While John Paul had many successes in his papacy, it can't be ignored that Roman Catholics are at a crossroads in their existence.
Over 60% of Catholics come from poorer countries where aids and poverty are epidemic. Only 7% of the U.S. are Catholic and Europe comes in at a disappointing 25%.
An editoral in the Toronto Star summed it up this way:
"There is pressure to come to a new consensus on matters of "Church governance," including addressing the shortage of priests, reconsidering celibacy rules for clergy, expanding the role of women.
Catholics must address regional issues such as the Church's dwindling appeal in North America and Europe, the rapid growth of a conservative Church in Africa and Asia, and the attraction of Christian evangelicals in traditionally Catholic Latin America.
There are delicate interfaith issues to consider, including Christian unity and Christian-Muslim relations, which are strained in some regions.
Finally, Catholics cannot avoid challenging moral issues including the growing north-south divide, biotechnology advances, homosexuality, birth control and the use of condoms to control disease."
The visible and non-visible Church of Christ must continue to work together to improve the lot of every man, woman and child on this planet.
Spiritual stewardship continues even after death. "As it was in the beginning, is now and ever more shall be world without end."
Pope John Paul's Legacy