Pope John Paul II dies

The pope died today after a long illness and complications. He ruled the longest period of the 20th century, some 26 years and was the first non-Italian pontiff in 455 years. He was known as the globe-trotting pope, traveling to more than 100 countries during his rule. The charismatic figure brought new energies to Catholicism, at the same time he maintained a generally conservative position on doctrinal and moral teachings.

It remains to be seen if the Conclave of Cardinals will elect another non-Italian. I suspect they may go back to tradition, but only when the new pope is announced after the white smoke rises from the Vatican will anyone know.

I’ll write later what the pope’s demise might mean for Brazil and our work here.

J. Randal Matheny

Be pithy.

What do you think?