- NAME: John Paul II
- OCCUPATION: Pope
- BIRTH DATE: May 18, 1920
- DEATH DATE: April 02, 2005
- Did You Know?: Pope John Paul II was the first non-Italian pope in more than 400 years.
- EDUCATION: Jagiellonian University, Krakow seminary
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Wadowice, Poland
- PLACE OF DEATH: Vatican City, Italy
- Originally: Karol Józef Wojtyla
- AKA: Pope John Paul II
- AKA: John Paul II
Best Known For
Pope John Paul II made history in 1978 by becoming the first non-Italian pope in more than 400 years.
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Pope John Paul II was born Karol Józef Wojtyla on May 18, 1920, in Wadowice, Poland. He was ordained in 1946, became the bishop of Ombi in 1958, and became the archbishop of Krakow in 1964. He was made a cardinal by Pope Paul VI in 1967,
"As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live."
"The great danger for family life, in the midst of any society whose idols are pleasure, comfort and independence, lies in the fact that people close their hearts and become selfish."
"Never again war! Never again hatred and intolerance! This is the lesson taught by this century and this millennium which are now drawing to a close."
"When the light fades or vanishes altogether, we no longer see things as they really are."
"People are made for happiness."
"True joy is a victory, something which cannot be obtained without a long and difficult struggle."
"The world you are inheriting is a world which desperately needs a new sense of brotherhood and human solidarity."
"Even a tiny flame lifts the heavy lid of night."
"Although I have lived through much darkness, under harsh totalitarian regimes, I have seen enough evidence to be unshakably convinced that no difficulty, no fear is so great that it can completely suffocate the hope that springs eternal in the hearts of the young."
"Man cannot live without love. He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in it."
and in 1978 became the first non-Italian pope in more than 400 years. He was a vocal advocate for human rights and used his influence to effect political change. He died in Italy in 2005. It was announced in July of 2013 that he would be declared a saint in April of the following year.
Born Karol Józef Wojtyla on May 18, 1920, in Wadowice, Poland, Pope John Paul II's early life was marked by great loss. His mother died when he was 9 years old, and his older brother Edmund died when he was 12.
Growing up, John Paul was athletic and enjoyed skiing and swimming. He went to Krakow's Jagiellonian University in 1938 where he showed an interest in theater and poetry. The school was closed the next year by Nazi troops during the German occupation of Poland. Wanting to become a priest, John Paul began studying at a secret seminary run by the archbishop of Krakow. After World War II ended, he finished his religious studies at a Krakow seminary and was ordained in 1946.
John Paul spent two years in Rome where he finished his doctorate in theology. He returned to his native Poland in 1948 and served in several parishes in and around Krakow. John Paul became the bishop of Ombi in 1958 and then the archbishop of Krakow six years later. Considered one of the Catholic Church's leading thinkers, he participated in the Second Vatican Council—sometimes called Vatican II. The council began reviewing church doctrine in 1962, holding several sessions over the course of the next few years. As a member of the council, John Paul helped the church to examine its position in the world. Well regarded for his contributions to the church, John Paul was made a cardinal in 1967 by Pope Paul VI.
In 1978, John Paul made history by becoming the first non-Italian pope in more than four hundred years. As the leader of the Catholic Church, he traveled the world, visiting more than 100 countries to spread his message of faith and peace. But he was close to home when he faced the greatest threat to his life. In 1981, an assassin shot John Paul twice in St. Peter's Square in Vatican City. Fortunately, he was able to recover from his injuries and later forgave his attacker.
A vocal advocate for human rights, John Paul often spoke out about suffering in the world. He held strong positions on many topics, including his opposition to capital punishment. A charismatic figure, John Paul used his influence to bring about political change and is credited with the fall of communism in his native Poland. He was not without critics, however. Some have stated that he could be harsh with those who disagreed with him and that he would not compromise his hard-line stance on certain issues, such as contraception.
In his later years, John Paul's health appeared to be failing.
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