I’ve had a great interest in all the Popes in my lifetime, odd, I suppose, since I’m not Roman Catholic. I thought John Paul II was an inspirational political leader, who helped bring down the Iron Curtain. I think he showed great compassion to the man who tried to kill him in 1981.
When I worked at FantaCo, and the Pope comic book came out in 1982, quite early in his papacy, we got so many people coming through our doors who had never been there before and never came after. I don’t know how many we ordered, but I sensed at the time that we could have sold twice as many as we had, at least.
But I just don’t understand the rush to beatification, a large step towards sainthood. The papal party line is that it’s happening because “the people” want it. This ignores those people who are less kindly disposed. I’m not cynical enough to suggest that it is the church’s attempt to divert attention away from the sexual abuse scandal by pedophile priests, about which JP was slow to respond effectively. But it IS a part of his record.