OpinionJournal: Henninger- "If in the 26 years of his pontificate, John Paul had received half the emotional or intellectual support for his message that issued from TV's screens the past seven days, the crude troops of new culture in the West might well have faced a counter-force. John Paul's politics may have won in the East, but they lost in the West.
And so it came to pass in beat reporting and liberal church circles that this pope--notwithstanding his affinities on the death penalty or economics or war--was described to the world as a "conservative." That is to say, he was ultimately an opposition political force to be kept at arm's length. It worked.
Until now. John Paul in death is proving a force equal to and possibly more powerful than what he was in life. Past some point this week it became clear that this pope's death was building into something else--a spirit moving in the room perhaps, whose ultimate effects and direction are hard to predict.
It is now estimated that several million people may have come to Rome, perhaps equal to its resident population. The Pope's funeral Mass will be seen world-wide by uncounted millions. And they will have witnessed a liturgy of an almost mystical beauty."
John Paul II