Pope John-Paul II passes away

Pope John-Paul II, the Polish pontiff who led the Roman Catholic Church for more than 26 years, has died aged 84…

Pope John-Paul II passed away at 8.37pm, on Saturday 2 April, amid an approximate 70,000 people praying for him in the Vatican City.
Led by his Cardinals, they were easing him on his ‘last journey’.

John-Paul II has been Pope since his election in 1978, and at that time, it was a radical, if not controversial move for the Catholic Church.

Though he was Archbishop of Krakow for more than a decade his was a relative unknown outside Catholic circles, and Krakow, was also hidden behind the ‘Iron Curtain’ of the Soviet Union.

He was initially a dynamic leader, travelling around the world many times, clearly making a mark we would expect of any political leader these days and rectifying any criticism of anonymity.

And though it could not be directly attributed, it is thought that the idea of a Polish Pope resonated among those within the Soviet Union as a sign of hope.

But over the last 15 years, the Pope has suffered from poor general health, most notably with Parkinson’s Disease diagnosed in 2001.

His outspoken conservative viewpoints on issues such as homosexuality, divorce and abortion, have been at odds with an increasingly liberalised Europe.

He may have presided over a period of decline in Europe, but in South America and in Africa and Asia, he has overseen the increased influence of the Catholic Church, and possibly this is because of his earlier interests in travelling to such places.

It is these views that have alienated many from the faith within Europe, but whatever his political stand-point, we cannot deny that he has made a great difference within the world, and for that he will be sorely missed.

The next Pope will be elected by the Cardinals, and many have suggested that the church will further attempt ‘controversy’ by appointing a non-European candidate from an area where there is increasing influence.