On the passing of Pope John Paul II

I’m not a Roman Catholic. However, I will mourn the passing of Pope John Paul II.

From a religious perspective, John Paul II had no direct influence on my life. John Paul II did not draw the line at religious direction. He was the first pope of the modern era of technology and communications. He instituted more ways of communicating to the world than any other pope before him. He was a global pope — a global personality.

Within months of his election, he went home to then-communist Poland. Depending on who you ask, he either ruffled the feathers of the Soviet elite, or he helped contribute in a large way to the fall of the Soviet Union. He caused a calm revolution.

Pope John Paul II’s influence extended around the world, and he visited more countries during his 26 years than any other pope before him, or any world leader ever could.

While I didn’t entirely agree with Pope John Paul II’s views, specifically the ones on homosexuality, I cannot argue with all the things he did for the world. He might have done more good for the world through encouraging peace and negotiating than any other person … or organization, for that matter.

In a little over two weeks, a new Pope will be elected in Conclave. Whoever it is that ascends to the Throne of St. Peter will have a great deal to live up to. The challenge has been set before him, and the world awaits to see if he’s up for it.

For now, though, the world will continue to mourn John Paul II’s passing. Pope or not, he was a large influence on the world, and the loss of an influence that large is not easily dismissed.

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