Interior: World - As pope, he made the papacy part of the world scene by traveling to 129 countries.
Pope John Paul II Synopsis Breviate
Pope John Paul II was the 264th pope of the Catholic Church. The world was taken by surprise in 1978 when he became the first non-Italian pope in 455 years. Born in Poland in 1920, the former Karol Wojtyla was not the first choice of the church’s cardinals. The conclave selected him only after coming to a deadlock on two Italian candidates. He was ordained a priest in 1946 and taught ethics and philosophy at universities in Krakow and Lublin. He became archbishop of Krakow in 1964 and a cardinal in 1967. As pope, John Paul made the papacy part of the world scene by traveling to 129 countries. He skillfully used television and other media to convey his vision of faith. He is credited with helping to end Communist rule in his native Poland and eventually all of Europe. He significantly improved the Catholic Church’s relations with Judaism, Islam and the Eastern Orthodox Church, and in 1994 established full diplomatic relations with Israel. As part of his special emphasis on the universal call to holiness, he beatified 1340 people and canonized 483 saints, more than the combined total of his predecessors during the preceding five centuries. His rule was not without controversy, as liberal members of the church continued to press this theological conservative for reform on issues of gender equality in the church and sexual morality. John Paul II wrote two memoirs, Gift and Mystery (1996) and Rise, Let Us Be on Our Way (2004). His reflections on how Christianity shaped European culture appear in Memory and Identity: Conversations at the Dawn of a Millennium (2005). John Paul II died in 2005 and was canonized by Pope Francis in April of 2014.