He was an 84 year old man that had a good life traveling and living like a God among men, with a billion worshipers. If he really cared about his followers he would have stepped down and died years ago so the church could be properly managed by someone who can enact reforms more in line with the 21st century.
His death is probably a good thing for man in the long run. You gotta admit, Paul’s stance against birth control – even condoms – is pretty backward. We need a new Pope who doesn’t support STD’s and unwanted pregnancies. Richard Cohen addresses this point nicely.
The NY Times op-ed section had an excellent piece on his legacy. (Use dcbachelor/dcbachelor to log in).
But John Paul II’s most lasting legacy to Catholicism will come from the episcopal appointments he made. In order to have been named a bishop, a priest must have been seen to be absolutely opposed to masturbation, premarital sex, birth control (including condoms used to prevent the spread of AIDS), abortion, divorce, homosexual relations, married priests, female priests and any hint of Marxism. It is nearly impossible to find men who subscribe wholeheartedly to this entire catalogue of certitudes; as a result the ranks of the episcopate are filled with mindless sycophants and intellectual incompetents. The good priests have been passed over; and not a few, in their growing frustration as the pontificate of John Paul II stretched on, left the priesthood to seek fulfillment elsewhere.
Sadly, John Paul II represented a different tradition, one of aggressive papalism. Whereas John XXIII endeavored simply to show the validity of church teaching rather than to issue condemnations, John Paul II was an enthusiastic condemner. Yes, he will surely be remembered as one of the few great political figures of our age, a man of physical and moral courage more responsible than any other for bringing down the oppressive, antihuman Communism of Eastern Europe. But he was not a great religious figure. How could he be? He may, in time to come, be credited with destroying his church.