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(RNS) Pope Benedict XVI never inspired the deep admiration enjoyed by his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, but Americans – and Catholic Americans even more so – still look favorably upon the soon-to-be-former head of the Roman Catholic Church.


  1. The only reason John Paul II outdid Benedict or any other pope in numbers regarding fame or anything else was because Vatican and hierarchical secrecy, especially about the sexual abuse of kids, was not yet fully exposed to show clear extent of how such matters are always managed from the Vatican. The Vatican still remains mostly mute about it. Yes, the bishops practiced cover-up, but no bishop acts in such matters without the full knowledge, direction, and approval of the papacy in the Vatican. Those who do, soon find themselves out of a job.

  2. PS: Remember also, John Paul II had great interest and a bit of experience in acting. He had a talent and obvious interest in “managing” crowds. Besides participating in the international sex abuse scandal, he sadly did not recognize when it was time to leave the stage.

  3. Such a “popularity contest” makes very little, not just light, of the papacy. Of course, that’s the unavoidable result of trying to maintain a monarchy, especially a religious monarchy, in this time. The church dresses for it. Their obeisance and rituals are remnants of such an antiquity. Oh, and don’t leave out the secrecy, the celibacy, all such unmaintainable oddities that go with attempting to live in today’s world, in any meaningful way, with such ancient oddities.