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pope, Jan Paweł II, John Paul II, Karol Wojtyłła, Karol Wojtylla, polish pope - Jan Paweł II
John Paul II, Karol Wojtyła (1920 - 2005) - Pope since 1978. He read Polish Philology at the Jagiellonian University, and pursued his interest in drama (he was a student actor and has written several plays and long poetic works). During the Second World War he attended a clandestine seminary preparing for the ministry in the Church and was ordained in 1946. In 1946-48 he studied for the Doctor's degree at the Angelicum Pontifical University in Rome. He was a lecturer of the Faculty of Theology of the Jagiellonian University until it was closed down by the Communist authorities in 1954. As Pope he would later erect the Pontifical Academy of Theology in Cracow. From 1956 he was a professor and head of the Department of the Ethics in the Faculty of Philosophy at the Catholic University of Lublin. In 1958 he was appointed a bishop, and five years later Metropolitan Archbishop of Cracow. In 1967 he received the cardinal's hat. On 16 October 1978 he became the first non-Italian for over 400 years to be elected to the See of St. Peter. The pontificate of John Paul II has been characterised by an openness to dialogue with the world at large and an extremely active, new form of evangelisation. He was the first pontiff in the history of the Roman Catholic Church to hold prayer meetings with representatives of all religions. He opened up a dialogue with followers of Judaism. He has consistently implemented the postulates of the Second Vatican Council. His pastoral work has included reform of Canon Law (1984), the publication of a new Catechism for the Roman Catholic Church (1992), the reorganisation of the Roman Catholic Curia, numerous encyclicals on a wide range of religious matters, starting with 'Redemptor hominis', new canonisations and beatifications. He has made close to 100 visits ('pilgrimages') to countries all over the world, many times to Poland, and regularly visits Roman and Italian parishes. His first visit to Poland in June 1979 provided the inspiration for the people who soon afterwards founded the Solidarity movement, which eventually led to the fall of Communism. The important messages of the pontificate of John Paul II are the protection of human life from conception to natural death, a repudiation of materialism in all of its modern guises and of the civilisation of death, respect for human rights and working-men's rights, work for world peace, opposition to totalitarianism, a new evangelism and a global evangelical renewal of the young.
On May 13th 1981 he was injured but survived an assassination attempt in Saint Peter's Square.
He died on April 2nd, 2005
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