Some might say this was the perfect pope for the end of the Soviet Union’s empire. The first non-Italian pope in 455 years, and we end up with a guy right from the religious heart of Eastern Europe, able to speak with a clarity to his people and to the whole Eastern sattelite system.
He was a man of great compassion and intelligence. An acknowledged peacemaker willing to travel more than any previous pope to visit people (Catholic, non-Catholic, etc.) throughout the world.
He was also deeply “conservative” within the Catholic-church meaning of that term, and he really pushed to get sainthood for the Opus Dei founder, an organization that remains very controversial within the Catholic Church. However, he also remains a leader who had to deal with the Latin-mass folks publishing books saying how he and every pope since John in the early 60s are a bunch of Vatican II patsies.
What legacy do you think befits Pope John Paul II? 50 or 100 years from now, what do you think people will feel when they hear his name?