John Paul II's Silver Jubilee

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photoTomorrow in Rome, 83-year-old Pope John Paul II celebrates 25 years as head of the Catholic Church. His goal he signaled early on was to cross every threshold, never be a prisoner of the Vatican. He has kept that promise.

The pope who skied has crisscrossed the globe for the past quarter century. He was the first pope to visit a mosque and a synagogue. He has been credited with a key role in the downfall of the Soviet Union. But critics of the Holy See call john Paul II a "fifth century pope" profoundly conservative in ways that have held back women, mishandled birth controls and gays, and has sustained a culture that led to the shocking priest sex abuse scandal.

Tonight, On Point: John Paul II, and the power of one pope.


John Allen, Vatican correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter

Garry Wills, author of "Why I am Catholic"

Kenneth Woodward, religion editor Newsweek magazine

This program aired on October 15, 2003.


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