Pope John Paul Ii's Influence On The Fall Of Communism

1955 words - 8 pages

THESIS STATEMENT

Both the words and actions of Pope John Paul II were crucial to the downfall of communism in Germany as well as his native Poland.

PURPOSE STATEMENT
This paper will discuss Pope John Paul II’s role in the fall of communism in Germany and his native Poland through in depth research and an analysis of biographical research.

INTRODUCTION
Even as a child, people knew that Karol Wojtyla was destined for greatness. Even his mother bragged to all her neighbors that her newborn son would grow into a great man. And that he did.
He served as pope from 1978 until his death in 2005, a period of over twenty-six years. He was the youngest pope of the Twentieth Century as well, elected at the age of fifty-eight. However, the most striking aspect of his election was that he was Polish – the first non-Italian pope since the Fifteenth Century! He was a remarkable man, who “with bold religious zeal and diplomatic shrewdness…forced open doors” (Accattoli et al 45). He forced people to seriously think about their lives. About morality, conscience, religion. He attacked communism will every ounce of his will and helped to bring down the Berlin wall. He “demonstrated in action that Christian conviction can be the agent of human liberation” (Weigel 847). It’s almost impossible to believe that such a famous man had such humble beginnings.
Born in Wadowice, Poland on May 20th, 1920, Karol Wojtyla grew up in an environment of communism and depression. His mother was sickly and died at a young age, leaving him and his father alone, as his older brother Edmund was away at school. Many times Karol, or “Lolek,” as he was called by those dear to him, would enter his father’s bedroom late at night and see him knelt on the floor in deep prayer. Lolek’s home became a kind of seminary in a way. Needless to say, Lolek entered the religious life, strongly influenced by his father.
Karol’s battle against communism began during World War II, when he was forced to hide his faith from the cruel government. He did this in several ways, including wearing his priestly garb without the collar and being called “Uncle” instead of “Father” in public. Karol was the kind of man who wasn’t afraid to put himself in danger in order to speak the truth. It is evident that “he tried to stand up for the dignity of man, even against the seemingly overwhelming power of Communism” (Accattoli et al 30), which he did at his local university, preaching the message of Christianity to the students and warning them of the evils of the communism and the atheism that went along with such a government. But this action was only one of many early strides that Karol Wojtyla took against communism.

A POPE FOR THE PEOPLE

Pope John Paul II was a very bright and articulate child, burdened by the loss of many classmates to concentration camps. Drawing from his childhood experiences later in life, the pope used his talent in linguistics to write several religious plays, including...

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