Who Can Fill The Big Shoes Pope John Paul Ii Left Behind?

1824 words - 8 pages

KAROL Josef Wojtyla had been many things before he became Pope. Among these many things, he had been a theatre actor and nothing had been more dramatic than the events that led to the day he was presented to the world's stage as the newly elected Pope on October 27, 1978.In 1968, Morris West's bestselling novel, "Shoes of the Fisherman" became a movie blockbuster. Released at the height of the Cold War, the film captured the imagination of the free world because it told the story of how a Russian, a Siberian prisoner for 20 years, ended up playing a key role as pope in a very troubled world facing the horrid prospect of a nuclear world war. Kiril Lakota turned out to be a revolutionary pope ...view middle of the document...

He knew the suffering, deprivation and gnawing despair of living in Poland in the Nazi era and perhaps even worse, the imprisonment of the mind and spirit behind the Iron Curtain during the Communist regime. Being a product of a tumultuous era, it can be said that Wojtyla was prepared by his own circumstances to lead Christ's flock in a world now ruled by the swiftly changing winds of technology and globalization.Pope John Paul II confronted the most contentious issues of his time with unambiguous positions to guide the modern Catholic faithful. He was the most pro-active pope since Pope John XXIII and his reign was marked by a lot of firsts. One of these was the softening of the battle lines between religions, traditional enmities and mindsets.In an institution perceived to hold "antiquated" views and approaches, he personally brought the papacy to the over 100 countries that he visited. He was in the Philippines twice. His firm and consistent stand against the perpetrators of oppression and repression encouraged the Philippine Catholic Church led by Jaime Cardinal Sin to actively fight the Marcos dictatorship. A more traditional pope would have declined to intervene in 'temporal matters'. But taking the cue from the man on top, a seasoned revolutionary himself, the Philippine Catholic Church mustered enough grit and spirit to launch a crusade against the Marcos dictatorship. Maybe it can be said that the seeds of the 1986 People Power revolt was sown on the day Karol Wojtyla became pope.From day 1 of his papacy, Pope John Paul II understood that his power emanated from the moral force inherent in the papacy. His very presence in Communist Poland in 1979 - the very first of his many travels - signaled the doom of Communism there. The old Soviet Union feared him and the moral force that he brought with him. When he indicated his wish to visit China, the Chinese government knew better than to expose themselves open to the same fate as their Eastern European counterpart and they thought up creative impediments to prevent a papal visit.At a time when the relevance of the Church had started to face serious challenges particularly among the more questioning youth, a world trend that began during the revolutionary period of the 1960s and 1970s, Pope John Paul II spoke in the language young people and the rest of the modern Catholics understood. That Pope John Paul II attracted the youth is not surprising really, considering how young people are attracted to visionaries and resolute men of action that appeal to their sense of idealism. To them, he walked his talk and was the real deal. The visionary pope soon drew in droves of young people to the fold, culminating in his founding of World Youth Day. In the Philippines one of the most celebrated and best attended staging of World Youth Day happened in 1995 - something Pope John Paul II never forgot. By the time Pope John Paul II rejoined his Maker, most of those who were seen at his vigil at St. Peter's...

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