I am but a fool
darling I love you
but you treat me cruel
A complex man is near death. I don't always agree with him (nor do I agree with just about any leader of organized religion.) And I find many of his positions frustrating, especially considering his obvious intelligence. Yet clearly this is a passionate man who truly believes in his God and Saviour and has stubbornly marched along a path marked by both progressiveness as well as reticence.
Now don't get me wrong. I don't admire stubbornness particularly. If I did, I would admire GWBush. But John Paul II has worked hard for what he believes (unlike GWBush) and was not shy about expressing his opinions.
He wasn't afraid to tweak world leaders to their face; he criticised GWBush before the Iraqi invasion. He spoke eloquently on human rights world wide. He apologized for past Church mistakes. (!) And he traveled tirelessly, talking to millions, trying to spread his message of Christianity as a caring, tolerant, and vibrant religion.
Yet he clearly wasn't in favor of elevating women to the priesthood. This archaic law, created not by Biblical understanding but rather by political concerns, is long past any logical support. Many major religions have embraced women clergy (about time!), and yet, the Pope felt that was wrong.
Also, the idea that priests should be celibate, which has vague biblical precedent, is also due for a modern rethinking. Again, virtually all major religions except Catholicism celebrate married clergy.
And re: same sex relationship rights and recognition, he was stubbornly behind the tolerance curve.
My point is that while not perfect (by definition, since according to the Bible we are all sinners), John Paul II was still a strong, passionate figure who truly believed in compassioniate and humane treatment of all people. Not many world leaders can honestly make that claim.
PATER NOSTER, qui es in caelis, sanctificetur nomen tuum. Adveniat regnum tuum. Fiat voluntas tua, sicut in caelo et in terra. Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie, et dimitte nobis debita nostra sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris. Et ne nos inducas in tentationem, sed libera nos a malo. Amen.
Requiescat in Pace, Ioannis Paulus II