The papacy has not always been the way it is today. There was always a sense of the leadership of the Bishop of Rome, but it took a long time for Christians in other parts of the Christian world to look on the Bishop of Rome as their papa. During the Middle Ages the popes became politically powerful, and there was even a sizeable country, the Papal States, that wielded considerable power in its time. It was only after the Second Vatican Council that popes stopped wearing the tiara, which seems to have symbolized their position as universal pastor, their universal ecclesiastical jurisdiction, and their temporal power. The papacy has always served as a sign of unity within the Catholic community, but within the total Christian community it has often been a source of contention. That has changed somewhat in recent decades under the impetus of ecumenism. Today there is a strong papacy guiding the Church and giving a strong witness to the values that are basic to the Catholic tradition.