Essay, Research Paper: John Paul II


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Karol Wojtyla was born on May 18, 1920 at Wadowice, Poland. For many years Karol
believed God was calling him to the priesthood, and after two near fatal
accidents, he responded to God's call. He studied secretely during the German
occupation of Poland, and was ordained to the priesthood on November 1, 1946. In
these years he came to know and practice the teachings of St. Louis Marie
Montfort and St. John of the Cross. He earned a doctorate in theology in 1948 at
the Angelicum in Rome, Italy. From 1948 to 1951 he served as a parish priest in
the Krakow diocese and then returned to study philosophy at the Jagiellonian
Univsersity at Krakow. From 1952 to 1958 Karol Wojtyla taught social ethics at
the Krakow Seminary. In 1956 he became also a professor at the University of
Lublin. Venerable Pope Pius XII appointed Karol Wojtyla an auxiliary bishop in
Krakow on July 4, 1958. Servant of God, Pope Paul VI appointed him Archbishop of
Krakow on December 30, 1963. As Archbishop of Krakow, Karol Wojtyla proved
himself a noble and trustworthy pastor in the face of Communist persecution. A
member of the prepatory commission, he attended all four sessions of Vatican II
and is said to have written Gaudium et spes, the document on the Church in the
Modern World. He also played a prominent role in the formulation of the
Declaration on Religious Freedom. Following the Council, the Servant of God,
Pope Paul VI, appointed Karol Wojtyla a Cardinal of the Roman Church on June 26,
1967. In 1960 he published his most famous written work, Love and
Responsibility. Pope Paul VI, delighted with its apologetical defense of the
traditional catholic teaching of marraige, relied extensively on Archbishop
Wojytla's counsel in writing Humanae Vitae. In 1976 he was invited by Pope Paul
VI to preach the lenten sermons to the members of the Papal Household. On
October 16, 1978, Archbishop Wojtyla became the first non-Italian pope since
Hadrian VI (1522-3). He took the name of his predecessors (John, Paul, John
Paul) to emphasis his desire to continue the reforms of the Council. Before this
week I did not know much about John Paul II. I knew that he was the first
non-Italian pope in about 450 years. I had seen the pope a lot on T.V. and knew
that he was old and weak. I also knew that he has Parkinson’s Disease. This
week I found out what John Paul II was like before he got old and weak. I found
out that he was instrumental in knocking down communism. In communism it was
taught that there was no room for God, so it is an atheist society. This is
because there is one leader and he must have all power. The leader does not want
the people to be divided between him and the pope. John Paul II had strong
beliefs, and stood behind his ideas with actions. I did not even know that he
was shot. I learned that the pope traveled a great deal, and is actually the
most traveled pope in history. He visited nearly every country in the world that
would receive him. I think that John Paul II is a great person. He tries to help
everyone and touch everyone. John Paul II is a determined individual. Not only
does he have ideas that are for the good of the most people, but he also stands
behind his words with actions. He is a smart man who also has a great deal of
common sense. I think John Paul II is a great pope. He is the first pope in a
long while to have ideas and have the balls to stand up for them. This seems
ironic, because when John Paul II was chosen, he was not thought of as a strong,
authoritative leader. John Paul II knew he was in a position to knock down
communism, and he accomplished his task with persistence, when other people
might have quit or not had the guts to take any action. The pope is the leader
of the Church as a worldwide community. It is his job to safeguard the teachings
of Christ for these 625 million people. He must be a unifying factor, and bring
the Church together. John Paul II has accomplished his task, and served well. If
I could ask John Paul II one thing, I would ask him why he put in so much effort
to being the pope? Why did he decide that he was not just going to be another
pope, but put in the effort and be the greatest pope that he could be? John Paul
II made key contributions to the Church as a worldwide community. He knocked
down communism, which brought more people into the Church. John Paul II was the
most traveled pope in history, which means that he is seen and is connecting
with the people. He has brought a different feeling into being the pope. Past
popes were seen as royalty, wearing lavish garments. John Paul II is plain and
just wants to connect to the everyday person. I think that one person alone
cannot make a difference; the help of others is needed. John Paul II could not
have put down communism without supporters. Everything that John Paul II did
could not have happened without others helping. I think that he could have
helped save some Jews during World War II in Poland, put if he was caught he
might have been killed. I say that he could have helped, but I do not hold this
against him, because I do not know if I would put my life on the line in that
same situation.
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