Pope John Paul Ii Essay

1077 words - 5 pages

Pope John Paul II was not just a revolutionary Pope, but was also a revolutionary influence from the 20th century. His actions changed the course of history, ranging from the end of communism in Poland to improving the Catholic Church's relations with other religions. John Paul II witnessed humanity at its worst. He lived through the Nazi occupation of Poland. He also experienced the Soviet occupation of Poland. Even through these dark times, John had managed to keep on his faith and humanity.

John Paul II's birth name was Karol Józef Wojtyła, the same as his father's. Karol was born on May 18, 1920 in Wadowice, Poland. He was the youngest of 3 siblings. He never met his older sister, ...view middle of the document...

" This meant uncle in polish. This allowed Karol to preach without getting caught. Eventually, Karol would evolve from the priesthood to the highest position in the Vatican, the title of Pope.

Karol won the title of pope on October 16th, 1978. He renamed himself, John Paul II in respects to the recently departed John Paul I and Pope Paul VI. Just as he gained his position, new pope broke a few streaks. He was the first non-Italian pope in 455 years. He was also very young for his position, being only 58 years old. John broke tradition by directly addressing the gathered crowd around the balcony.

In 1979, John traveled back to communist Poland. This was an especially bold move because of the anti-religious campaign occurring in Poland. The communist government hated the Catholic Church; fearing it could compete for the loyalty of their people. Though not as harsh as it had once been, an anti-theistic movement was still brewing in Poland. Catholic children had been demanded to join Communist Youth organizations. School criteria included more Lenin-Marxist ideas, which included atheism.

The Polish people crowded around the Pope in massive hordes. Poland's Communist leaders wanted to use the pope's influence to show dominance over the people. To their dismay, this was far from what happened. The Poles identified with the pope, making his message much easier to spread to the public. The pope could have started a physical revolt against the government, yet he did not. Simply, the pope told his people to be fearless, faithful, and good. This message was met with overwhelming praise, and the people began to chant "We want God! We want God!

Historian John Lewis Gaddis stated that "When Pope John Paul II kissed the ground at the Warsaw airport, he began the process by which communism in Poland – and ultimately elsewhere in Europe – would come to an end." The pope did not need guns to fight off communism in Europe; he'd refused to fire one at a paper target. John fought communism with morality, and that's all he needed. The existence of God is debatable, but one thing is clear. God had...

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