frontline: pope john paul II - the millennial pope

pope with his arms raised
discussion:  john paul II's legacy...What will be his legacy for the Catholic Church and the world at large?


First of all, I don't think the Pope is as concerned with his legacy as you are. We don't build "Papal Libraries " the way we do for ex-presidents.

But as far as I'm concerned, his legacy will be the Gospel of Life, and his confrontation of the Culture of Death. His serene faith that we are "a peculiar nation, a people set apart" ensures that what the media says about his legacy doesn't really matter as long as they don't change his message.

Paul Cauchon
norfolk, va


Believe it or not, there is a "right" wing critique of JPII's papacy which states that he is leading the Church to ruin not because he is too conservative, but that he is not conservative enough.

While refusing to use his authority to discipline dissident theologians who preach heresies of all shades, he quashes the Traditionalist dissent from good Catholics such as the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who merely wanted to continue practicing the Faith as it has always been practiced.

In a word, the Holy Father is a tormented revolutionary king who on the one hand wants to preserve his authority and the integrity of the Church, but on the other hand, refuses to do what is necessary to accomplish this. He is in my prayers, and hopefully he will be guided by the Holy Spirit to lead the Church back in the right direction.

Arturo Vasquez
oakland, ca


His legacy will be that of a great holy man as the 20th century closes. But like all great men , his efforts to control where the church is going will not be accomplished. I think the church changes despite what any one man declares possible or impossible. The Catholic Church has survived many bad leaders and still the Body of Christ continues to move people towards God the Father.

I am still a greate admirer of John Paul II because of his incredible faith. That is what connects me to my God and my church.

las cruces, nm


I appreciated your balanced presentation of John Paul's papacy. In a era when many are looking for heros and heroines he stands out as one who's life is guided by faith and heroism. However, John Paul's legacy may also may be identified as a time in the Catholic Tradition that dialogue, mystery, search are somehow identified as suspect. There is a difference between confusion and mystery, saying and listening, dialogue and didactic. Christ left us with more questions than answers. The last of some seventy three questions in St. Luke's Gospel is " Do you have anything to eat? It is as if Jesus want to leave us with a querie on how we nourish our souls. Faith is a journey in which each of us must chart own own course with the guidance of God. We find nourishment in the journey. John Paul would drive the bus for us.

Jack H.
minneapolis, minnesota


For the Catholic Church, a legacy of trying to hold together a denomination split by various cultural fires burning all over the globe. Let it be remembered he isn't through yet.

For Protestants, depending on the Scriptural viewpoint, the demise of that movement, or inspiring the final thrust of finishing it's protesting mission before the return of the Lord.

For the world in general, well, it is down to the Vatican and the USA for ultimate influence on earth. The Vatican will ultimately win, perhaps in John Paul's lifetime.

Raymond Frigon
portland, maine


John extraordinary man leading the Church in this discordant and deeply troubled secular age. His burden is immense and I'm sure he asks himself every day why he was chosen to lead His flock. Many are called but few are chosen. He is the moral compass of the world today and charged with always keeping the spiritual fire lit between mankind and God.

In the future, I'd hope John Paul's legacy to the Church and mankind would be the antithesis to the philosopher Nietzsche's remark that "God is dead".

Rich Ujvary
kings park, ny


Doubtless, Pope John Paul II will be remembered as a towering figure in the 20th century. We are, however, in no position really to judge his legacy at this point in time. The one thing your program showed consistently is that he is a man of contraditions, whose ideas, policies, piety, and spirituality have brought about as much division as unity. When one sifts through the bulk of the romanticized hagiography that formed a large part of your production, one sees consistent threads of a frail human being who does not fully understand the times he lives in, and who nevertheless asserts himself in ways that delight some and distress others. History will judge the place of this man in the 20th century. At this point we cannot really say what that judgment will look like.

A. Mitchell
washington, dc


John Paul II's legacy will be the spiritual renewal of the world. He has continually warned us of the impending disaster that we are bringing on ourself while at the same time proclaiming God's mercy and love for us.

After we see this disaster clearly (we are seekers of unbridled pleasures which have brought about a culture of death world wide)we will remember his words and change our lives.

He is a true prophet.

Mrs Maureen Wiggins
lake view terrace, ca


This Pope's impact on the world at large will be eternal. Those who have been in his presence (as I have had the honor) sense something other-worldly, mystical, and genuine about this man and his deep, deep faith. He is not afraid of ridicule; he has a mission to accomplish and he is working feverishly to complete it. May God grant him a hundred years in which to do it!

Victoria Gennaro
mcadoo, pa


His legacy is simply the legacy of The Church, which is the Sanctification of human kind so that the work of Redemption can come to its perfection.

Federico Higuera
cobden, il


I believe his legacy will be the strengthening, or perhaps re-establishing, of spirituality in a world that immaturely is fascinated and distracted by wonders of science and technology. That world thinks is has found the handle to truth, but the "Millennial Pope" trys to cling to, and portray, the truth God communes to him -- and to all of us really. Witness the warden and his realization about the "death penalty". . .

Glenn Keiper
duncansville, pa


What came across to me in your presentation was how great this Pope is- because his values have envested life with meaning, with purpose, with dignity -this type of envestment being the purpose of all civilized existence. In this sense, he ennobles all of us, no matter who or what we are, and secure us in an infinite vision.

florence walton
coon rapids, minnesota


I believe This Pope's legacy will be to bring all religions professing a belief in God closer together in love and understanding. His restatement of basic truths will shine as a beacon to those drowning in relativism.Those trying to declare a democracy where they get to vote on right and wrong will continue to oppose this Pope's teaching which depends on God's will not the popular majority.

minersville, pa


During these difficult times of lost of faith, moral values and love I believe Pope John Paul II is a messenger reminding us the scriptures and the message giving to us by our God since ancient time. Love one another! If we were truly loving beings we would be incapable of harming anybody (neither physically, nor psychologically, nor morally, nor intellectually, nor spiritually.) John Paul II is holding the church together, its integrity and its values. And he is taking this message of God a step further; he is bringing it to all humanity, not only to the Catholics. He is reaching out in his role to save souls.

Carolina Sievers
houston, tx


The Holy father does not seek to leave a legacy behind. Please do not try to make him like the current President. He will be remembered for his authenticity! First to Our Lord as a child of God. Second for being faithful as the succesor to the Apostle Peter which the office he has been called to.Lastly, as Pope John Paul II The Great! A Pope who was faithful to and taught the Church and the world the true "Spirit" of the Second Vatican Council.

Tom Krug
edmond, oklahoma


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