The Pope's biggest dream was to unite all branches of Christianity
The Catholic Church will undoubtedly remember John Paul II as one of the most outstanding pontiffs in history. Very few of his predecessors could boast of winning such great authority as a pastor, a public figure and a politician.
John Paul's pontificate became the longest in the 20th century. Karol Wojtyla, Archbishop of Krakow, ascended the papal throne in 1978. John Paul II entirely dedicated himself to his cherished dream – to unite all branches of Christianity and create the joint Christian Europe. This is seemingly a utopian goal, but the Pope aimed all his efforts at it. John Paul II became the only Pope, who performed so many visits to foreign states: the Pontiff visited more than 120 countries. He became the first pope, who publicly confessed and apologized for inquisition and crusades. The Catholic Church reconsidered its attitude to Charles Darwin's works, rehabilitated Giordano Bruno and Galileo Galilei. The Pope became the first pontiff, who prayed in a mosque and in a synagogue. He also apologized for wrong deeds and oppression that Catholics have caused to non-Catholic nations throughout the history of the church.
It goes without saying that Pope John Paul II failed to realize his dream and unite all Christians of Europe. It was simply impossible. The Pope was unable to overcome the longstanding distrust between Catholics and Orthodox nations. In addition, the Pope did not have enough time for another dream of his – to visit Russia.
Despite all talents and advantages of the Pontiff, the Roman Catholic Church repeatedly had to face several serious problems. The recent scandal with pedophile priests in the USA has caused a huge damage to the reputation of the Catholic Church in the world. It is noteworthy that the Vatican was persistently rejecting the existence of the issue, in spite of the fact that similar scandals periodically occurred in Europe too. It is not ruled out, though, that the Catholic Church would have to experience one of the most serious crises in its history, if there were a different person on the papal throne.
The scandal in the USA did not damage the Pontiff's reputation. The Catholic Church cannot boast of having many popes, who enjoyed such great respect of the congregation. The successor of John Paul II will have to preserve the authority of the Vatican, in which the pontiff put so much of his time, efforts and energy.