John Paul II Touched Diverse Aspects of Society

By St. Clair, Stacy; Spak, Kara | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), April 3, 2005 | Go to article overview

John Paul II Touched Diverse Aspects of Society


St. Clair, Stacy, Spak, Kara, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Stacy St. Clair and Kara Spak Daily Herald Staff Writers

From his years as an athletic young man in Nazi-occupied Poland to his days as a frail pontiff in Rome, John Paul II dedicated his life to championing Catholic morality.

History will hail him as an activist pope, a skilled statesman unafraid to speak out against communism or American foreign policy. It also will recall an uncompromising cleric who defended life with inflexible stances on abortion, capital punishment and euthanasia.

"We had a pope who was not afraid to attack wrongdoing," said David Cook, a philosophy professor at Wheaton College. "History will be kind to him in that regard."

The pope's fight against oppression began as a young man in Eastern Europe. Born Karol Wojtyla, he grew up in the shadows of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Wadowice, a small town in southern Poland.

When Germany invaded his homeland in 1939, the Nazis forced the then-19-year-old Wojtyla into labor at a chemical plant and quarry. While toiling there, he joined a dissident movement aimed at keeping Polish culture alive.

He attended the underground Jagiellonian University, reading banned literature and participating in theatrical activities. He began studying for the priesthood, convinced Catholicism was the key to maintaining his homeland's identity.

He later lamented his failure to protest the Nazi genocide and help save its victims. He became the first pope to visit a synagogue and often voiced support for the state of Israel.

On his first visit to Poland after becoming pope, he prayed at Auschwitz, the Nazi death camp a short distance from his boyhood home. It was a dramatic gesture, a signal to Christians to atone for the sins of the past.

"As Christians and Jews, following the example of the faith of Abraham, we are called to be a blessing to the world," he said in 1994. "This is the common task awaiting us. It is therefore necessary for us, Christians and Jews, to first be a blessing to each other."

Wojtyla became an ordained priest in 1946, as communism took hold of his war-shattered country. As a young priest, he fought against the vehement anti-Semitism that festered in Poland at the time by publicly befriending Jews and helping children separated from their parents during the Holocaust.

Historians believe the shame of remaining silent as mass murders took place in nearby death camps cemented the pope's resolve to fight communism. He recognized the Catholic Church was the only social and moral force able to counter an oppressive government.

As a young priest in the 1950s, he cultivated a spirit of independence among the parish youth. He took them on camping trips and on hikes through the Polish countryside, where he taught them about intellectual honesty and encouraged them to be free thinkers.

His affection for young Catholics would continue into his papacy, where he would call on the church's children to hear God's word.

He made his last visit to the United States in 1999 for a world youth rally in St. Louis. During the event, he referenced the 1998 home run race.

"I am told there was much excitement ... when Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were competing to break the home run record," he said.

"You can feel the same great enthusiasm as you train for a different goal: the goal of following Christ, the goal of bringing his message to the world."

The mostly teenage crowd responded with delight.

"John Paul Two!" they chanted. "We love you!"

The pope's affable personality long bolstered the effectiveness of his message. By the time he became archbishop of Krakow in 1964, the communist government preferred to deal with Wojtyla because they believed him to be less confrontational than other Church leaders.

The Soviet-controlled leaders underestimated the steely resolve beneath the accommodating personality. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

John Paul II Touched Diverse Aspects of Society
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.