Pope John Paul II

Health
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The ailing Pope John Paul II riding in the Popemobile on 22 September 2004
When he became pope in 1978, John Paul II was still an avid sportsman. At the time, the 58-year old was extremely healthy and active, jogging in the Vatican gardens, weight training, swimming, and hiking in the mountains. He was fond of football. The media contrasted the new Pope's athleticism and trim figure to the poor health of John Paul I and Paul VI, the portliness of John XXIII and the constant claims of ailments of Pius XII. The only modern pope with a fitness regimen had been Pope Pius XI (1922–1939) who was an avid mountaineer.[148][149] An Irish Independent article in the 1980s labelled John Paul II the keep-fit pope.
However, after over twenty-five years on the papal throne, two assassination attempts (one of which resulted in severe physical injury to the Pope), and a number of cancer scares, John Paul's physical health declined. In 2001 he was diagnosed as suffering from Parkinson's disease.[150] International observers had suspected this for some time but it was only publicly acknowledged by the Vatican in 2003. Despite difficulty speaking more than a few sentences at a time, trouble hearing and severe osteoarthrosis, he continued to tour the world, although rarely walking in public.

Death and funeral
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(l-r): U.S. President George W. Bush, First Lady Laura Bush, former Presidents Bush and Clinton, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card pay their respects to John Paul II lying in state at St. Peter's Basilica, 6 April 2005.
Main article: Funeral of Pope John Paul II
On 31 March 2005 following a urinary tract infection,[151] Pope John Paul II developed septic shock, a form of infection with a high fever and low blood pressure, but was not hospitalised. Instead, he was monitored by a team of consultants at his private residence. This was taken as an indication that the pope and those close to him believed that he was nearing death; it would have been in accordance with his wishes to die in the Vatican.[151]Later that day, Vatican sources announced that John Paul II had been given the Anointing of the Sick by his friend and secretary StanisĹ‚awDziwisz. During the final days of the Pope's life, the lights were kept burning through the night where he lay in the Papal apartment on the top floor of the Apostolic Palace. Tens of thousands of people assembled and held vigil in St. Peter's Square and the surrounding streets for two days. Upon hearing of this, the dying pope was said to have stated: "I have searched for you, and now you have come to me, and I thank you."[152]
On Saturday 2 April 2005, at about 15:30 CEST, John Paul II spoke his final words, "Pozwólcie mi odejść do domuOjca", ("Let me depart to the house of the Father"), to his aides, and fell into a coma about four hours later.[152][153] The mass of the vigil of the Second Sunday of Easter commemorating the canonisation of Saint Maria Faustina on 30 April 2000, had just been celebrated at his bedside, presided over by StanisĹ‚awDziwisz and two Polish associates. Present at the bedside was a cardinal from Ukraine who served as a priest with John Paul in Poland, along with Polish nuns of the Congregation of the Sisters Servants of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, who ran the papal household. He died in his private apartment, at 21:37 CEST[153][154][155] (19:37 UTC) of heart failure from profound hypotension and complete circulatory collapse from septic shock, 46 days short of his 85th birthday. John Paul had no close family by the time he died, and his feelings are reflected in his words, as written in 2000, at the end of his Last Will and Testament.[156]
The death of the pontiff set in motion rituals and traditions dating back to medieval times. The Rite of Visitation took place from 4 to 7 April at St. Peter's Basilica. The Testament of Pope John Paul II published on 7 April[157] revealed that the pontiff contemplated being buried in his native Poland but left the final decision to The College of Cardinals, which in passing, preferred burial beneath St. Peter's Basilica, honouring the pontiff's request to be placed "in bare earth". The Mass of Requiem on 8 April was said to have set world records both for attendance and number of heads of state present at a funeral.[145][158][159][160](See: List of Dignitaries). It was the single largest gathering of heads of state in history, surpassing the funerals of Winston Churchill (1965) and Josip Broz Tito (1980). Four kings, five queens, at least 70 presidents and prime ministers, and more than 14 leaders of other religions attended alongside the faithful.[158]It is likely to have been the largest single pilgrimage of Christianity ever, with numbers estimated in excess of four million mourners gathering in Rome.[145][159][160][161] Between 250,000 and 300,000 watched the event from within the Vatican walls.[160] The Dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who became the next pope, conducted the ceremony. John Paul II was interred in the grottoes under the basilica, the Tomb of the Popes. He was lowered into a tomb created in the same alcove previously occupied by the remains of Pope John XXIII. The alcove had been empty since Pope John's remains had been moved into the main body of the basilica after his beatification.

Posthumous recognition
Title "the Great"
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Tomb of John Paul II in The Chapel of St. Sebastian
Upon the death of John Paul II, a number of clergy at the Vatican and laymen throughout the world[45][145][162] began referring to the late pontiff as "John Paul the Great"—only the fourth pope to be so acclaimed, and the first since the first millennium.[45][162][163][164] Scholars of Canon Law say that there is no official process for declaring a pope "Great"; the title simply establishes itself through popular and continued usage,[145][165][166] as was the case with celebrated secular leaders (for example, Alexander III of Macedon became popularly known as Alexander the Great). The three popes who today commonly are known as "Great" are Leo I, who reigned from 440–461 and persuaded Attila the Hun to withdraw from Rome; Gregory I, 590–604, after whom the Gregorian Chant is named; and Pope Nicholas I, 858–867.[162]
His successor, Pope Benedict XVI, referred to him as "the great Pope John Paul II" in his first address[167] from the loggia of St. Peter's Church, and Angelo Cardinal Sodano referred to Pope John Paul II as "the Great" in his published written homily for the Mass of Repose.[168]
Since giving his homily at the funeral of Pope John Paul, Pope Benedict XVI has continued to refer to John Paul II as "the Great." At the 20th World Youth Day in Germany 2005, Pope Benedict XVI, speaking in Polish, John Paul's native language, said, "As the Great Pope John Paul II would say: keep the flame of faith alive in your lives and your people." In May 2006, Pope Benedict XVI visited John Paul's native Poland. During that visit, he repeatedly made references to "the great John Paul" and "my great predecessor".[169]
In addition to the Vatican calling him "the great", numerous newspapers have done so. For example, the Italian newspaper Corrieredella Sera called him "the Greatest" and the South African Catholic newspaper, The Southern Cross, has called him "John Paul II The Great".[170] and many Catholic schools worldwide have been named after him using this title, for example recently renamed John Paul the Great Catholic University and John Paul the Great Catholic High School.

Beatification
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Beatification of John Paul II, on Divine Mercy Sunday 1 May 2011 for which over a million pilgrims went to Rome.[171][172]
Inspired by calls of "Santo Subito!" ("[Make him a] Saint Immediately!") from the crowds gathered during the funeral mass which he performed,[145][173][174][175][176][177]Benedict XVI began the beatification process for his predecessor, bypassing the normal restriction that five years must pass after a person's death before beginning the beatification process.[174][175][178][179] In an audience with Pope Benedict XVI, CamilloRuini, Vicar General of the Diocese of Rome who was responsible for promoting the cause for canonisation of any person who died within that diocese, cited "exceptional circumstances" which suggested that the waiting period could be waived.[6][145][180] This decision was announced on 13 May 2005, the Feast of Our Lady of Fátima and the 24th anniversary of the assassination attempt on John Paul II at St. Peter's Square.[181]
In early 2006, it was reported that the Vatican was investigating a possible miracle associated with John Paul II. Sister Marie Simon-Pierre, a French nun and a member of the Congregation of Little Sisters of Catholic Maternity Wards, confined to her bed by Parkinson's Disease,[175][182] was reported to have experienced a "complete and lasting cure after members of her community prayed for the intercession of Pope John Paul II".[90][145][173][175][183][184] As of May 2008, Sister Marie-Simon-Pierre, then 46,[173][175] was working again at a maternity hospital run by her religious institute.[179][182][185][186]
"I was sick and now I am cured", she told reporter Gerry Shaw. "I am cured, but it is up to the church to say whether it was a miracle or not."[182][185]
On 28 May 2006, Pope Benedict XVI said Mass before an estimated 900,000 people in John Paul II's native Poland. During his homily, he encouraged prayers for the early canonisation of John Paul II and stated that he hoped canonisation would happen "in the near future."[182][187]

In January 2007, StanisĹ‚aw Cardinal Dziwisz of Kraków, his former secretary, announced that the interview phase of the beatification process, in Italy and Poland, was nearing completion.[145][182][188] In February 2007, relics of Pope John Paul II—pieces of white papal cassocks he used to wear—were freely distributed with prayer cards for the cause, a typical pious practice after a saintly Catholic's death.[189][190] On 8 March 2007, the Vicariate of Rome announced that the diocesan phase of John Paul's cause for beatification was at an end. Following a ceremony on 2 April 2007 – the second anniversary of the Pontiff's death – the cause proceeded to the scrutiny of the committee of lay, clerical, and episcopal members of the Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints, to conduct a separate investigation.[182][188][174] On the fourth anniversary of Pope John Paul's death, 2 April 2009, Cardinal Dziwisz, told reporters of a presumed miracle that had recently occurred at the former pope's tomb in St. Peter's Basilica.[185][191][192][193] A nine year-old Polish boy from GdaĹ„sk, who was suffering from kidney cancer and was completely unable to walk, had been visiting the tomb with his parents. On leaving St. Peter's Basilica, the boy told them, "I want to walk", and began walking normally.[191][192][193][194] On 16 November 2009, a panel of reviewers at the Congregation for the Causes of Saints voted unanimously that Pope John Paul II had lived a life of virtue.[195][196] On 19 December 2009, Pope Benedict XVI signed the first of two decrees needed for beatification and proclaimed

John Paul II "Venerable", asserting that he had lived a heroic, virtuous life.[195][196] The second vote and the second signed decree certify the authenticity of his first miracle, the curing of Sister Marie Simon-Pierre, a French nun, from Parkinson's disease. Once the second decree is signed, the positio (the report on the cause, with documentation about his life and writings and with information on the cause) is complete.[196] He can then be beatified.[195][196] Some speculated that he would be beatified sometime during (or soon after) the month of the 32nd anniversary of his 1978 election, in October 2010. As Monsignor Oder noted, this course would have been possible if the second decree were signed in time by Benedict XVI, stating that a posthumous miracle directly attributable to his intercession had occurred, completing the positio.
The Vatican announced on 14 January 2011 that Pope Benedict XVI had confirmed the miracle involving Sister Marie Simon-Pierre and that John Paul II was to be beatified on 1 May, the Feast of Divine Mercy.[197] 1 May is commemorated in former communist countries, such as Poland, and some Western European countries as May Day, and Pope John Paul II was well-known for his contributions to communism's relatively peaceful demise.[45][63] In March 2011 the Polish mint issued a gold 1,000 Polish zĹ‚oty coin (equivalent to US$350), with the Pope's image to commemorate his beatification.[198]
On 29 April 2011, Pope John Paul II's coffin was exhumed from the grotto beneath St. Peter's Basilica ahead of his beatification, as tens of thousands of people arrived in Rome for one of the biggest events since his funeral.[199] John Paul II's remains (in a closed coffin) were placed in front of the Basilica's main altar, where believers could pay their respect before and after the beatification mass in St. Peter's Square on 1 May. On 3 May 2011 Blessed Pope John Paul II was given a new resting place in the marble altar in Pier Paolo Cristofari's Chapel of St. Sebastian, which is where Pope Innocent XI was buried. This more prominent location, next to the Chapel of the Pietà, the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament and statues of Popes Pius XI and Pius XII, was intended to allow more pilgrims to view his memorial.
Marco Fidel Rojas, the mayor of Huila, Colombia, has testified that he has been "miraculously cured" of Parkinson's Disease through the intercession of John Paul II. Mr. Rojas' doctor has certified his cure, and the documentation has been sent to the sainthood cause's Vatican office in a case that may move John Paul's canonization forward.[200]

Criticism and controversy
Main articles: Criticism of Pope John Paul II and Criticism of the Catholic Church
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In 1998 the Croatian war-time Archbishop Aloysius Stepinac (far right) was declared a martyr and beatified by John Paul II. Critics say that Stepinac was pro-Ustaše, tolerating the forced conversions of OrthodoxSerbs to Catholicism.
John Paul II was widely criticised, amongst other things,[201] for his views against the ordination of women and contraception, his support for the Second Vatican Council and its reform of the Liturgy, and his stance on the sanctity of marriage.[5][202]

Opposition to his beatification
Some Catholic theologians disagree with the call for beatification of Pope John Paul II. Eleven dissident theologians, including Jesuit professor Jose Maria Castillo and Italian theologian Giovanni Franzoni raised seven points, including his stance against contraception and the ordination of women as well as the Church scandals that presented "facts which according to their consciences and convictions should be an obstacle to beatification".

Child sex abuse scandals
Main article: Catholic sex abuse cases
John Paul II was also criticised for failing to respond quickly enough to the sex abuse crisis. In his response, he stated that "there is no place in the priesthood and religious life for those who would harm the young".[203] The Church instituted reforms to prevent future abuse by requiring background checks for Church employees[204] and, because a significant majority of victims were teenage boys, disallowing ordination of men with "deep–seated homosexual tendencies".[205][206] They now require dioceses faced with an allegation to alert the authorities, conduct an investigation and remove the accused from duty.[204][207] In 2008, the Church asserted that the scandal was a very serious problem and estimated that it was "probably caused by 'no more than 1 per cent' " (or 5,000) of the over 500,000 Catholic priests worldwide.[208][209]
In April 2002, John Paul II, despite being frail from Parkinson's disease, read a statement intended for the American cardinals, calling the sex abuse "an appalling sin" and said the priesthood had no room for such men.[210]
In 2003 John Paul II reiterated that "there is no place in the priesthood and religious life for those who would harm the young".[203] and in April 2003, the Pontifical Academy for Lifeorganised a three-day conference, entitled "Abuse of Children and Young People by Catholic Priests and Religious", where eight non-Catholic psychiatric experts were invited to speak to near all Vatican dicasteries' representatives. The panel of experts overwhelmingly opposed implementation of policies of "zero-tolerance" such as was proposed by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. One expert called such policies a "case of overkill" since they do not permit flexibility to allow for differences among individual cases.[211]
In 2004 Pope John Paul II appointed Bernard Francis Law as Archpriest of the Papal Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome. Law had previously resigned as archbishop of Boston in 2002 in response to the Roman Catholic Church sex abuse scandal after Church documents were revealed which suggested he had covered up sexual abuse committed by priests in his archdiocese.[212] Law resigned from this position in November 2011.[210]

Opus Dei controversies
Main article: Controversies about Opus Dei
John Paul II was criticised for his support of the Opus Dei prelature and the 2002 canonisation of its founder, JosemaríaEscrivá, whom he called 'the saint of ordinary life.'[213][214] Other movements and religious organisations of the Church went decidedly under his wing (Legion of Christ, the Neocatechumenal Way, Schoenstatt, the charismatic movement, etc.) and he was accused repeatedly of waving a soft hand on them, especially in the case of Rev. MarcialMaciel, founder of the Legion of Christ.[215] In 1984 Pope John Paul II appointed Joaquín Navarro-Valls, a member of Opus Dei, as Director of the Vatican Press Office. An Opus Dei spokesman says "the influence of Opus Dei in the [Vatican] has been exaggerated."[216] Of the nearly 200 cardinals in the Roman Catholic Church, only two are known to be members of Opus Dei.[217]

BancoAmbrosiano scandal
Pope John Paul was alleged to have links with BancoAmbrosiano, an Italian bank which collapsed in 1982.[90] At the centre of the bank's failure was its chairman, Roberto Calvi and his membership in the illegal Masonic LodgePropaganda Due (aka P2). The Vatican Bank was BancoAmbrosiano's main shareholder, and the death of Pope John Paul I in 1978 is rumoured to be linked to the Ambrosiano scandal.[91]
Calvi, often referred to as "God's Banker", was also involved the Vatican Bank, Istituto per le Opere di Religione, in his dealings, and was close to Bishop Paul Marcinkus, the bank's chairman. Ambrosiano also provided funds for political parties in Italy, and for both the Somoza dictatorship in Nicaragua and its Sandinista opposition. There are also rumours that it provided money for Solidarity in Poland. It has been widely alleged that the Vatican Bank funded Solidarity.[90][91]
Calvi used his complex network of overseas banks and companies to move money out of Italy, to inflate share prices, and to secure massive unsecured loans. In 1978, the Bank of Italy produced a report on Ambrosiano that predicted future disaster.[91] On 5 June 1982, two weeks before the collapse of BancoAmbrosiano, Calvi had written a letter of warning to Pope John Paul II, stating that such a forthcoming event would "provoke a catastrophe of unimaginable proportions in which the Church will suffer the gravest damage."[218]On 18 June 1982 Calvi's body was found hanging from scaffolding beneath Blackfriars Bridge in the financial district of London. Calvi's clothing was stuffed with bricks, and contained cash valued at US$14,000, in three different currencies.[219]

Birth control and gender roles
John Paul II's defence of traditional moral teachings of the Catholic Church regarding gender roles, sexuality, euthanasia, artificial contraception and abortion came under attack. Some feministscriticised his traditional positions on the roles of women, which included rejecting women priests. According to Aisha Taylor, coordinator of the Young Feminist Network:
The legacy of Pope John Paul II is vibrant and extraordinary, yet painfully inconsistent. The contradiction in his legacy lies in his teaching and actions on the dignity of women. John Paul II called for women to be included as decision makers in secular governments. However, when it came to bringing women into the decision making bodies of his church, he slammed the door in our faces, barring us from ordination and locking the door by stating the discussion about women's ordination is closed.[220]

Gay rights activists
Many gay rightsactivists and others criticised him for maintaining the Church's unbroken opposition to homosexual behaviour and same-sex marriage. During John Paul II's reign, the Vatican described homosexuality as an "objective disorder" and in his own book Memory and Identity John Paul II describes the concept of gay families as an "ideology of evil",[78] phrases which incensed many parts of the LGBT community.[221]

Problems with Traditionalists
In addition to all the criticism from those demanding modernisation, traditionalist Catholics sometimes denounced him as well. These issues included demanding a return to the Tridentine Mass[222] and repudiation of the reforms instituted after the Second Vatican Council, such as the use of the vernacular language in the formerly Latin Roman Rite Mass, ecumenism, and the principle of religious liberty. He was also accused by these critics for allowing and appointing liberal bishops in their sees and thus silently promoting Modernism, which was firmly condemned as the "synthesis of all heresies" by his predecessor Pope St. Pius X. In 1988, the controversial traditionalist Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, founder of the Society of St. Pius X (1970), was excommunicated under John Paul II because of the unapproved ordination of four bishops, which was called by the Holy See a "schismatic act".
The World Day of Prayer for Peace,[223] with a meeting in Assisi, Italy, in 1986, in which the Pope prayed only with the Christians,[224] was heavily criticised as giving the impression that syncretism and indifferentism were openly embraced by the Papal Magisterium. When a second ‘Day of Prayer for Peace in the World’[225] was held, in 2002, it was condemned as confusing the laity and compromising to "false religions". Likewise criticised was his kissing[226] of the Qur'an in Damascus, Syria, on one of his travels on 6 May 2001. His call for religious freedom was not always supported; bishops like Antônio de Castro Mayer promoted religious tolerance, but at the same time rejected the Vatican II principle of religious liberty as being liberalist and already condemned by Pope Pius IX in his ‘Syllabus errorum’ (1864) and at the First Vatican Council.[227]Some Catholics oppose his beatification and potential canonisation for the above reasons.[228]

Religion and AIDS
John Paul's position against artificial birth control, including the use of condoms to prevent the spread of HIV,[202] was harshly criticised by doctors and AIDS activists, who said that it led to countless deaths and millions of AIDS orphans.[229] Critics have also claimed that large families are caused by lack of contraception and exacerbate Third World poverty and problems such as street children in South America. The Catholic Agency for Overseas Development published a paper stating, "Any strategy that enables a person to move from a higher-risk towards the lower end of the continuum, [we] believe, is a valid risk reduction strategy."[230]

Centralisation
He was criticised for recentralising power back to the Vatican following what some viewed as a decentralisation by Pope John XXIII. As such he was regarded by some as a strict authoritarian. Conversely, he was also criticised for spending far too much time preparing for and undertaking foreign travel. The frequency of his trips, it was said, not only undermined the "specialness" of papal visits, but took him away from important business at the Vatican and allowed the Church, administratively speaking, to drift. Especially in South America, he was criticised for conservative bias in his appointments of bishops; with an unusually long reign of over 25 years, the majority of bishops in place at his death had been appointed by him.

Social programs
There was strong criticism of the pope for the controversy surrounding the alleged use of charitable social programs as a means of converting people in the Third World to Catholicism.[231][232] The Pope created an uproar in the Indian subcontinent when he suggested that a great harvest of faith would be witnessed on the subcontinent in the third Christian millennium.[233]

Protestant fundamentalists
In 1988, when Pope John Paul II was delivering a speech to the European Parliament, then-leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Moderator of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster, Ian Paisley, shouted "I denounce you as the antichrist!"[234] and held up a red banner reading "Pope John Paul II ANTICHRIST". Archduke Otto of Austria, the last Crown Prince of Austria-Hungary snatched Paisley's banner and, along with other MEPs, helped eject him from the chamber.[235][236][237][238] The Pope continued with his address after Paisley had been ejected.[235][239][240]

Medjugorje apparitions
A number of quotes about the apparitions of Medjugorje have been attributed to John Paul II.[241] In 1998, when a certain German gathered various statements which were supposedly made by the Pope and Cardinal Ratzinger, and then forwarded them to the Vatican in the form of a memorandum, Ratzinger responded in writing on 22 July 1998: "The only thing I can say regarding statements on Medjugorje ascribed to the Holy Father and myself is that they are complete invention."[242]

Bibliography