The mid-20th century witnessed the rise and development of media, and even the Catholic Church could not deny its impact. Pope John Paul II recognized the development of media as one of the greatest steps of progress made by the modern society. Whether television, radio or, internet, the Pope knew how to put them into best use. He was one of the most media friendly personalities of the 20th century.
In Italy, Pope John Paul II was known as ‘Il Papa Del Sorriso’ or, the Smiling Pope; and ‘Il Sorriso di Dio’ meaning God’s smile. Time magazine referred to him as the September Pope. As much as the Pope was interested in the media, the media too was bowled over by the Pope. Every international visit of the Pope became a media event and more people gathered to see him in person than would gather to see a rock concert!
Documentaries and movies have been made on the life of Pope John Paul II (especially from the time he was elected as the Sovereign of the Vatican to the last day of his life). These films narrated stories about this extraordinary man full of love and compassion and they succeeded in moving the toughest of hearts. The media pronounced him as one of the most influential leaders of the 20th century.
The Pope used the media to its fullest to get his message out to greater number of people all over the world. The year when John Paul II became Pope (1978) was the same year when instant global television was first made available and it received full support of the Pope since the very beginning. In 1987, 23 satellites linked him to 16 countries, where an estimate of one billion people watched him deliver ‘A Prayer for World Peace’. The Pope had also come out with his own music video where he was featured singing and reciting psalms and gospels.
Pope John Paul II Media Institute was set up with the goal of training Christians who have interest and skill in digital media. The Pope also urged the media to be evangelized. He had also authored of a number of books and publications reflecting his views and teachings through which he reached millions around the world. ‘Crossing the Threshold of Hope – Daily Meditation by Pope John Paul II’; ‘Draw Near to God – Daily Meditation by Pope John Paul II’; ‘The Gospel of Life – Evangelium Vita’, are a few to mention.
Pope John Paul II has left an impression on the world which will carry his legacy on for centuries to come. His statues have been carved in pure bronze, which are cherished and possessed by those who wish to feel the divine aura of this great soul around them.