Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II was also known as Karol Jo`zef Wojtyla. He was born on May 18, 1920 in Poland. His papacy lasted 9,664 days, which was from October 22, 1978 to April 2, 2005. Pope John Paul II was known as the most traveled pope, the longest lived pope, most influential pope in the history of the Catholic Church, and most importantly the most influential leader of the twentieth century. Suffering from Parkinson’s disease, the young pope had to endure symptoms such as uncontrollable shaking, paranoia, and depression as well as many other health problems during his papacy. None of these obstacles, however, hindered the pope from upholding a successful and long lasting reign as pope of the Roman Catholic Church.
On May 18, 1920 Karol Jo`zef Wojtyla was born in Wadowice, Poland to Emilia and Karol Wojtyla Sr. Also known as “Lolek” by childhood friends, Emilia and Karol could have never imagined that their little boy would soon be known as the “most influential leader of the twentieth century”. Growing up, Karol lived in a free and thriving Poland, but this would soon be darkened by the death of his mother, who died while giving birth when Karol was only nine years old. This tragedy was soon followed by the death of his older brother, Edmund, who had studied to be a doctor, in 1932. These two tragic events that occurred early in the pope’s life, although hard for a young child to go through, would be no indication of the great opportunities available to him and the huge accomplishments he would accomplish many years later. This polish boy would later be famous for being the most influential pope in the Catholic Church’s history, be known as the most traveled pope, the most accomplished pope, and whose funeral would be recorded as the most mournful ceremony in the history of the world.
When it came to a good education, Karol Wojtyla stopped at nothing, not even the closing of his university, to get it. Despite the death of his mother and older brother, Karol and his father, Karol Sr., decided to remain in Wadowice, Poland to allow Karol to receive the best education possible. While being raised solely by his father, Karol attended high school at Martin Wadowita High School and graduated in 1937. Because he knew that a quality education was necessary for a strong future, Karol Wojtyla worked diligently and graduated at the top of his high school graduating class, despite poverty and many other hardships he was forced to endure. After graduating high school, Karol Wojtyla continues to further his education by enrolling in university. His university of choice was Krakow’s Jagiellonian University, where he enrolled in 1938. After only one short year of attending Jagiellonian Unversity, Hitler’s Nazi army closed the university, forcing Karol to leave his school and flee to a different country with his father, where he had to work in a quarry and chemical factory, to avoid being sent to a death camp in Germany. As said by Pope John Paul II, “War should belong to the tragic past, to history: it should find no place on humanity’s agenda for the future.” After a long and costly war, Karol was able to return to Jagiellonian University and continue his studies. Karol Wojtyla graduated with two doctorate degrees in mystical theology and philosophy, and also learned to speak several different languages including Latin.
Pope John Paul II was a very loved and respected pope. Having a fast election and almost universal support when coming into office, he would later be acclaimed to be the most influential leader of the twentieth century. Pope John Paul II’s papacy began on October 16, 1978. When deciding on his new papal name, Karol Wojtyla spent much time and reasoning to choose a name that would be honorable and memorable. He was the second pope in Roman Catholic history to choose two names, preceded by John Paul I. John Paul II chose to follow the suit of his predecessor to show...