Farewell, John Paul
The pope is near death. I believe that the modern Catholic Church is not the same church organized by Christ's apostles. Its organization and doctrines have been altered, and its spread through government establishment by Emperor Constantine is a good indicator that it was no longer led by revelation as it was under Peter, James and John and their fellow apostles. I believe that celibacy, emphasis on a nearly divine role for Mary, Jesus' mother, and its adoption of baptism by sprinkling are non-biblical and not from God.
That being said, I have always believed that Pope John Paul was a Christlike man, who tried to follow Jesus' teachings and principles, and that he was, though not a true apostle, was guided by the light of Christ. He became so by years of service and love for those who trusted him for spiritual leadership. The Lord moves in a mysterious way, and influences all of us for good if we truly seek to obey our consciences. He was not a prophet in the sense that Peter and the other apostles were, yet he eschewed the imperial Papacy of the Dark Ages, when his forebears behaved more like earthly rulers than spiritual men. He led with love, patience and example, and did not give in to the calls for changes in the church's doctrines on issues like gay marriage, abortion, woman priests and other basic principles that have survived from the true church. Now the pomp and discussion of Vatican politics will take center stage. We'll see the grandeur and worldly glory adopted by the church as it apostatized on full display, reminding us of the reasons for the Protestant revolt, which was also inspired by the light of Christ, even without a restoration of the authority of the early apostles.
Pope John Paul is receiving tribute and accolades well deserved. His kind and humble service to the Lord reflects the love of God that is poured out upon all who seek him. His influence in the collapse of the Soviet Bloc was to me an example of the arm of God bringing about change that we never thought was possible. I believe that he will be greeted with love by the Savior of us all.