Pope John Paul II: Influence on the World
Pope John Paul was one of the most influential persons of the 21st century. He changed the way the Catholic Church looked at the world and vice versa. Unlike most other predecessors, he stressed on dialogue and understanding among the people of the world. He sought to bring the people of the world together through the message of both love and peace. The role he played in destroying communism and bringing dictatorship around the world to an end gained wide media coverage. His dialogue between different faiths was admirable. During his papacy that stretched from 1978 to his death in 2005, he had a positive impact on the Catholic scene in particular and the world in general.
The Pope helped in demolishing the communist regimes. The state had a monopoly over most property which was collectively owned. This monopoly extended to intellectual property as well. Marxism was the only philosophy that one could profess. The church was the first to break free and give the citizens an alternative to the state run concepts.
Poland was a case in point. If one wanted to know what was actually transpiring there, one could pick up an underground newspaper. To view paintings by artistes who were not officially commissioned by the government, one had to go to the basement of a church. Even plays would be performed there. While the priests of the church did not involve in any of the above-mentioned activities, they offered the church premises for such activities. The priests of the church were following the example set by Pope John Paul II in his youth during the Nazi days.
In the words of the Pope, "Fidelity to roots is always creative, ready to descend into the depths, open to new challenges." (qtd in Applebaum). His emphasis on roots made him refer directly to faith which he proclaimed to people at large. According to him, faith was to be openly and publicly expressed. He used various cultural references in those very countries where the governments restricted culture.
John Paul's particular way of expressing his faith -- publicly, openly, and with many cultural and historical references -- was explosive in countries whose regimes tried to control both culture and history along with everything else. As reported in the Washington Post by Applebaum, when the Pope visited Poland in 1979, he told them not to be afraid. Unlike what the regime thought, there was a sea of humanity waiting to greet the Pope. Hence this model could be demonstrated in other communist countries like East Germany and East Germany (‘How the Pope 'Defeated Communism').
Pope John Paul reached out to other faiths to foster a spirit of unity among religions. For instance, he went to a mosque, spoke to Muslims and advocated full rights for all groups in...