So, it's been a while since I posted here. My wife and I were following the pontiff's death and funeral on the TV.
I was raised a Lutheran, but now the closest label to my "religion" is probably that of 'lapsed Buddhist'. I actually find a great many problems with present Roman Catholic doctrine. (On the other hand, I am regularly amused by American Catholics constant 're-interpretation' of those doctrinal issues that are disagreeable to them. When do democratic principles usurp orthodox articles of faith?)
Although I personally do not agree with many tenets of the Roman Catholic faith, I very much respected the Pope for sticking to his principles throughout his Papacy. As one well known protestant quipped, "That Pope can really Pope!"
His election is the first I can recall watching as a youngin' and came at a time that the youth today cannot fathom. We had Carter doing his damage in the White House, the Cold War was in full swing, and the Fonz was the Timberlake of the day.
Enter this Polish Pontiff, this slinger of Slavic Solidarity, the man from the Man...he went to Poland. An anti-commie Congregationalist. While Carter waffled, the Pope kicked ass. Metaphorically speaking, of course.
Reagan came. The Age of Actors was upon us. The Pope and the Ronald didn't always see eye-to-eye, but they agreed that Communism wasn't good for the global community. Eventually, although the President was retired and the Pope was still Pope, the Soviet Union didn't survive the Age of Actors.
As the years progressed, the Pope visited more countries and travelled more miles than any other Pope in history, It is estimated that he spoke to more people (in person) than anyone else in history. Even Castro was respectful.
He suffered a great deal in the twilight of his pontificate. Aside from the 1981 assassination attempt, he later suffered a broken femur, a dislocated shoulder, and a hip replacement in successive years.
He was a dynamic leader that didn't equivicate and who wasn't afraid to criticize those persons and practices that were at loggerheads with his beliefs. His presence made the world a richer place and he liberated the opressed.
Requiscat in Pace, padre.