Monday, April 04, 2005

Pope John Paul II

Although I am not Catholic, I have great respect for the man that was Pope John Paul II. He was a great moral leader for this world who stood strong on his convictions. Please be in prayer for the Church as they chose a new papal. Some highlights about the life of PJP II :

When he was elected to the papacy in 1978, Pope John Paul II was the first non-Italian pontiff in 455 years. He came from Poland -- a country, at the time, with a Marxist and atheist government.

John Paul II was the most widely traveled pontiff ever, having visited 118 countries in all the continents except Antarctica. By the time he made his historic visit to Cuba in early 1998, he had logged more than 600,000 miles of travel.

In 1986, Pope John Paul II became the first pope to visit a Jewish synagogue. There he spoke of how he deplored the "hatred and persecution" of the Jews throughout the centuries. In 1993, the pope presided over the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Vatican and Israel.

Eight months after he was elected Pope, the pontiff went to Poland, where the Communists were still in control. His visit encouraged the rise of the labor movement known as Solidarity and chipped away at the wall of communism in that predominantly Catholic country.

While standing firm on religious doctrine as old as the Bible, the Pope was the first Pontiff to also embrace 20th Century technology as a way to evangelize. In addition to weekly radio broadcasts, regularly televised services, a recording of his most popular masses and a 900 number, he was the first pontiff to have a website.

Pope John Paul II is the first pope to become an international best-selling author. His 1994 release of "Crossing the Threshold of Hope" was received with mixed critical reviews, but it garnered a six million dollar publishing deal, with the money going to the church.

The pope's ability to reach people was aided in large part by his ability to speak several languages. Born into a Polish-speaking home, the pope began learning German at age ten; Latin at age 13; and Greek at age 14. By the time he became pontiff, the pope had mastered eight languages.

No comments: