We've put a couple pieces about the life of Pope John Paul II on the Wineskins website. Anytime my buddy Darryl Tippens writes something I wonder, "Why can't I think/write like that?" (There was also an interesting discussion yesterday on Greg Kendall-Ball's blog.) What an amazing man he was. It was hard to co-opt him to promote your own causes because he didn't fit into neat little American categories. He denounced the war in Iraq, capital punishment, abortion, stem cell research, birth control, and Western greed that tramples on the poor. I don't want to put a damper on his powerful influence for peace. AND YET . . . I just wonder what his legacy would be if he had forcefully led in a direct, honest, compassionate response to the revelations of sexual abuse from within the church's clergy. The sense of downplaying and cover-up was strong, wasn't it? I'm sure I have no idea how complex the issue was. But there was a chance to say that all records would be released, all predators would be removed, and all victims would be compensated even if the Vatican had to be sold to pay for it. Nevertheless, I hope my worst moment isn't the central topic on the day of my funeral. It's clear that hundreds of millions of people were impacted by his kindness, compassion, and intelligence.