Pope John Paul II

Pope John Paul II on 12 August 1993 in Denver, Colorado
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John Paul II (Latin: Ioannes Paulus PP. II, Italian: Giovanni Paolo II, Polish: Jan Paweł II), sometimes called John Paul the Great, born Karol JózefWojtyła (Polish: [ˈkarɔl ˈjuzɛfvɔjˈtɨwa]; 18 May 1920, Wadowice, Republic of Poland – 2 April 2005, Vatican City), reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church from 1978 until his death in 2005. He was the second-longest serving Pope in history and the first non-Italian since 1523.
John Paul II was acclaimed as one of the most influential leaders of the 20th century. He was instrumental in ending communism in his native Poland and eventually all of Europe.[1] John Paul II significantly improved the Catholic Church's relations with Judaism, Islam, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Anglican Communion. Though criticised by progressives for upholding the Church's teachings against artificial contraception and the ordination of women, and by traditionalists for his support of the Church's Second Vatican Council and its reform, he was also widely praised for his firm, orthodox Catholic stances.
He was one of the most-travelled world leaders in history, visiting 129 countries during his pontificate. As part of his special emphasis on the universal call to holiness, he beatified 1,340 people and canonised 483 saints, more than the combined tally of his predecessors during the preceding five centuries. He named most of the present College of Cardinals, consecrated or co-consecrated a large number of the world's past and current bishops, and ordained many priests.[2] A key goal of his papacy was to transform and reposition the Catholic Church. His wish was "to place his Church at the heart of a new religious alliance that would bring together Jews, Muslims and Christians in a great [religious] armada".[3][4] 19 December 2009, John Paul II was proclaimed venerable by his successor Pope Benedict XVI and was beatified on 1 May 2011.

Early life
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Courtyard within the family home of the Wojtyłas
Karol JózefWojtyła was born in the Polish town of Wadowice[5][6] and was the youngest of three children of Karol Wojtyła, an ethnic Pole,[7] and Emilia Kaczorowska, who is described as being of Lithuanian[7] ancestry. His maternal grandmother's maiden surname was Scholz therefore Wojtyła could have had distant German ancestry.[8] Emilia died in 1929,[9] when Wojtyła was eight years old.[10] His elder sister Olga had died before his birth, but he was close to his brother Edmund, nicknamed Mundek, who was 14 years his senior. Edmund's work as a physician eventually led to his death from scarlet fever, which affected Wojtyła.[7][10]
As a boy, Wojtyła was athletic, often playing football as goalkeeper.[11] During his childhood, Wojtyła had contact with Wadowice's large Jewish community. School football games were often organised between teams of Jews and Catholics, and Wojtyła often played on the Jewish side.[7][11] "I remember that at least a third of my classmates at elementary school in Wadowice were Jews. At elementary school there were fewer. With some I was on very friendly terms. And what struck me about some of them was their Polish patriotism." [12]Wojtyła's first, and possibly only, love affair was with a Jewish girl, Ginka Beer, who was described as "slender", "a superb actress" and "having stupendous dark eyes and jet black hair".[4] On 13 April 1929, Wojtyla's mother died in childbirth.[8]
In mid-1938, Wojtyła and his father left Wadowice and moved to Kraków, where he enrolled at Jagiellonian University. While studying such topics as philology and various languages, he worked as a volunteer librarian and was required to participate in compulsory military training in the Academic Legion, but he refused to fire a weapon. He performed with various theatrical groups and worked as a playwright.[13] During this time, his talent for language blossomed, and he learned as many as 12 foreign languages, nine of which he used extensively as Pope.[5]
In 1939, Nazi Germanoccupation forces closed the university after invading Poland.[5] Able-bodied males were required to work, so from 1940 to 1944 Wojtyła variously worked as a messenger for a restaurant, a manual labourer in a limestone quarry and for the Solvay chemical factory, to avoid deportation to Germany.[6][13] His father, a non-commissioned officer in the Polish Army, died of a heart attack in 1941,[8] leaving Wojtyła as the immediate family's only surviving member.[7][9][14] "I was not at my mother's death, I was not at my brother's death, I was not at my father's death", he said, reflecting on these times of his life, nearly forty years later, "At twenty, I had already lost all the people I loved."[14]
After his father's death, he started thinking seriously about the priesthood.[15] In October 1942, while the war continued, he knocked on the door of the Archbishop's Palace in Kraków and asked to study for the priesthood.[15] Soon after, he began courses in the clandestine underground seminary run by the Archbishop of Kraków, Adam Stefan Cardinal Sapieha. On 29 February 1944, Wojtyła was knocked down by a German truck. German Wehrmachtofficers tended to him and sent him to a hospital. He spent two weeks there recovering from a severe concussion and a shoulder injury. It seemed to him that this accident and his survival was confirmation of his vocation. On 6 August 1944, ‘Black Sunday’,[16] the Gestapo rounded up young men in Kraków to avoid an uprising similar[16] to the recent uprising in Warsaw.[17][18]Wojtyła escaped by hiding in the basement of his uncle's house at 10 Tyniecka Street, while the German troops searched above.[15][17][18] More than eight thousand men and boys were taken that day, while Wojtyła escaped to the Archbishop's Palace,[15][16][17] where he remained until after the Germans had left.[7][15][17]
On the night of 17 January 1945, the Germans fled the city, and the students reclaimed the ruined seminary. Wojtyła and another seminarian volunteered for the task of clearing away piles of frozen excrement from the toilets.[19]Wojtyła also helped a 14-year-old Jewish refugee girl named Edith Zierer,[20] who had run away from a Nazi labour camp in Częstochowa.[20] Edith had collapsed on a railway platform, so Wojtyła carried her to a train and stayed with her throughout the journey to Kraków. Edith credits Wojtyła with saving her life that day.[21][22][23]B'nai B'rith and other authorities have said that Wojtyła helped protect many other Polish Jews from the Nazis. In Wojtyła's last book Memory and Identity he described the 12 years of the Nazi régime as 'bestiality',[24] quoting from Polish theologian and philosopher KonstantyMichalski.[25]

Priesthood
On finishing his studies at the seminary in Kraków, Wojtyła was ordained as a priest on All Saints' Day, 1 November 1946,[9] by the Archbishop of Kraków, Cardinal Sapieha.[6][26][27] He then studied theology in Rome, at the Pontifical International Athenaeum Angelicum, the future Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas Angelicum,[26][27] where he earned a licentiate and later a doctorate in sacred theology.[5] This doctorate, the first of two, was based on the Latin dissertation The Doctrine of Faith According to Saint John of the Cross.
He returned to Poland in the summer of 1948 with his first pastoral assignment in the village of Niegowić, fifteen miles from Kraków. He arrived at Niegowić at harvest time, where his first action was to kneel and kiss the ground.[28] This gesture, which he adapted from French saint Jean Marie Baptiste Vianney,[28] would become a ‘trademark’ action during his Papacy.
Pontifical International Athenaeum Angelicum in Rome
In March 1949, Wojtyła was transferred to the parish of Saint Florian in Kraków. He taught ethics at Jagiellonian University and subsequently at the Catholic University of Lublin. While teaching, he gathered a group of about 20 young people, who began to call themselves Rodzinka, the "little family". They met for prayer, philosophical discussion, and to help the blind and sick. The group eventually grew to approximately 200 participants, and their activities expanded to include annual skiing and kayaking trips.[29]
In 1954, he earned a second doctorate, in philosophy,[30] evaluating the feasibility of a Catholic ethic based on the ethical system of phenomenologistMax Scheler, a German philosopher who founded a broad philosophical movement which emphasised the study of conscious experience. However, the Communist authorities intervened to prevent him from receiving the degree until 1957.[27]Wojtyła developed a theological approach which combined traditional Catholic Thomism with the ideas of personalism, a philosophical approach deriving from phenomenology, which was popular amongst Catholic intellectuals in Kraków during Wojtyła's intellectual development. He translated Scheler'sFormalism and the Ethics of Substantive Values.[31]
During this period, Wojtyła wrote a series of articles in Kraków's Catholic newspaper TygodnikPowszechny ("Universal Weekly") dealing with contemporary church issues.[32] He focused on creating original literary work during his first dozen years as a priest. War, life under Communism, and his pastoral responsibilities all fed his poetry and plays. Wojtyła published his work under two pseudonyms – AndrzejJawień and StanisławAndrzejGruda[13][32] – to distinguish his literary from his religious writings, (under his own name) and also so that his literary works would be considered on their merits.[13][32] In 1960, Wojtyła published the influential theological book Love and Responsibility, a defence of traditional Church teachings on marriage from a new philosophical standpoint.[13][33]

Bishop and cardinal
On 4 July 1958,[27] while Wojtyła was on a kayaking holiday in the lakes region of northern Poland, Pope Pius XII appointed him as the auxiliary bishop of Kraków. He was then summoned to Warsaw to meet the Primate of Poland, Stefan Cardinal Wyszyński, who informed him of his appointment.[34][35] He agreed to serve as Auxiliary Bishop to Kraków'sArchbishopEugeniusz Baziak, and he was ordained to the Episcopate (as Titular Bishop of Ombi) on 28 September 1958. Baziak was the principal consecrator. Then-Auxiliary Bishop Boleslaw Kominek (Titular Bishop of Sophene and Vaga; of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Wrocław and future Cardinal Archbishop of Wrocław) and then-Auxiliary Bishop FranciszekJop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sandomierz (Titular Bishop of Daulia; later Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Wrocław and then Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Opole) were the principal co-consecrators.[27] At the age of 38, Wojtyła became the youngest bishop in Poland. Baziak died in June 1962 and on 16 July Wojtyła was selected as Vicar Capitular(temporary administrator) of the Archdiocese until an Archbishop could be appointed.[5][6]
In October 1962, Wojtyła took part in the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965),[5][27] where he made contributions to two of its most historic and influential products, the Decree on Religious Freedom (in Latin, DignitatisHumanae) and the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et Spes).[27]Wojtyła and the Polish bishops contributed a draft text to the Council for GaudiumetSpes. According to the historian John W. O'Malley, the draft text GaudiumetSpes which Wojtyła and the Polish delegation sent "had some influence on the version that was sent to the council fathers that summer but was not accepted as the base text".[36] According to John F. Crosby, as Pope, John Paul II used the words of Gaudium et Spes later to introduce his own views on the nature of the human person in relation to God: man is "the only creature on earth that God has wanted for its own sake", but man "can fully discover his true self only in a sincere giving of himself".[37]
He also participated in the assemblies of the Synod of Bishops.[5][6] On 13 January 1964, Pope Paul VI appointed him Archbishop of Kraków.[38] On 26 June 1967, Paul VI announced Archbishop Karol Wojtyła's promotion to the Sacred College of Cardinals.[27][38]Wojtyła was named Cardinal-Priest of the titulus of San Cesareo in Palatio.
In 1967, he was instrumental in formulating the encyclicalHumanae Vitae, which dealt with the same issues that forbid abortion and artificial birth control.[27][39][40]
Election to the papacy
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The newly elected Pope John Paul II stands on the balcony
In August 1978, following the death of Pope Paul VI, Cardinal Wojtyła voted in the Papal conclave which elected Pope John Paul I, who at 65 was considered young by papal standards. John Paul I died after only 33 days as Pope, triggering another conclave.[6][27][41]
The second conclave of 1978 started on 14 October, ten days after the funeral. It was split between two strong candidates for the papacy: Giuseppe Cardinal Siri, the conservative Archbishop of Genoa, and the liberal Archbishop of Florence, Giovanni Cardinal Benelli, a close friend of John Paul I.[42]
Supporters of Benelli were confident that he would be elected, and in early ballots, Benelli came within nine votes of success.[42] However, both men faced sufficient opposition for neither to be likely to prevail. Franz Cardinal König, Archbishop of Vienna suggested to his fellow electors a compromise candidate: the Polish Cardinal, Karol JózefWojtyła.[42]Wojtyła won on the eighth ballot on the second day with, according to the Italian press, 99 votes from the 111 participating electors. He subsequently chose the name John Paul II[27][42] in honour of his immediate predecessor, and the traditional white smoke informed the crowd gathered in St. Peter's Square that a pope had been chosen.[41] He accepted his election with these words: ‘With obedience in faith to Christ, my Lord, and with trust in the Mother of Christ and the Church, in spite of great difficulties, I accept.’[43][44] When the new pontiff appeared on the balcony, he broke tradition by addressing the gathered crowd:[43]
Dear brothers and sisters, we are saddened at the death of our beloved Pope John Paul I, and so the cardinals have called for a new bishop of Rome. They called him from a faraway land – far and yet always close because of our communion in faith and Christian traditions. I was afraid to accept that responsibility, yet I do so in a spirit of obedience to the Lord and total faithfulness to Mary, our most Holy Mother. I am speaking to you in your – no, our Italian language. If I make a mistake, please ‘kirrect’ [sic] me...[43][45]
Wojtyła became the 264th Pope according to the chronological list of popes, the first non-Italian in 455 years.[46] At only 58 years of age, he was the youngest pope since Pope Pius IX in 1846, who was 54.[27] Like his predecessor, Pope John Paul II dispensed with the traditional Papal coronation and instead received ecclesiastical investiture with the simplified Papal inauguration on 22 October 1978. During his inauguration, when the cardinals were to kneel before him to take their vows and kiss his ring, he stood up as the Polish prelate Stefan Cardinal Wyszyński knelt down, stopped him from kissing the ring, and simply hugged him.[47]

Pastoral trips
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A statue of John Paul II made entirely with keys donated by the Mexican people to symbolise that they had given him the keys to their hearts.[48]
During his pontificate, Pope John Paul II made trips to 129 countries,[49] travelling more than 1,100,000 kilometres (680,000 mi) whilst doing so. He consistently attracted large crowds, some amongst the largest ever assembled in human history, such as the Manila World Youth Day, which gathered up to 4 million people, the largest Papal gathering ever, according to the Vatican.[50][51] John Paul II's earliest official visits were to the Dominican Republic and Mexico in January 1979.[52] While some of his trips (such as to the United States and the Holy Land) were to places previously visited by Pope Paul VI, John Paul II became the first pope to visit the White House in October 1979, where he was greeted warmly by then-President Jimmy Carter. He was the first Pope ever to visit several countries, starting in 1979 with Mexico[53] and Ireland.[54] He was the first reigning pope to travel to the United Kingdom, in 1982, where he met Queen Elizabeth II, the Supreme Governor of the Church of England. He travelled to Haiti in 1983, where he spoke in Creole to thousands of impoverished Catholics gathered to greet him at the airport. His message, "things must change in Haiti", referring to the disparity between the wealthy and the poor, was met with thunderous applause.[55] In 2000, he was the first modern pope to visit Egypt,[56] where he met with the Coptic pope, Pope Shenouda III[56] and the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria.[56] He was the first Catholic pope to visit and pray in an Islamic mosque, in Damascus, Syria, in 2001. He visited the Umayyad Mosque, a former Christian church where John the Baptist is believed to be interred,[57] where he made a speech calling for Muslims, Christians and Jews to live together.[57]
On 15 January 1995, during the X World Youth Day, he offered mass to an estimated crowd of between five and seven million in Luneta Park,[51]Manila, Philippines, which was considered to be the largest single gathering in Christian history.[51] In March 2000, while visiting Jerusalem, John Paul became the first pope in history to visit and pray at the Western Wall.[58][59] In September 2001, amid post-11 September concerns, he travelled to Kazakhstan, with an audience largely consisting of Muslims, and to Armenia, to participate in the celebration of 1,700 years of Armenian Christianity.[60]

Trip to Poland
In June 1979, Pope John Paul II travelled to Poland where ecstatic crowds constantly surrounded him.[61] This first trip to Poland uplifted the nation's spirit and sparked the formation of the Solidarity movement in 1980, which later brought freedom and human rights to his troubled homeland.[39] Poland's Communist leaders intended to use the Pope's visit to show the people that even though the Pope was Polish it did not alter their capacity to govern, oppress, and distribute the goods of society. They also hoped that if the Pope abided by the rules they set, that the Polish people would see his example and follow them as well. If the Pope's visit inspired a riot, the Communist leaders of Poland were prepared to crush the uprising and blame the suffering on the Pope.[62]
"The Pope won that struggle by transcending politics. His was what Joseph Nye calls ‘soft power’– the power of attraction and repulsion. He began with an enormous advantage, and exploited it to the utmost: He headed the one institution that stood for the polar opposite of the Communist way of life that the Polish people hated. He was a Pole, but beyond the regime's reach. By identifying with him, Poles would have the chance to cleanse themselves of the compromises they had to make to live under the regime. And so they came to him by the millions. They listened. He told them to be good, not to compromise themselves, to stick by one another, to be fearless, and that God is the only source of goodness, the only standard of conduct. ‘Be not afraid,’ he said. Millions shouted in response, ‘We want God! We want God! We want God!’ The regime cowered. Had the Pope chosen to turn his soft power into the hard variety, the regime might have been drowned in blood. Instead, the Pope simply led the Polish people to desert their rulers by affirming solidarity with one another. The Communists managed to hold on as despots a decade longer. But as political leaders, they were finished. Visiting his native Poland in 1979, Pope John Paul II struck what turned out to be a mortal blow to its Communist regime, to the Soviet Empire, [and] ultimately to Communism."[62]
On later trips to Poland, he gave tacit support to the organisation.[39] Successive Polish trips reinforced this message and contributed to the collapse of East European Communism that took place between 1989/1990 with the reintroduction of democracy in Poland, and which then spread through Eastern Europe (1990–1991) and South-Eastern Europe (1990–1992).[45][49][61][63][64]

Teachings

As pope, John Paul II wrote 14 papal encyclicals and taught about "The Theology of the Body". Some key elements of his strategy to "reposition the Catholic Church" were encyclicals such as Ecclesia de Eucharistia, ReconciliatioetPaenitentia and Redemptoris Mater. In his At the beginning of the new millennium (Novo MillennioIneunte), he emphasised the importance of "starting afresh from Christ": "No, we shall not be saved by a formula but by a Person." In The Splendour of the Truth (Veritatis Splendor), he emphasised the dependence of man on God and His Law ("Without the Creator, the creature disappears") and the "dependence of freedom on the truth". He warned that man "giving himself over to relativism and scepticism, goes off in search of an illusory freedom apart from truth itself". In Fides et Ratio (On the Relationship between Faith and Reason) John Paul promoted a renewed interest in philosophy and an autonomous pursuit of truth in theological matters. Drawing on

many different sources (such as Thomism), he described the mutually supporting relationship between faith and reason, and emphasised that theologians should focus on that relationship. John Paul II wrote extensively about workers and the social doctrine of the Church, which he discussed in three encyclicals: LaboremExercens, SolicitudoReiSocialis, and CentesimusAnnus. Through his encyclicals and many Apostolic Letters and Exhortations, John Paul II talked about the dignity of women and the importance of the family for the future of humanity.[39] Other encyclicals include The Gospel of Life (Evangelium Vitae) and Ut Unum Sint (That They May Be One). Though critics accused him of inflexibility, he explicitly re-asserted Catholic moral teachings against capital punishment, euthanasia and abortion that have been in place for well over a thousand years.[39]

Social and political stances
John Paul II was considered a conservative on doctrine, and issues relating to sexual reproduction and the ordination of women.[65]
While the Pope was visiting the United States of America he said, "All human life, from the moments of conception and through all subsequent stages, is sacred."[66]
A series of 129 lectures given by John Paul II during his Wednesday audiences in Rome between September 1979 and November 1984 were later compiled and published as a single work entitled Theology of the Body, an extended meditation on human sexuality. He extended it to the condemnation of abortion, euthanasia and virtually all capital punishment,[67] calling them all a part of the "culture of death" that is pervasive in the modern world. He campaigned for world debt forgiveness and social justice.[39][65] He coined the term "social mortgage", which related that all private property had a social dimension, namely, that "the goods of this are originally meant for all."[68] In 2000, he publicly endorsed the Jubilee 2000 campaign on African debt relief fronted by Irish rock stars Bob Geldof and Bono, once famously interrupting a U2 recording session by telephoning the studio and asking to speak to Bono.[69]
Pope John Paul II, who was present and very influential at the Vatican II (1962–65), affirmed the teachings of that Council and did much to implement them. Nevertheless, his critics often wished that he would embrace the so-called "progressive" agenda that some hoped would evolve as a result of the Council. In fact, the Council did not advocate "progressive" changes in these areas; for example, they still condemned abortion as an unspeakable crime. Pope John Paul II continued to declare that contraception, abortion, and homosexual acts were gravely sinful, and, with Joseph Ratzinger (future Pope Benedict XVI), opposed Liberation theology.
Following the Church's exaltation of the marital act of sexual intercourse between a baptised man and woman within sacramental marriage as proper and exclusive to the sacrament of marriage, John Paul II believed that it was, in every instance, profaned by contraception, abortion, divorce followed by a 'second' marriage, and by homosexual acts. His beliefs were often assumed to be a rejection of women. In 1994 John Paul II asserted the Church's lack of authority to ordain women to the priesthood, claiming that without such authority ordination is not legitimately compatible with fidelity to Christ. This was also deemed a repudiation of calls to break with the constant tradition of the Church by ordaining women to the priesthood.[70] In addition, John Paul II chose not to end the discipline of mandatory priestly celibacy, although in a small number of unusual circumstances, he did allow certain married clergymen of other Christian traditions who later became Catholic to be ordained as Catholic priests.

Evolution
On 22 October 1996, in a speech to the Pontifical Academy of Sciencesplenary session at the Vatican, Pope John Paul II said of evolution that "this theory has been progressively accepted by researchers, following a series of discoveries in various fields of knowledge. The convergence, neither sought nor fabricated, of the results of work that was conducted independently is in itself a significant argument in favour of this theory." The Pope qualified this by noting that, "rather than the theory of evolution, we should speak of several theories of evolution." Some of these theories, he noted, have a purely materialistic philosophical underpinning which is not compatible with the Catholic faith: "Consequently, theories of evolution which, in accordance with the philosophies inspiring them, consider the mind as emerging from the forces of living matter, or as a mere epiphenomenon of this matter, are incompatible with the truth about man".[71][72][73][74]
Although generally accepting the theory of evolution, John Paul II made one major exception – the human soul. "If the human body has its origin in living material which pre-exists it, the spiritual soul is immediately created by God".[71][73][74]

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