For the last quarter of a century, this non-Catholic has had a pope. Now that John Paul II is gone, I am even more of an orphan than the Christians in the Roman church. For they will surely have another pope, but that one may not be mine, since I haven't converted.
I am sure I am reflecting the views of many Protestants. Who else but John Paul II gave voice to my faith and my values in 130 countries? Who else posited personal holiness and theological clarity against postmodern self-deception and egotism? Who else preached the gospel as tirelessly as this man?
What other clergyman played any comparable role in bringing down communism, a godless system? What other world leaderspiritual or secularunderstood so profoundly how hollow and bankrupt the Soviet empire was, so much so that this tireless writer never bothered to pen an encyclical against Marxism-Leninism because he knew it was moribund?
Has there been a more powerful defender of the sanctity of life than this Pole, in whose pontificate nearly 40 million unborn babies wound up in trashcans and furnaces in the United States alone? What more fitting insight than John Paul II's definition of our culture as a culture of deathan insight that is now clearly sinking in, to wit the declining abortion rates in the United States?
In Europe some time ago, a debate occurred in Protestant churches: Should John Paul II be considered the world's spokesman for all of Christianity? This was an absurd question. Of course he spoke for all believers. Who else had such global appeal and credibility, even to non-Christians and non-believers?
Of course, there was the inveterate Billy Graham. There were many faithful Orthodox and Protestant bishops, pastors and evangelists. But ...1
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