John Paul the Great finally beatified

May 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

John Paul II was the only pope I knew for the majority of my life. And I must admit, he is the primary reason that I finally got confirmed in the Catholic Church. There are probably thousands more who converted to the Catholic Church because of the holy example set by this great pope. From what I understand, he was one of the first modern popes to be totally accessible, down-to-earth, and humble about his role as the Servant of the Servants of God. He refused to be carried upon the papal throne as his predecessors were, like some haughty king looking down upon his minions. He laughed and smiled, showed true Christian character by welcoming people of all different religious backgrounds to engage in conversation, actually listening to them and respecting their differences. He was truly a ‘people’s pope’, and it is for this reason that even many Protestants, atheists and people of other religions hold him up as an example of Christlike action. I know many non-Catholics who have a deep respect for John Paul; they simply know that he was a holy man, that he lived his life in service to Christ and his fellow man. That’s why it was no surprise to me that the five-year waiting period was waived to immediately begin his cause. To do anything less would be an insult to billions of faithful who, sinners though we are, could so easily recognize Christ in him.

But his welcoming attitude and ecumenical demeanor did not cause him to back down from sound Catholic doctrine. He managed to remain fully Catholic while still drawing people of all faiths closer and showing them the best of the Catholic Church. He did what he could concerning the child abuse scandals, though he certainly was not some emperor with absolute power, as many critics expected him to be, nor is any pope. He, like a good CEO, relied on his subordinates, the Bishops, to deal with cases within their own dioceses. Perhaps there are times when he should have stepped in and dealt directly with a particular bishop. But let us remember that, according to a study by the top insurance companies for many protestant denominations, as reported by Fox news, protestant churches face over three hundred allegations of child abuse every year- much more than the Catholic Church. Their lack of hierarchy probably makes this seem less important than the allegations faced by the Catholic Church, but a fact is a fact. People love to bash the Catholic Church for her vast financial resources and political power- mostly, I would assume, out of jealousy. I know many a protestant mega-church pastor who would love to have the pope’s power!

But through it all, even his detractors must admit that their was something very different about Pope John Paul II, and I’m sure a second, third, fourth miracle will soon be worked through his intercession, and soon we can all happily call this great saint a Saint.

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