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Karol Wojtyia -- may he rest in peace -- will be missed ...

Karol Wojtyia spoke upon being elevated to Pope John Paul II, "Be not afraid." Today the world is less well off with his passing on Saturday at age 84, may he rest in peace.

Pope John Paul II was the second longest serving Pope ever and certainly oversaw profound changes in the world since his elevation back in 1978. Then, there very much was an Iron Curtain with the Communist Eastern Europe divided from the modern liberal Western Europe. However, "as he never ceased to declare, Communism's core failure was not economic. It was anthropological, stemming from its false understanding of human nature."

"Karol Wojityla did not learn this from text books. He was old enough to recall how the twin totalitariasms of our age -- facism and Communism -- were each once lauded by intellectuals as the inevitable destination and promise of the future. In Poland he tasted them both, yet he remained unitimidated. This experience would shape his entire papacy, a testament to his conviction that moral truth has its own legions."

When told by the then current leader of Communist Poland that he knew how to handle this fellow Pole and new Pope, Leonid Brezhnev is said to have responded prophetically. If the church were not dealt with, Brezhnev retorted, "sooner or later, it would gag in our throats, it would suffocate us." It certainly did.

The Wall Street Journal editorial board (from whom the above quotes are taken) "do not expect the secularists who dominate our intelligentsia ever to understand how a man rooted in orthodox Christianity could ever reconcile himself with modernity, much less establish himself on the vanguard of world history. But many years ago, when the same question was put to France's Cardinal Lustiger by a reporter, he gave the answer. "You're confusing a modern man with an American liberal," the cardinal replied. It was a confusion that Pope John Paul II, may he rest in peace, never made."