43 Facts About Pope John Paul II

1. Pope John Paul II's served as his host when he visited New England in 1976 and photos show them together on skiing and camping trips.

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2. Pope John Paul II was criticised for allowing and appointing liberal bishops in their sees and thus silently promoting Modernism, which was firmly condemned as the "synthesis of all heresies" by his predecessor Pope Pius X In 1988, the controversial traditionalist Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, founder of the Society of St Pius X, was excommunicated under John Paul II because of the unapproved ordination of four bishops, which was called by the Holy See a "schismatic act".

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3. Pope John Paul II accepted his resignation, and placed sanctions on him, prohibiting Paetz from exercising his ministry as bishop.

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4. Pope John Paul II died in his private apartment at 21:37 CEST of heart failure from profound hypotension and complete circulatory collapse from septic shock, 46 days before his 85th birthday.

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5. Pope John Paul II was hospitalised with breathing problems caused by a bout of influenza on 1 February 2005.

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6. Pope John Paul II was extremely healthy and active, jogging in the Vatican gardens, weight training, swimming, and hiking in the mountains.

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7. Pope John Paul II achieved far more in terms of transforming relations with both the Jewish people and the State of Israel than any other figure in the history of the Catholic Church.

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8. Pope John Paul II became the first pope known to have made an official papal visit to a synagogue, when he visited the Great Synagogue of Rome on 13 April 1986.

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9. Pope John Paul II praised Mohandas Gandhi for his "unshakeable faith in God", assured the Jains that the Catholic Church will continue to engage in dialogue with their religion and spoke of the common need to aid the poor.

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10. In 1995, Pope John Paul II held a meeting with 21 Jains, a sect that broke away from mainstream Hinduism in 600 BC, organised by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

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11. Pope John Paul II attempted to solve the problems that had arisen over centuries between the Catholic and Russian Orthodox churches, and in 2004 gave them a 1730 copy of the lost icon of Our Lady of Kazan.

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12. Pope John Paul II had said throughout his pontificate that one of his greatest dreams was to visit Russia, but this never occurred.

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13. The Pope John Paul II spoke to leaders of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organisations, pleading for "open, tolerant and honest dialogue".

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14. Pope John Paul II allowed the creation of the Anglican Use form of the Latin Rite, which incorporates the Anglican Book of Common Prayer.

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15. Pope John Paul II declared the publication to be "a sure norm for teaching the faith … a sure and authentic reference text for teaching Catholic doctrine and particularly for preparing local catechisms".

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16. Pope John Paul II told Rwandan and Burundian refugees that he "was close to them and shared their immense pain".

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17. Pope John Paul II called for a ceasefire and condemned the massacres on 10 April and 15 May 1990.

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18. Pope John Paul II specifically named the Kurds, a people who were fighting a civil war against Saddam Hussein's troops in Iraq, as one such people, and referred to the war as a "darkness menacing the earth".

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19. Pope John Paul II was an outspoken opponent of apartheid in South Africa.

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20. Pope John Paul II continued to declare that contraception, abortion, and homosexual acts were gravely sinful, and, with Joseph Ratzinger, opposed liberation theology.

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21. Pope John Paul II coined the term "social mortgage", which related that all private property had a social dimension, namely, that "the goods of this are originally meant for all.

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22. Pope John Paul II campaigned for world debt forgiveness and social justice.

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23. Pope John Paul II warned that man "giving himself over to relativism and scepticism, goes off in search of an illusory freedom apart from truth itself".

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24. Instead, the Pope John Paul II simply led the Polish people to desert their rulers by affirming solidarity with one another.

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25. Pope John Paul II told them to be good, not to compromise themselves, to stick by one another, to be fearless, and that God is the only source of goodness, the only standard of conduct.

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26. Pope John Paul II was a Pole, but beyond the regime's reach.

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27. Pope John Paul II's was what Joseph Nye calls 'soft power'—the power of attraction and repulsion.

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28. In June 1979, Pope John Paul II travelled to Poland, where ecstatic crowds constantly surrounded him.

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29. Pope John Paul II was the first Catholic pope to visit and pray in an Islamic mosque, in Damascus, Syria, in 2001.

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30. Pope John Paul II travelled to Haiti in 1983, where he spoke in Creole to thousands of impoverished Catholics gathered to greet him at the airport.

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31. Pope John Paul II was the first pope ever to visit several countries in one year, starting in 1979 with Mexico and Ireland.

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32. Pope John Paul II consistently attracted large crowds, some among the largest ever assembled in human history, such as the Manila World Youth Day, which gathered up to four million people, the largest Papal gathering ever, according to the Vatican.

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33. Pope John Paul II participated in the assemblies of the Synod of Bishops.

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34. Pope John Paul II agreed to serve as Auxiliary Bishop to Krakow's Archbishop Eugeniusz Baziak, and he received episcopal consecration on 28 September 1958.

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35. Pope John Paul II was then summoned to Warsaw to meet the Primate of Poland, Stefan Cardinal Wyszynski, who informed him of his appointment.

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36. Pope John Paul II focused on creating original literary work during his first dozen years as a priest.

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37. Pope John Paul II repeated this gesture, which he adapted from the French saint Jean Marie Baptiste Vianney, throughout his papacy.

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38. Pope John Paul II arrived at Niegowic at harvest time, where his first action was to kneel and kiss the ground.

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39. Pope John Paul II resided in the Belgian Pontifical College during this time, under presidency of Mgr Maximilien de Furstenberg.

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40. Pope John Paul II spent two weeks there recovering from a severe concussion and a shoulder injury.

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41. Pope John Paul II performed with various theatrical groups and worked as a playwright.

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42. Pope John Paul II became close to a girl called Ginka Beer, described as "a Jewish beauty, with stupendous eyes and jet black hair, slender, a superb actress.

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43. Pope John Paul II served as Pope and sovereign of the Vatican City State from 1978 to 2005.

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