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A list of the best popes in Roman Catholic Church history?
There is a long list of popes. You have your Johns, Peters, Pauls, Pious, etc. But who was the most loved pope? As would be expected John Paul II is regarded on many polls and websites to be the best pope, but is this simply because he just passed away? Were there greast popes in times gone by. We want to know who in the history of the Roman Catholic church was the best Pope in general. Who led the people to be Christ-like? Who was the leader who made the most impact on the world in which we live?
We will outline three "popes" who made a difference in their lifetime.
Blessed John XXIII
Blessed John XXIII (pope from 1958 to 1963)
Pope John XXIII made various efforts during the Holocaust to save refugees from the Nazis. He was a great pope to the Jewish peoples. He was a great pope in terms of saving lives during World War 2 (before he became pope). Here is a list of his accomplishments:
- He assisted Jewish refugees who arrived in Istanbul and going on to Palestine or other destinations.
- Slovakian children were able to leave the country as a result of his interventions.
- Jews held at a Nazi concentration camp were liberated thanks to his intervention.
- He made a request to Bulgaria's king and saved the lives of Bulgarian Jews.
- Romanian Jews escaped Romania as a result of his intervention.
- Jewish prisoners held at the Sered concentration camp were spared from being deported to German death camps because of his intervention.
Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II (pope from 1978-2005)
John Paul is credited with ebing instrumental in the end of communism in his native land of Poland. He also decried the escesses of capitalism. His tenure improved relations with Islam, Judaism, and the Eastern Orthodox Church. In his time as pope, he visited 129 countries, which would explain his popularity. He spoke German, Polish, French, Italian, English, Spanish, Serbian, Portuguese, Russian, Croatian, Esperanto, and ancient Greek and Latin.
On January 15, 1995, he offered mass to over 7 million people in the Philippines. This event is thought to be the largest gathering of Christians in history.
Peter is thought by the Catholic church to be the first pope, based upon Christ's use of the word rock in Matthew chapter 16. The problem arises when you read the Bible in the Greek transalation (which it was originally written in). The word for rock Jesus used to say "upon this rock I will build my church is petras...as in the feminine article referring to a general idea. Peter's name was Petros, the male masculine form of the word. Jesus called Peter Petros numerous times, but never Petras. Jesus was affirming Peter's answer, saying "you're right Peter I am the Son of God and on that foundational principle will I build my church." Not on a man, a group of preachers, or a building, but on TRUTH.
However, if one categorizes him as a pope, he would have to be the best ever. He walked on water once. He saw Jesus die and raise from the dead. He preached at Pentecost. He was crucified upside down. Based on these and many other Biblical accounts one would see he is the real deal...but was he a pope? Personally I don't believe he was. Nor do I believe God ever expects us to lift up a human man. We are all sinners (Romans 3:23), there is non righteous. Pope is a title, that's is and that's all, but some popes have done a great deal of "good" and a great deal of "bad." Who the best was is really the wrong question. We should ask who served the people the way Christ served the church. After all at the last supper Christ warned whoever wants to be first shall be last. Those who would rule, should serve others instead.