The passing of Pope John Paul II, whose papacy was the third longest in the history of the Catholic Church and the only one many of us had ever known, has captivated the world.
John Paul II was one of the most influential people of the last century.
Throughout his papacy he demonstrated tremendous compassion for the value of human life, a virtue engrained through his roots in war-torn Poland. John Paul II encouraged the fight against communism and supported those living in oppression behind the Iron Curtain.
He oversaw the Catholic Church as it went through many difficult times, including the recent sexual abuse scandal involving a number of priests that has rocked the church to its core and continues to be dealt with today.
Other dilemmas included the AIDS epidemic, how the church would handle the issue of birth control and abortion, marriage in relation to the priesthood and the role of women in the church