OK. I know it’s not official for us down here.
Do we doubt JPII is a Saint in Heaven?
Do we doubt his status as “Great”?
OK. Some may doubt the last. Only the truly obstinate can doubt the first.
One year ago today the Holy Father passed from this life into the next. According to many reports at the time, he died with a prayer on his lips, saying Amen just before passing. Supposedly this coincided with the conclusion of a Rosary or a part of the Rosary being prayed outside.
The Holy Father died as he lived. An example of Christian holiness and suffering. He died with the eyes the entire world watching and with a good many more non-Catholics than I could scarcely believe grieving at his passing along with us. That was part of what I think makes him “Great”. I remember reading a quote from a non-Catholic Christian that said he was their Pope too.
That is utterly astounding to me. Certainly not all non-Catholics believed that. It certainly was true though simply by the nature of the Church and the Papacy. All validly baptized Christians are a part of the Body of Christ which is the Catholic Church. They may not realize it, and they may not like it. But they are. Any Pope is the Pope of all Christians. I think the Holy Father understood this better than any other Pope before him.
As a convert in 2002 I never really knew any other Pope. I remember becoming aware of the Papacy and Popes in 1978 when Paul VI died and JPI was elected. Then he died and JPII was elected. He was all I knew. Even though not Catholic, I have always respected the institution of the Papacy because I instinctively understood that the Pope was the successor of Peter. I never really understood the implications of that until I started studying the Church in preparation for making sure my girls would be raised as proper Catholics. If they were to be Catholic, I wanted them to be good ones. I then understood what that succession meant for me.
Because of JPII I was able to respect the office and the Church even when I was ignorant of the true meaning of the Church and its doctrines. I think many must have felt that way. I don’t know how much previous Popes were accepted by the world and times they lived in. I do know that JPII was the conscience of the human race. He was the only one who could speak with such moral authority. No other religious or secular leader could do so.
His legacy will be seen in the fruits of the coming years. I think he planted the seeds that will bring us back from the brink of modernism that has infected the Church since the rubbish of the “spirit of Vatican II” crap that has infected the Church. Though not particularly young, I will be 40 this year, I still consider myself part of the JP2 Generation. This group, including the group of excited and motivated converts of the past 15 or more years, is the strength of the Church. They are the driving force for a return to orthodoxy of doctrine and practice. They are young, producing children and vocations.
We may be going through the desert now. But due to the seeds JPII planted, our children and grandchildren will reap the benefits of his Papacy.