"Together we pray for John Paul for John Paul, our pope, I think especially we pray for his speedy recovery for his health situation."
As the congregation at Madison's Saint Maria Goretti Parish prays for Pope John Paul the Second Sunday morning, Father James Bartylla, of the Madison Diocese, explains the situation surrounding his current health concerns.
"The idea of service to God is you serve him as best you can, and even in the difficulties and sufferings you can offer that to the Father in Heaven, and so we're, it's kinda business as usual."
Bartylla adds, while Catholics should expect a transitional period in the event of the pope's passing, they should not expect Catholic content changes.
"It's a source of great comfort to know that the church, which has existed for 2000 years continues to go on, guided by the Holy Spirit."
"This particular Pope has been a polarizing influence between liberal and conservative Catholics." According to University of Wisconsin History Professor Jim Donnelly, the legacy of Pope John Paul the Second will be marked largely by his conservative pro-life views on contraception, abortion, the death penalty, and embryonic stem-cell research.
Donnelly continues, "And he'll also, I think, enjoy an unrivaled reputation as The Pope of the modern-era who did the most to promote ecumenical relations and, particularly improved relations between Catholics and Jews."
The professor also says the current Pope's appointments of bishops and Arch Bishops who agree with his conservative positions may lead to the appointment of another conservative Pope, but won't necessarily involve a conservative choice.
"There's a chance that we're going to see someone, perhaps drawn even from the third world, perhaps even from Africa, as the next Pope."
Donnelly says the Pope hasn't been a favorite of Catholic liberals due in part to his position on the limited roles of women and individuals in the church.