The pope is dead. Long live the pope. John Paul II's hagiocracy has ended, but his hagiolatry has only begun. The latest drum beat from the fawning media is that Pope John will be refered to as "The Great". If greatness is measured by the effects of one's beliefs put into action, I am not convinced. Normally I refrain from religious topics, and here I am more concerned with power and politics than theology. The late pope portrayed himself as a champion of the common people, and used his bully pulpit to great effect in a series of world travels. He frequently lectured world leaders on the need to raise the masses from poverty. And yet, after a quarter century, the gap between the haves and the have-not is growing at a faster rate than it has in over a hundred years. The fall of communism (actually Soviet socialism) is sometimes credited to him, yet many Roman Catholic leaders have strong Marxist leanings. Human Sexuality is probably the area that he has made the most impact. In actively resisting ANY reproductive innovations, he has thwarted or made many couples attempt to bear children difficult. His opposition to ANY birth control technology, particularly ANY safe sex measures has increased the suffering of millions.
Oh. Now I get it. He was the pope of suffering. Everything he did was to support the idea that we are meant to suffer in this life. So, in that respect, he was The Great. Infallable. God's direct representative on earth.
All God's children gotta suffer. But not because of some crank in a robe and a pointed hat making perverse declarations.