Father of Polish origin born in Wadowice (to the SO of Krakow) on May 18, 1920 and died in the Vatican on April 2, 2005. His birth name was Karol Wojtyla Józef. It was the first non-Italian Pope in 456 years. His doctrinal statements and his travels around the world (was known as "the Pope traveller") contributed to enhance the importance of his figure inside and outside of the Catholic Church.
Formed in his childhood and early youth in his hometown, in 1938 he/she moved to Krakow to start their university studies, with a clear penchant for the humanities. However, by the start of the second world war only he/she could complete a course. The German occupation of Poland forced him to work as a laborer in a stone quarry. In 1942 he/she discovered his vocation to the priesthood and began its preparation in hiding. Ordained in 1946, he/she gained his doctorate in 1948 in Rome. Again in Poland he/she began his pastoral dedication in a rural parish and in Krakow before giving lessons at the Jagiellonian University and at the Lublin. In 1958 he/she was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Krakow, and in 1963 Archbishop of this same venue. He/She participated actively in the sessions of the Second Vatican Council, and in 1967 he/she was appointed Cardinal. In October 1978 was elected Pope, the first non-Italian from century XVI. Since then, in a long and dynamic pontificate of twenty-six years, he/she devoted himself to an intense pastoral work, sometimes with political and social implications, through numerous documents (encyclicals and others), speeches, travel to all corners of the world, meetings with world figures, ecclesiastical assemblies, etc.
He was the son of Karol Wojtyla and Emilia Kaczorowska. His father had served in the Austro-Hungarian Army (see: Austro-Hungarian Empire) until the end of the first world war, when Poland regained its independence and is recreated Polish Army, where he/she continued to serve as a non-commissioned officer. Karol son, named carinosametne Lolek by their relatives and acquaintances, had two brothers: Edmund, greater than he/she and doctor by profession, and Olga's short life. His mother died in 1929 and three years later died his brother, who had contracted scarlet fever at the hospital where he/she worked. He/She studied high school at Wadowice Institute; already by then, reflective but cheerful and very sporty, highlighted by its ease of writing and learning of languages (latin and Greek at this time). He/She published articles and poems in some weeklies. In general obtained excellent grades, and graduated in 1938. Deeply religious, he/she was spiritually led by their pastor, and belonged to the Marian brotherhood. His friendship with several boys Jewish, belonging to the large Jewish community of the place is noteworthy this time of youth.
In June 1938 he/she entered the Faculty of philosophy and letters of the Jagiellonian University, in Kraków, for studying Polish Philology. That city was living then, together with his father. Already then it was known in some Polish intellectual circles, and looked for him a great future in the culture. He/She attended the parish church of San Estanislao Kostka, Salesians, who acquired the veneration by María Auxiliadora in Krakow. However, only he/she could receive classes during a course, because world war broke out at the end of the summer of the following year. Poland was quickly invaded by Germany, study centres were closed and Karol, as all adult men, was forced to work. He/She did so in a quarry in stone, the Solvay chemical dependent. However, before this work claims it completely, still could meet in secret with other University, belong to the word Viva La Theatre Group and compose poems and plays. In February 1941, when he/she was returning home from the quarry, found dead at his father.
In the autumn of 1942, fruit of their conversations with Jan Tyranowsky tailor (which made the times of spiritual director after the deportation of the Salesians of St. Stanislaus), discovered his vocation to the priesthood and entered the clandestine Seminary organized by the Krakow cardenal-arzobispo, Stefan Sapieha. Secretly performed the necessary studies after his day's work at the quarry, with the risk of being shot or deported if discovered. In the autumn of 1944, a few months after moving to live in the Archbishop's Palace, he/she received minor orders. In 1945, when the Germans abandoned Kraków, he/she could resume his university training, now on the Faculty of theology. A year later, the one of November 1946, at the age of twenty-six, he/she was ordained by Sapieha before what was usual, as the cardinal wanted to send him to Rome to complete studies. His first mass celebrated it the next day in the crypt of San Leonardo in the Cathedral.
Shortly after he/she went to Rome and entered the University of the Angelicum, governed by Dominicans. Here he/she had a close relationship with father Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange. In June 1948 he/she defended his doctoral thesis on San Juan de la Cruz, and shortly afterwards returned to Poland, where it began to do with power Polish Communist parties (the Polish people's Republic was proclaimed in 1952). Karol was assigned as coadjutor to the rural parish of Niegowici (in the region of Krakow), where he/she stayed for seven months. Then it was also coadjutor in the parish of St. Florián, Krakow, devoted with intensity to the Campus Ministry, task in which won easily to young people who attended, given its expansive character at the time as comprehensive. He/She was also Professor of ethics at the Jagiellonian University, and then, from 1956, at the Catholic University of Lublin, where he/she was also very appreciated by his students.
In July 1958 he/she was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Krakow: for his shield he/she chose the motto Totus tuus ('yours'), symbol of his consecration to María, the mother of God. Since the incumbent, Archbishop Baziak was older, he/she had performed much of the pastoral work of the diocese, what not prevented him from publishing some books of theatre and thought (among them, love and responsibility). In 1962, on the death of Archbishop Baziak, was elected vicar capitular, and in December 1963 (at the age of forty-three), Archbishop of Krakow. Then they celebrated Vatican II, whose session had already attended even before his appointment. Their interventions had impressed the listeners. That same month, he/she made a pilgrimage to the Holy land. Then he/she had great activity sessions third and fourth of the Council, in the years 1964 and 1965; He/She worked in the drafting of the Declaration reconciling on religious freedom.
Thus, throughout Poland and in the European ecclesiastical environments, started to be well known. On June 28, 1967, at the age of forty-seven, he/she was named Cardinal by Pope Paul VI. In 1969 he/she published a philosophical book, person and Act, where collected his anthropological conception. His pastoral and intellectual activity was very large, with long hours of work and numerous projects in which the cultivation of the life of faith and religious education was a priority. But nonetheless it neglected the cultural world. The Archdiocese of Krakow was without a doubt, the most important religious focus of Poland then. He/She showed great firmness to the difficulties which put the Communist authorities; in 1970 he/she condemned repression, with numerous deaths by the army, the workers of Gdansk, protesting high prices.
In the early 1970s he/she continued with the same line of pastoral work (such as the Foundation of the Institute of the family and of the project SOS, Cardinal Wojtyla) and intellectual (worked closely with Pablo VI in the promulgation of the Encyclical Humanae Vitae). As a sign of appreciation that you had in Rome, in 1976 he/she gave spiritual exercises to the own Pope and the Curia; meditations he/she preached were later published with the title of a sign of contradiction. In August 1978, he/she participated in the conclave that elected as Pope Juan Paul I to the cardinal Albino Luciani. Thirty-three days later it died suddenly.
The new caucus that convened chose him on October 16, 1978. 263 successor of San Pedro was also the first non-Italian Pope since 1523 (Dutch Adriano VI), and adopted the name of Juan Pablo II, in recognition of his predecessor and Pablo VI. Dynamic man and good Communicator, who always liked dealing with people, already on the same day of your choice ended with a formal tradition of centuries, that the new Pope was limited to having met people in the Plaza de San Pedro in his blessing in latin. Juan Pablo II, on the other hand, in a gesture of approach gave a small speech in a conversational tone and in Italian. On October 22 he/she inaugurated his Ministry, and a few days later entrusted it to the Virgin María at the shrine of Mentorella. At the beginning of the following month made the same moving to the shrines of Italy, san Francisco (in Assisi) patterns and santa Catalina de Siena (Santa María sopra Minerva, Rome). November 12 took possession, as Bishop of Rome, in the basilica of San Juan de Letran, December 3 visited for the first time as Pope a Roman parish.
Very soon, in the commemoration of the thirtieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of human rights, requested the religious freedom for all; on subsequent occasions I would stress this point with the mind set on the situation of Christians in the Communist countries of Eastern Europe. In late December he/she sent a mediator to the album border conflict. In early 1979, he/she made his first pastoral trip outside Italy, to Santo Domingo, Mexico and Islands Bahamas, something that would be constant, with several annual trips frequently, during all of his pontificate. March 15 published the first encyclical, Redemptor hominis, about Jesus Christ. In April he/she appointed Agostino Casaroli as Secretary of State and prefect of the Council for the public affairs of the Church. In June, after visiting his homeland, where virtually throughout the country was awaiting him, held his first Consistory, in which fourteen new cardinals appointed.
To enhance its position as pastor, Friday's 1980 confessed to the faithful who wished in the basilica of San Pedro, a practice that, in future, repeated in many other occasions. In early may, he/she made his first pastoral trip to Africa, several countries in the Centre of the continent. At the end of September it closed its first Synod of bishops, which reflected on the family. Already in December published his second encyclical, Dives in mercy (on the mercy of Dios Padre) and proclaimed co-patrons of Europe, with Saint Benedict of Nursia, evangelisers of the Slavs, Cyril and Methodius, sign of ecumenicity and approach to the Orthodox Church, another of the portrayal notes of his pontificate.
In February 1981 he/she received a representation of the Polish trade union Solidarnosc, and then began his first pastoral visit to Asia, in a long journey that turned to the world. On 13 may, on the feast of our Lady of Fatima, during a public audience in the Plaza de San Pedro, he/she was shot by the Turk Mehmet Alí Agca. In serious condition and having lost much blood, was operated for several hours at the Gemelli polyclinic in Rome, where he/she remained several days; an infection in June forced to have a second operation at the beginning of August. A few days later he/she returned to the Vatican. The following month he/she published his third encyclical Laborem Exercens on human work. In November the German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger appointed Prefect of the Congregation for the doctrine of the faith and in December had a meeting with Roman Lutherans.
In 1982, he/she visited the sanctuary of Fatima, in Portugal, on the anniversary of the attack, and in gratitude for having saved the life from 12 to 15 May. On the occasion of the war of the Malvinas between the United Kingdom and Argentina took a double trip to both countries, the first from 28 May to 2 June and the second from 10 to 13 June. On October 10 he/she canonized the Polish priest Maximiliano Kolbe, who died in Auschwitz during the Seguna Guerra Mundial after you change the position of execution by another prisoner. Last trip in a year very full of them, as he/she toured much of Spain in ten intense days, from October 31 to November 9. At the end of the month was personal prelature Opus Dei.
In January 1983, by the Apostolic Constitution Sacrae Disciplinae Leges, it promulgated a new code of Canon law. A few days later he/she appointed eighteen Cardinals in his second consistory. On 27 December he/she visited in prison to the author of the 1981 attack, Alí Agca. On February 18, 1984 signed a new Concordat between the Holy See and Italy, while in April it began the renovation of various offices of the Roman curia (the African Cardinal Bernardin Gantin was appointed Prefect of the Congregation of bishops and the French Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, President of the Council for Justice and peace). In may he/she toured countries of far East and Oceania (for the first time). At the beginning of June condemned, through the Congregation for the doctrine of the faith, the theology of liberation. Between 10 and 13 October was, after scale in the basilica del Pilar of Zaragoza (Spain), Santo Domingo and San Juan of Puerto Rico. In December, Joaquín Navarro-Valls was appointed director of the Vatican press room.
In March 1985 he/she had his first international meeting with youth (World Youth Day) in Rome. In may he/she went to Holland, Luxembourg and Belgium; on his return he/she chose twenty-eight Cardinals at its third session. In July it issued a fourth encyclical Slavorum Apostoli, on Saints Cyril and Methodius. Between January 31 and February 10, 1986, visited the India. April 13 became the first Pope to enter a synagogue, a gesture of inter-religious dialogue. In may published the fifth in his encyclicals, Dominum et vivificantem, on the Holy Spirit.
On March 25, 1987 he/she published his sixth encyclical, Redemptoris Mater, on the Virgin María, a few months before proclaiming a Marian year. A few days later he/she made another American journey to Uruguay, Chile and Argentina, where he/she assisted to the II day world of the youth of Buenos Aires. On 1 may he/she beatified Edith Stein, philosopher and funded religious who died in Auschwitz. In December he/she promulgated Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, his seventh encyclical on social issues (human development) on the twentieth anniversary of Paul VI's Populorum Progressio. In May 1988, the tenth of his pontificate, in the Vatican opened a reception centre which was entrusted to the missionaries of charity of mother Teresa of Calcutta. In June it held its fourth session, with the appointment of twenty-four Cardinals. In July tried to prevent, unsuccessfully, the separation of the followers of the French restrictive Marcel Lefèbvre. In September, he/she published the Apostolic Letter Mulieris dignitatem-on the dignity and vocation of women, another of his themes of care.
In July 1989 he/she reestablished diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Poland and was again in Spain, in Galicia and Asturias, to the IV day world of the youth of Santiago de Compostela. In this year he/she made a joint statement with the Archbishop of Canterbury and Anglican Primate, Robert Runcie. In April 1990, in the midst of the crisis of the Communist regimes of Eastern Europe, visited Czechoslovakia. In December, after accepting the resignation of Casaroli as Secretary of State, was named instead Angelo Sodano. In the Christmas of this year message appealed to peace to those involved in the war in the Persian Gulf.
The year of 1991 started it by posting its eighth encyclical, Redemptoris missio, on Christian missions. The first of may, just a few months after the promulgation of the eighth, appeared the ninth, Centesimus annus, on the social doctrine of the Church, on the centenary of Rerum Novarum of Pope Leo XIII. It held its fifth session, with twenty-two new Cardinals and 13 to 20 August was once more in his native country, on the occasion of the VI world youth day at the Marian shrine of Czestochowa. At the end of November and early December the Synod of bishops gathered to examine the re-evangelization of Europe. The first day of the year of 1992 recognized the Russian Federation, which was followed by the establishment of diplomatic relations with other former Communist countries (and Mexico) in September. On 17 may he/she beatified José María Escrivá, founder of Opus Dei. From 9 to 14 October he/she was in Santo Domingo to commemorate the V centenary of the evangelization of America and, finally, in a year rich in ecclesial events, presented the new catechism of the Catholic Church, written according to the conclusions of the Second Vatican Council.
The year of 1993, in a year very traveller, returned to Spain for the fourth time, from 12 to 17 June, and also United States him to preside over the 8th day world of the youth of Denver. In September, he/she was in the Soviet Baltic republics. In early October, brought to light his tenth encyclical, Veritatis splendor, about Catholic morality. In November, he/she proclaimed the opening of the international year of the family, subject to which, together with the defence of life, great attention has been paid. On January 1, 1994 created the Pontifical Academy of social sciences, shows his interest in the culture and Science (also has organized several years personal encounters with humanists and scientists at Castel Gandolfo). In February, he/she did the same with the Pontifical Academy for life. The month following wrote to all the heads of global state and to the Secretary-General of the UN, Kofi Annan, on the occasion of the preparations for the Conference of population of Cairo in September of that year.
In April it broke the right femur head and had to be operated. In may established a female convent of closing within the Vatican, whose occupants rotate periodically. In June he/she established diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Israel. In September he/she made the only trip this year, to Zagreb, the capital of the ex-yugoslava Republic of Croatia. The book-length interview made him the Italian journalist Vittorio Messori, crossing the threshold of hope, very sold worldwide was published in late October. In November he/she published the Apostolic Letter Tertio Millennio Adveniente, in preparation of the Jubilee of the year 2000, and created 30 Cardinals at its sixth session (December).
In January 1995 he/she travelled to Manila (Philippines), for the X world youth day). At the end of March published his 11th encyclical, Evangelium vitae, about the value of human life, which was followed two months later the twelfth, Ut unum sint, focused on ecumenism. In Belgium, in June, beatified priest Damian de Veuster, the so-called Apostle of the lepers. In October, he/she attended the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations traveling to New York. At the end of March 1996 published the Apostolic exhortation Vita consecrata, devoted to the consecrated. In June he/she was in the reunified Germany, where he/she gave a speech before Berlin's Brandenburg Gate. In October it was operated for appendicitis; by then it was clear already physical deterioration suffered after the attack in 1981 and several operations, until then its athlete body had endured well. However, it did not perform the same or similar activity that until then. Yet in 1996, in November celebrated his priestly Golden Jubilee with a mass attended by priests ordained the same year as he, 1946, and with the publication of one of his books, gift and mystery. Also opened then the three-year period of preparation for the Jubilee of the year 2000 a year dedicated to Jesus Christ.
In April 1997 he/she visited Sarajevo, punished capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina during the recent war in the Balkans. It was also a time in France (August 21-24), for the 12th day world of the youth in Paris. In October it recognized santa Teresa of the child Jesus as a doctor of the Church (the number 33 of the total number of doctors and the third woman) after Saint Catherine of Siena and Saint Teresa de Jesús. More than one month before there was death the Mother Teresa of Calcutta, very appreciated by Juan Pablo II. In late November he/she started the year dedicated to the Holy Spirit, in preparation of the Jubilee of the year 2000. In early 1998, he/she visited the Italian regions of Umbria and brands, devastated by an earthquake, after which was in Cuba from 21 to 26 January, visit that you aroused great excitement in the island itself and around the world; Juan Pablo II obtained from the Communist Government some samples of religious freedom. At the end of February held its seventh session (created twenty Cardinals), and in late April and early may, a Synod of Bishops for Asia. In July enacted his 13th encyclical, Fides et Ratio, on the relationship between faith and reason. In October celebrated the 20th anniversary of his pontificate. The Synod of Oceania bishops held in November and gave home to the year dedicated to Dios the Padre, also in preparation for the year 2000.
In January 1999 he/she was in city of Mexico and later in Saint Louis (United States) to close the Synod of Bishops of America. He/She interceded to Slobodan Milosevic to stop the war in Kosovo. On 8 may he/she visited his first country with majority of population belonging to the Orthodox confession, Romania; in Bucharest met with the Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church, Teoctist, and a multitude of faithful Romanian cried for the unity of the Christian Church. Another important step in ecumenism was the signing, shortly thereafter, of a document set with the Anglicans (there was also a joint declaration with the Lutherans in October). The Synod of Bishops for Europe, during which appointed to St. Catherine of Siena, Santa Brigida of Sweden and santa Edith Stein copatronas of Europe took place at the beginning of October. In November he/she travelled to New Delhi (India), which closed the Synod of Bishops of Asia, and to Georgia, another predominantly Orthodox country. December 24 kicked off the Great Jubilee of the year 2000, coming 25 to the opening of the Holy door of the basilica of San Pedro, then of the San Juan de Letran.
In the first days of the year 2000 began the celebration of different events Jubilee. To give a clear tone of Ecumenical Jubilee, one of them consisted of an act with the participation of members of other Christian denominations. Interreligious dialogue was also present: said to Abraham "father in faith" of Christians, common to Judaism and Christianity on the occasion of his pilgrimage to Mount Sinai (24-26 February). On 12 March published the document memory and reconciliation: the Church and the faults of the past and made a request and offer of forgiveness for the sins of Christians and injustices committed upon them. At the end of the month, from 20 to 26, he/she made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, taking advantage to calling for peace.
Throughout the year was celebrating the Jubilees of different human groups (workers, may 1; of churchmen, the 18th of that month, day also of his 80th birthday; of the prisoners June 24; bishops October 8; 15 families of the same month, etc.) and promoting signs Jubilee, such as permission to reveal the so-called "third secret" of Fatima (who announced the bombing of 1981), obtaining the pardon for Alí Agca, a meal with two hundreds of poor, and others. 12-13 may, shortly after celebrating "witnesses of the faith" of the s. XX, was precisely in Fatima, from 18 to 25 June; then the 43rd International Eucharistic Congress took place in Rome in June and, in the same city, the 15th World Youth Day (on this occasion also the Jubilee of the young), from 15 to 20 August, with the participation of more of two million of young people from around the world.
In September declared the Popes Pius IX and Juan XXIII, servants of God (the first stage of the Declaration of Holiness) and enacted the Declaration Dominus Iesus, the oneness of Christ saving. In October he/she canonized 120 Chinese martyrs and declared Saint Thomas more Patron Saint of politicians. In November he/she signed a joint statement with the Armenian Patriarch Karekin II, who visited him in the Vatican; in the previous months it had received back to Yasser Arafat and established an agreement with the Palestinian national authority. Finally, after celebrating Christmas with special intensity, it put an end to the Great Jubilee of 2000 with the closing of the Holy door of San Pedro (6 January 2001).
At the beginning of the year 2001 issued the Apostolic Letter Novo millennio ineunte, a program of the Church for the third millennium just begun. It held its eighth session in February and named the high number of forty-two new Cardinals and did enter into force the new law fundamental of the State of the Vatican. In March he/she beatified 233 martyrs of the Spanish civil war. In may, day 4-9, followed san Pablo travel traveling in Greece (Orthodox country), Syria (Muslim country, where he/she was the first Pope to visit a mosque to visit of Damascus) and Malta before returning to Rome. Then, at the end of the month, he/she met an extraordinary session to reflect on the Church in the third millennium.
At the end of October beatified together, for the first time, to a marriage, formed by the Italian Luigi Beltrame Quattrocchi and Maria Corsini. On 18 November he/she asked Catholics a day of fasting on December 14 in favour of peace, after the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington of September 11 and the war in Afghanistan. The 22nd emailed his apostolic exhortation Ecclesia in Oceania to the oceanic dioceses. In mid-December he/she made his pastoral visit number 300 to Roman parishes. On January 24, 2002 held a day of prayer for peace in the world on Assisi, with assistance from members of other Christian denominations and non-Christian religions.
His pontificate was the third longest in history. As a result and its intense activity, their statistics are very high in all aspects (writer and Spanish philosopher Julián Marías has spoken of the «magnitude of Juan Pablo II"in reference to its activity). He/She made 144 trips within Italy and pastoral 102 trips outside Italy, that visited most of the States of the world (129 of 226). However, could not fulfill his dream of visiting two countries of greater global significance, Russia and China. In the first case, although the civil authorities invited him again and again, Juan Pablo II them dismissed all by not having the blessing of the Orthodox Patriarch, Alexis II. In the second, it was the Communist Government which did not allow its entry.
He published 14 encyclicals and almost a hundred important magisterial documents, as well as to pronounce more than 3,000 speeches during his travels (public texts, other discourses, letters, speeches, etc., are many thousands more). He/She beatified more than 1,282 people and proclaimed 464 new saints. 201 new cardinals appointed in their eight consistories. The fifteen synods of Bishops which convened, six were regular, 1 extraordinary and special 8. It has been estimated at 16 million people those received by Juan Pablo II only in the Wednesday general audiences (over 1,000 since his election), excluding those present at their various events and trips in and out of Italy, which would raise the figure in many millions more. He/She received 38 official visits and hundreds of audiences with heads of State or Government.
The qualitative importance of his pontificate is harder to gauge, given that lack sufficient historical perspective. However, it seems clear his major role in the fall of communism in Eastern Europe; increase the international prestige of the Holy see as a promoter of peace; in the extension of the principles of Vatican II within the Church thanks to their broad teaching (including the new code of law Canon and catechism); the intensification of the pastoral aspects of the Papacy, or the Ecumenical advances (especially with some sectors of Anglicanism and Orthodox churches) and interreligious dialogue. He/She personally enjoyed great popularity among Catholics and non-Catholics respect, as demonstrated the warm receptions that was in his many travels, both the authorities and the population.
However, missed you not critics inside and outside the Church who accused him of excessively reformer (in the early years of pontificate) or too conservative (the last), especially in matters relating to abortion, sexual ethics or priesthood (ordination of women, celibacy). There were also references to a level theological bass (according to some theologians), populism (by media) or proselytizing (by some sectors of the Orthodox Church). In recent years, some of those critics reproached him, before his physical fragility, not resigned to the pontificate. For him, however, this wasn't a way to witness to Christ through their suffering and a call to value more the elderly.
Juan Paul II died on April 2, 2005 in personal dependencies of the Vatican, after two days in which was discussed between life and death. The Pontiff died wrapped up by several thousand faithful gathered in the Plaza de San Pedro. The corpse of Juan Pablo II was exposed for three days, which was visited by several million faithful from around the world, until finally, on April 8 was buried in the crypt of the basilica of San Pedro, in the place which had previously occupied Juan XXIII.
On April 19, 2005, after a conclave Cardinal Ratzinger lasted one day, was elected new Pope, under the name of Benedict XVI.
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