Thousands keep vigil around the world, keep company with a hero of the century and of the Catholic Church. Just read the biographies, see the consensus that has emerged. A few of the gifts this great one leaves us:
The map of the world today is different today than it was in 1978.
Our moral language is different: "Be not afraid." "The culture of death...and the culture of life." The implications of recasting moral and political discussion in these and many more subtle terms raised, if it did not solve, the essential questions of our version of "modernity". The moral struggle will be fought on these Christian grounds, not on the muddy turf of modern secularism.
The Church is different:
--The runaway train of experimenters and dissidents has been slowed to allow mature reflection on the real legacy of Vatican II.
--The heart of the Church was inspired to a courageous renewal.
--Theological study and discourse found a new and fertile field and new rigor in Karol Wojtyla's philosophical contributions and in his profound writings as John Paul II.
--His mature example of leadership brought a certain peace to an uncertain and turbulent Church. A new generation of guides has been nurtured and brought to influence.