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A list of the best popes in Roman Catholic Church history?

Updated on March 14, 2013

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.

Apostle Peter

 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 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.


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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I agree with the Catholic translation but agreed this was a very nice piece with a difference of opinion. Thanks.

    • profile image

      zaldy alcantara 

      5 years ago

      Thanks God for he has given us another pope who is the most concern is the faith to our Lord Jesus. In this era of crisis of faith in the church we need to evangilize fully to the whole world. Man will easily full into sin without admonishing the the real truth and total happiness man can be from womb to tomb. He does not have the meaning of life when see's the real problem of man's of today every day we are condemn to death of our own problems and the problem others. Who will lead us in order not to doubt God in our life it is only the church. Thanks to the Holy Spirit always moving in us.

    • Knowledge>Power profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from USA

      If everyone could disagree as agreeably as you, this world would be a better place. Thanks for the comment

    • MarcAnthony profile image


      5 years ago

      I won't get into a big long thing about it, but here are the two traditional Catholic answers to the grammatical objection to the Catholic position on Matthew 16.

      1) We're looking at the translation in Greek. In Aramaic, the language actually spoken by Jesus and the apostles, the words "petros" and "petras" wouldn't be used. There was only one way to say rock-kepha. So in Aramaic Jesus is indeed using the word rock twice.

      2) I think, personally, that this is the stronger answer. In Greek, the use of the words "petros" and "petras" depends on the structure of the sentence and the preceding paragraph. In this section of the Bible the grammatical structure would not call for the word "petros", but rather "petras". The distinction is grammatical, not theological.

      Anyway, you were very respectful in your article and stated your disagreements with the Church cordially, so good job.

    • lizzieBoo profile image


      6 years ago from England

      Pope Pious X was pretty good. He recognised how Modernism would greatly harm Christian morality. He was right.

      Pope Gregory was surely one of the best.

      In terms of Peter as the first Pope, Christ said to him that he was the rock, in other words, the one who though perfect faith has become the keeper of absolute truth. Every Pope thereafter represents the keeper of absolute truth.


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