Pope John Paul ll passed away at dawn yesterday and returned to God. The Popes course of being an apostle of peace and reconciliation will make him be recorded as a great religious leader in world history, as well as in history of the Roman Catholic Church.
The Pope was the spiritual leader of six billion people, beyond 1.1 billion Catholic believers.
It could be seen as providence and a revelation of God that John Paul II, who was born in Poland where Catholicism is relatively less widespread, was selected as the Pope. He became the first non-Italian pope from a communist country in 455 years.
One year after he became the Pope, he visited his native country, Poland, and declared his support of Lech Walesas Solidarity movement, and around one year after his visit, communism fell in Poland.
The wave of democratization, which spread like wildfire, led the fall of communism in Eastern European countries and resulted in the end of the Cold War at the end of the 20th Century, which had lingered for over 70 years.
The Pope visited 129 countries on 104 occasions during his 26 years as pope and was a pilgrim who delivered messages of reconciliation and love in troubled areas, such as Palestine.
The Pope also personally practiced love by forgiving a Turkish pagan who shot him.
The Pope visited Korea in 1984 and 1989, and presided over the 103rd ceremony held for the canonization and the 44th International Eucharistic Congress and showed his special affection for Korea, a unique country in the world that was evangelized without foreign missionaries.
In particular, the Pope was a courageous believer who confessed the past wrongdoings of the Roman Catholic Church. The Pope publicly confessed to mistakes of the crusades, Inquisition and persecution of the Jews, and rehabilitated Galileo Galilei who claimed Copernican theory in opposition to the Church.
The Pope also accepted the seed of the truth in other religions.
About 2,000 years ago, on his way out of Rome, escaping persecution, Saint Peter met Jesus who was resurrected and asked him, saying, Quo Vadis, Domine? (Lord, where are you going?).
Saint Peter was shocked at Jesus saying that I will take the cross again for my sheep, went back to Rome, and shared his pain with the public.
After Saint Peter died a martyr, he became the first Pope.
Now, mankind should ask the 246th Pope John Paul ll who returned to Jesus Christ to practice, Quo Vadis, Papa? (Pope, where are you going?)