John Paul II
Quite honestly, I did not, nor would I expect to. But what I did experience is the presence of the pope as, if you will, a character in my autobiography, present in the distance, active on the news, noteworthy in the world. In my lifetime, of all the popes of the past half century, only John Paul II and John XXIII rose to such a presence.
I remember reading of the death and funeral of John XXIII in Life magazine. The weekly picture magazine form, which nobody younger than I knows very much of in the fast flowing stream of time, did a better job of covering this recurring event than our fleeting electronic media ever will. I remember literally spending hours pouring over the magnificent still pictures, some as large as 11"x 14" (the old Life's size limit), not because John XXIII had much real personal meaning for me, but because the pictures themselves were, as always in Life, a glimpse into a different world.
We cannot so linger over CNN or Fox News today. I doubt if anyone would want to.
John Paul's death was a good death and his life was a good life. I can say no more and wonder if we really need to say more. Perhaps his flock, whom he did shepherd well, I think, can do so. Perhaps only they should do so.