Karol Wojtyla Was Born - May 18
- 2013 18 May
On MAY 18, 1920, in a small town in Poland, Karol Wojtyla was born. A chemical worker during World War II, he risked punishment by Communists for being ordained a priest. In 1967, he was Archbishop of Krakow, and in 1978, he became Pope John Paul II, the first non-Italian pope since 1522. Leader of one billion Catholics, he spoke eight languages and traveled a million miles in 170 countries, more than any other pope. In 1981, he survived an assassination attempt by a Muslim Turk, whom he forgave during a prison visit. The most recognized person in the world, Pope John Paul II met with Presidents Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Bush. He helped end communism in Europe. Having the third longest papal term in history, he died April 2, 2005. President Bush ordered flags flown half staff. In 1993, greeted by President Clinton in Denver, Pope John Paul said: "The inalienable dignity of every human being and the rights which flow from that dignity-in the first place the right to life and the defense of life-are at the heart of the church's message." Pope John Paul ended: "In spite of divisions among Christians, 'all those justified by faith through baptism are incorporated into Christ...brothers and sisters in the Lord.'"