John Paul 2 for those who do not like the Roman numerals,
John Paul God for his more enthusiastic supporters,
The "sportsman of God" at the beginning of his pontificate,
The Pope of the youth for the not so young,
jpii for the trendy Catholics,
The "cyber-Pope" for the visitors of www.vatican.va,
The " travelling Pope" for the journalists,
The "suffering servant" at the end of his pontificate,
Karol Wojtyla was born in Poland in 1920 near Cracow.
Elected big boss of the Roman Catholic Church on October 18, 1978, he becomes Jean-Paul II on October 22, that is to say exactly 25 years before the silver jubilee of his pontificate.
He is the first Slavic pope in history.
John Paul II died on April 3, 2005.
Who was John Paul II?
An almost idolatrous fan of the Virgin Mary ("Totus tuus", entirely yours, that is his motto), more particularly of the Black Virgin of Czestochowa and incidentally of the Lady of Fatima. Not very rancorous, the latter Virgin would have diverted the bullet that aimed him at the assassination attempt on May 13, 1981.
A stakhanovist of canonization with nearly 500 saints to him all alone, what is much more than all his predecessors put together. Now, each small community owns its saint, at the point to wonder whether it is not an attempt to reintroduce paganism and household god (domestic protective gods in the Antiquity).
A world star, at the head of a company, a show Church, almost permanently on tour, with his fans-clubs and his hired clappers.
An ecumenical chairman who vainly tried several times to make a takeover bid for others Christian Churches.
The "overthrower" of communism, which, as it is said in the right-thinking circles, made fall the Berlin wall with the snout blows given by his athlete's shoulders.
Being a tacit ally, even more, of the U.S.A., John Paul 2 was much more discreet and silent towards the repressive government of Latin America: San Salvador, Chile (he honors Pinochet by giving him his blessing). In Nicaragua, he abstained from condemning the terrorist actions of the "Contras" and dismisses of their functions four priests who supported the Sandinista government.
An intransigent and retrogress Pope as regards morals, in particular on the use of condom, during the campaign of the fight against AIDS. This strong line was severely criticized by progressive Catholics.
A great re-evangelist, spreading the fine words of the so-called "universal" religion to the four corners of the world.
A confiscator of youth omitting, with the complicity of press and especially of television, the C of Catholic that ought to be added to the WYD (Catholic ... World Youth Day).
Ill and tired, he has carried on his mission compelling admiration if his faithful.
But, why didn't he take a well deserved retirement?
Was it to leave nothing to chance for a faster canonization?
Was it to give the example to an ageing clergy that is no more renewed?
Was it to delay the splitting up of a Catholic Church torn between several opposed trends?
Catholics weep for their leader. Their disarray is real and comprehensible. It is the risk when one lets oneself be charmed by the charisma of a man and that one relies on him or on the authority that he represents for giving a sense to one’s life.