A man to remember

Of all the tributes to Pope John Paul II, Charles Krauthammer says it best:

It was Stalin who gave us the most famous formulation of that cynical (and today quite fashionable) philosophy known as “realism” — the idea that all that ultimately matters in the relations among nations is power: “The pope? How many divisions does he have?”

Stalin could only have said that because he never met John Paul II. We have just lost the man whose life was the ultimate refutation of “realism.” Within 10 years of his elevation to the papacy, John Paul II had given his answer to Stalin and to the ages: More than you have. More than you can imagine.

History will remember many of the achievements of John Paul II, particularly his zealous guarding of the church’s traditional belief in the sanctity of life, not permitting it to be unmoored by the fashionable currents of thought about abortion, euthanasia and “quality of life.” But above all, he will be remembered for having sparked, tended and fanned the flames of freedom in Poland and the rest of Eastern Europe, leading ultimately and astonishingly to the total collapse of the Soviet empire.

“More than you have. More than you can imagine.” Krauthammer reminds us of the truth that lies beneath John Paul II’s first papal words to the world: “Be not afraid.”