I remember, when he was first elected Pope, it was immediately after the previous pope had died after a very short tenure, and I wondered how long the new one would last.
I haven't agreed with all of Pope John Paul's opinions and decrees. I would like to see the Catholic church move in a more open direction than the restrictive path John Paul has led it down, in some ways. For instance, I think women should be allowed into the priesthood. Women have as much right to and ability for intelligent religiosity as any man. One has only to read the works of the women mystics to see this. There are many able Catholic women of today who might very much be interested in becoming priests. I think it is wrong to forbid them this path of devotion simply because of religious conservatism.
Despite John Paul's conservative views, however, I think he was a great man. More than that, I found him to be a capable, honest, and unpretentious man deserving of the deep respect he has earned. I am very sad to see him go; the shoes of this particular fisherman will be very hard to fill.