Author Tags: Famous Visitor, Religion

By far the most travelled pope in history, Pope John Paul II became the first non-Italian pope since Hadrian VI (1522-3) on October 16, 1978. He visited nearly every country willing to receive him including Canada where he received a 'talking stick' on September 18, 1984 at BC Place Stadium. A book about his visit was produced for the Archdiocese of Vancouver.

Born as Karol Wojtyla in Wadowice, Polandwas on May 18, 1920, Pope John Paul studied secretly during the German occupation of Poland and was ordained to the priesthood on November 1, 1946. He gained a doctorate in theology in 1948 at the Angelicum in Rome, Italy. From 1948 to 1951 he served as a parish priest in the Krakow diocese, then studied philosophy at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow. From 1952 to 1958, he taught social ethics. He became a professor at the University of Lublin in 1956. Pope Pius XII appointed Wojtyla an auxiliary bishop in Krakow on July 4, 1958, and Pope Paul VI appointed him Archbishop of Krakow on December 30, 1963. He attended all four sessions of Vatican II Council, and played a prominent role in the formulation of the Declaration on Religious Freedom. Pope Paul VI appointed Wojtyla as a Cardinal on June 26, 1967. He adopted the name Pope John Paul in deference to his his predecessors to show he wanted to maintain the so-called 'reforms' of the Vatican II Council. In essence, he was a staunch conservative in religious matters who played a key role in the downfall of the Soviet control of Eastern bloc countries, particularly during the adminstration of Ronald Reagan. He also wrote numerous books, including an autobiography, Gift and Mystery: On the Fiftieth Anniversary of My Priestly Ordination; a co-written collection of advice of advice and directives, Crossing the Threshold of Hope; and a collection of poetry, The Place Within: The Poetry of Pope John Paul II, translated by Jerzy Peterkiewicz (Random House, 1982). John Wilkins edited his encyclical on the moral life, Considering Veritatis Splendor.

[Image: Pope John Paul II receives 'talking stick' at B.C. Place Stadium in 1984]


John Paul II, 1984, British Columbia (Controlled Media Communications, for the Archdiocese of Vancouver, 1984).

[BCBW 2004] "Famous Visitor" "Religion"