Pope John Paul II

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by soljahbeast
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Pope John Paul II

ElectedWhen Pope Paul VI died in August 1978, the College of Cardinals, split between two powerful Italians, elected the Venetian Albino Luciani as Pope John Paul I. He died only 33 days later. When the cardinals entered the second conclave of 1978, the world did not know that Wojtyła had received votes in the first conclave. Wojtyła seemed in some ways a good compromise candidate who could hold together a divided church. Liberal interpretations of religious life that followed the Second Vatican Council had created rifts and defections; religious conservatives were digging in, claiming that the council had betrayed the church.

During his long pontificate, John Paul directed the rewriting of several major church texts. The revisions included the new Codex Juris Canonici , the first update of the Code of Canon Law since 1917; Pastor Bonus , the first reform of the Roman Curia since 1967; and the new Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium. In 1992 he promulgated the new “Catechism of the Catholic Church”, its first revision in more than four centuries.

Pope John Paul II







From the start of his papacy, John Paul strictly reasserted the canon law banning priests from any active participation in party politics. His intention was not to weaken Catholicism’s political impact but to unify the church and to strengthen its moral authority.

When Wojtyla was on his way back from work, he came home to discover that his dad had died alone. In 1945 the Soviets replaced the Germans as occupiers of Poland. In November 1946 Wojtyła was ordained by Sapieha into the Catholic priesthood. He chose to say his first mass, assisted by Figlewicz, in Wawel Cathedral’s crypt chapel amid the sarcophagi of Polish monarchs and heroes, including those who had defended national freedom and European Christendom.

Wojtyła’s childhood coincided with the only period of freedom that Poland would know between 1772 and 1989. The two decades between Marshal Józef Piłsudski’s defeat of the Soviet Red Army in 1920 and the German invasion in 1939. Wojtyła thus grew up experiencing national freedom but also understanding its vulnerability.

Early Life Influences


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