thankful for his bold leadership.3. John Paul the Great was, in the words of my theologian friend Fred Sanders, the master of the iconic moment. He knew the power of the image. His entire life and ministry will serve forever as an image of what it is to be pope. This will prevent the leaders of the Church from returning to musty and middle of the road functionaries for a long time.Most of us have no real memory of any pope other than John Paul the Great. His strong “image” will be more real to many of us than that of the next pope for some time.
Essay / Misc.