John Derbyshire has a different view of John Paul's life -- he admires John Paul's courage and rôle in defeating communism, but notes that secularism is on the rise wherever the cornucopia of material pleasures overflows:
So far as it makes any sense to predict the future, it seems to me highly probable that the world of 50 or 100 years from now will bear a close resemblance to Huxley’s dystopia — a world without pain, grief, sickness or war, but also without family, religion, sacrifice, or nobility of spirit. It’s not what I want, personally, and it’s not what Huxley wanted either (he was a religious man, though ofa singular type). It’s what most people want, though; so if this darn democracy stuff keeps spreading, it’s what we shall get, for sure. If we don’t bring it upon ourselves, we shall import it from less ethically fastidious nations.
In that context, the late pope will be seen — assuming anyone bothers to study history any more — as a rearguard fighter, a man who stood up for human values before they were swept away by the posthuman tsunami. There is great nobility in that, but it is a tragic nobility, the stiff-necked nobility of the hopeless reactionary. You might say that John Paul II (who, you do not need to tell me, would have pounced gleefully on that word “hopeless”) stood athwart History crying “Stop!” Alas, what is coming down History Turnpike is a convoy of 18-wheel rigs moving fast, and loaded up full with the stuff that got Doctor Faustus in trouble — knowledge, pleasure, power. They ain’t going to stop for anyone. Homo fuge!
Derbyshire has a point. It's not a criticism of John Paul, but a reflection on our age -- the heartland of European Catholicism has become secular, sterile, and apparently on the rode to dhimmitude.
Do we believe in miracles?