He was the most traveled pope ever, the youngest pope in the 20th century and the first non-Italian pope in almost five hundred years. Pope John Paul II was the most recognizable man in the world.
When Pope John Paul died it didn't just affect the 400,000 Catholics in the Rockford diocese and the over 1 billion across the world, because Pope John Paul II’s influence was felt well beyond the Catholic Church. He often surprised people across the globe by speaking to them in their native tongue. Pope John Paul II was popular across many faiths not just Catholicism. His hard-line stance on controversial issues including birth control and euthanasia did draw criticism, but criticism was nothing he was concerned with.
Catholics often hear Pope Benedict XVI referencing the acts of Pope John Paul and his thousands of pages of papal writings. For many, this decreases the loss of such a globally loved man.