To be elected as pope is not the easiest of jobs, it fact it is one of the hardest jobs in the world. Firstly the line of popes goes back two thousand years, and to hold the office of pope is to be considered infallible in nearly everything that he does.
The pope bears immense responsibility as the leader and spiritual guide to the largest religion in the world with over a billion followers. Still the pope is still only human, so it is no surprise some popes have had a more successful tenure than others.
This blog looks at some of the popes who achieved the most whilst they were in office, and used their power to change the Catholic Church for the better. And not only did they influence their own followers but used the papal office to help shape human history.
Pope Francis announced that he was going to be a very different type of pope when he chose a name that had associations of being poor and asked the crowd that had gathered outside St. Peter’s to pray for him, rather than the traditional papal blessing of the crowd.
Due to the recent outcry against past scandals and corruption in the Catholic Church he could not have come at a better time. Pope Francis brought back the most important factor to his doubters and that is one of faith.
He has amazing humility, and concentrates on spreading the word of the mercy of God. His focus upon the downtrodden and the poor has elevated him to be one of the most popular popes in modern history.
His relentless work to bring different faiths together and to understand each other has enabled new bridges to be built by the different religions around the world and also to attract new members into the Catholic Church.
Pope John Paul II
The first Polish pope was elected in 1978 and was Karol j Wojtyla who chose the name of Pope John Paul II. He is still remembered as one of the greatest modern day popes and was dearly loved by his followers.
As a theologian he was without equal, and he pursued a complete reform and modernization of the Catholic Church. He changed old attitudes what the Church actually stood for, how it was created and what ideals it should have.
One of the most ground-braking things that he did was to write a public letter entitled, On the Dignity and Vocation of Women. In this letter he embraced womankind and elevated their status in the Catholic Church from one of second class citizens.
Pope John Paul II was also very instrumental in influencing the breakdown of the Iron Curtain. As somebody who lived through Nazi occupation of his homeland he witnessed first-hand the suffering and depravation that tyranny brought and worked tirelessly on the peaceful reunion of East and West.
It was rumored that Pope John Paul II was also the driving force behind the demise of other modern dictators. In part two of this blog we look at more candidates to be called the greatest ever popes.