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 became Archbishop of Krakow and, in 1978, he became Pope John Paul II, the first non-Italian pope since 1522. Leader of one billion Catholics, Pope John Paul 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.’
The Moral Liberal contributing editor, William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s books here.