We have just heard of the passing of Pope John Paul II on the radio. I remember when he ascended to the Papacy after the very short reign of John Paul I. i had been very underwhelmed by JPI, and didn't think his sucessor traking the same name was a very good sign. I thought it smacked of a lack of orginality and a tendency to look backward. I was wrong in this. over the years, I have come to respect John Paul II greatly, for activism against totalitarianism, his unstained reputation, his powerful intellect, and his fierce devotion to principles. I have also been severely disappointed that many of his principles were regressive, notably on birth control, female clergy, and celibacy, but I understand that these things were important to his view of the church. Like Churchill, he did not become the leader of a great institution in order to preside over the dissolution of it, and he has had more success holding the Church together and keeping it a vital power than Churchill did with the British Empire. Of course, only time will tell what his legacy will be, witht he Church still beset by many problems and many more changes in the offing, but I do consider John Paul II to have been one of the great men of the last half of the 20th Century.