Papal witness

A philosopher pope in a media age
Pope John Paul II, the “pilgrim pope,” understood intuitively that his ancient office was perfectly suited to reach a global audience in a media age. He gave peace, justice and human dignity a personal face that was somehow perfectly suited to the times, while reminding people that those values are older and more permanent than the institutions of modern politics.

Presidents and prime ministers in sober, dark suits waited nervously for a word with the genial pastor in a white cassock because they understood that this pope could speak directly to their constituents in words that made a difference. In a nice variation on the fable about the emperor’s new clothes, an old man whose costume was medieval told the powers that ruled the world that they were naked, and all the people began to laugh.


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