Sunday, April 3, 2005

The Passing of Greatness

My friend Dimitri Cavalli writes:

I choked back tears during 5:30 Mass earlier when we prayed, "Eternal rest, grant onto him, Oh Lord..."

Here's something I learned last week. When John Paul II was elected in 1978, there were 563 million Catholics in the world out of a total population of about four billion. As of 2004, there were 1.1 billion Catholics out of six billion overall. Under the pope's leadership, the size of the Church has nearly doubled.

Growth has been strong everywhere--even in Europe (where there are 100 million more Catholics today than in 1978) and the United States, where the number of Catholics surpassed the number of mainline Protestants not too long ago.

How did he do it? He followed Christ's dictum, "Go teach all nations." He had a simple, uncompromising message, and millions of people, young and old, responded to it, leaving the elites puzzled.