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Born Jozef Wojtyla in Poland in the year 1920, Pope John Paul II became pope in the year 1978, a position that he held for the next 26 years before his demise in March 2004. By being elected Pope at a time that coincided with the advert of the global satellite, Pope John Paul II has been documented as one the most popular pope in the history of the papacy. He is also ranked number three as far as longevity as a pontiff is concerned. This has further been reinforced by the fact that his efforts as a pope in majority of the cases seemed to cut across the faiths, tribes, clans and all other factors that commonly separate humanity. Issues like human right and world unity which were very close to his heart endeared him not only to his Christian brothers and sisters but to all other adherents of other faiths, and remembering the perversity of religion we can rightfully say that Pope John Paul II touched each and every heart in these efforts.
Pope John Paul II has been idolized for a number of things that he did will in the high office of Catholic Pope, majority of which are precedent setting. His tenure accorded the public to know much about the seemingly hidden activities in this office, thing that were crowded in so much mystery that they had started to generate all sort of unhealthy speculation. The greatest thing that Pope John Paul II will be forever remembered for is his unmatched zeal at restoring world peace and liberty, which can better be demonstrated by his immense contribution to the defeat of the Nazi terror regime.
In this regard Pope John Paul II brought the so called “revolution of conscience”, which was product of his conviction and faith, something that contributed immensely to the fall of Nazi not just in his home county of Poland but in the entire world. A major ingredient in this ‘revolution for conscience’ was his emphasis on justice. Pope John II was quoted severally reiterating that anything that a person does to another person is more or less an act to oneself, something that is consistent with the teaching of all the major religions of the world and which forms the backbone of the rule of law. A better quote that sums-up this belief in an “eye for an eye” can be found in his now famous quote to the effect that “anything done for another is done for oneself.”
His fight for liberty was legendary, something that at time was viewed as bordering on incitement, however he was always quick to dispel that by quotes like “freedom consist not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought,” through these and other quotes he was able to disarm his critic while setting his intention clear. Pope John Paul II will be remembered forever for restoring the evangelical role of the papacy that together with other dynamisms that the office enjoyed at one time in its long history, had been lost along the way. Another feat that has come to be associated with him is the high number of saints that he declared in course of his papacy, it is believed that the 482 saint that he declared in course of his papacy surpass the number that had been declared by all the popes in the preceding 500 years that the papacy had existed. The 1,338 people that he beatified in course of that same period also separaate him from the other popes.
Pope John Paul II character was at time a contradiction, otherwise what can be said of the fact that he was at times a staunch traditionalist while at others a proactive intellectual. However this approach enabled him to pragmatically address some of the world issues that had seemingly reached irreconcilable levels. Through this seemingly contradiction in his character and approach Pope John Paul II was able to demystify and shatter the papal tradition, thereby earning himself a comfortable place in history.
Pope John Paul II belief in fairness was not only preached in pulpit but also practiced as can be demonstrated by the fact that after his election he ensured that the conclave will always reflect diversity of humanity in the world and therefore accord every state or community a chance to one day rise to the apex of the Catholic Church. In fact the election of Pope Benedict XIV, a German, can be attributed to the reconstitution of the conclave that Pope John Paul II undertook. Otherwise what can be said of the fact that the past 400 years before his ascendancy to the papal throne the papacy had not seen a pope from other nationality other than Italy? This simply means that Pope John Paul II legacy is rich and enduring, something that had eluded majority of the previous popes.
Pope John Paul II also penned a number of books that have gone a long way in building the church and the Christian adherent as well. The five books still remain important reminders of his sharp intellect and foresight, two characteristics that separated him from a large collection of previous leaders in the Catholic Church.
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