Pope John Paul II

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For an adequate formation of a culture, the involvement of the whole man is required, whereby he exercises his creativity, intelligence, and knowledge of the world and of people.

John Paul II (18 May 19202 April 2005) served as pope of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City from 1978 until his death in April 2005. Born Karol Wojtyła in the Polish town of Wadowice, he served as archbishop of Kraków before becoming the first non-Italian pope in 455 years and the first pope of Slavic origin. He was one of the longest-serving popes and one of the most-travelled world leaders in history. Continuing the reforms of the Second Vatican Council and professing the philosophy of Christian humanism, John Paul II taught about the importance of family and respect for human life and dignity. He criticised materialist ideologies and is widely seen as having been instrumental in ending communism in his native Poland and eventually in all of Eastern Europe. The pope also mended the Catholic Church's relations with other denominations and religions, and, as part of his special emphasis on the universal call to holiness, he beatified and canonised a record number of people.


How could man have such utter contempt for man? Because he had reached the point of contempt for God.
  • Totus Tuus
    • All Yours
    • Wojtyła's episcopal and, later, papal motto, expressing his intense devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary
    • Source: Holy See Press Office
  • It is unbecoming for a cardinal to ski badly.
    • When asked whether it was becoming for a cardinal to ski (Cardinal Wojtyła was an avid skier).
    • Source: Pakenham Longford (Earl of), Frank (1982). Pope John Paul II: an authorized biography. W. Morrow. 
  • Carissimi fratelli e sorelle, siamo ancora tutti addolorati dopo la morte del nostro amatissimo Papa Giovanni Paolo I. Ed ecco che gli Eminentissimi Cardinali hanno chiamato un nuovo vescovo di Roma. Lo hanno chiamato da un paese lontano... lontano, ma sempre così vicino per la comunione nella fede e nella tradizione cristiana. (...) Non so se posso bene spiegarmi nella vostra... nostra lingua italiana. Se mi sbaglio mi correggerete.
    • Dear brothers and sisters, we are all still grieved after the death of our most beloved John Paul I. And now the eminent cardinals have called a new bishop of Rome. They have called him from a far country... far, but always near through the communion of faith and in the Christian tradition. (...) I don't know if I can make myself clear in your... in our Italian language. If I make a mistake, you will correct me.
    • Note: the pope intentionally mispronounced the Italian word correggerete, "you will correct".
    • First address to the faithful in Saint Peter's Square, Vatican City, on 16 October 1978
    • Source: Libreria Editrice Vaticana (Italian)
  • I wołam, ja, syn polskiej ziemi, a zarazem ja: Jan Paweł II papież, wołam z całej głębi tego tysiąclecia, wołam w przeddzień święta Zesłania, wołam wraz z wami wszystkimi: Niech zstąpi Duch Twój! Niech zstąpi Duch Twój! I odnowi oblicze ziemi. Tej ziemi!
    • And I cry – I who am a son of the land of Poland and who am also Pope John Paul II – I cry from all the depths of this Millennium, I cry on the vigil of Pentecost: Let your Spirit descend! Let your Spirit descend! And renew the face of the earth. The face of this land!
    • Note: the Polish word ziemi means both "earth" and "land"; on the former utterance, it refers to the entire planet, on the latter – to Poland.
    • Homily during the Holy Mass in Victory Square in Warsaw on 2 June 1979, during the pope's first apostolic journey to Poland
    • Source: Libreria Editrice Vaticana
  • This inscription awakens the memory of people whose sons and daughters were destined for total extermination. This people draws its origin from Abraham, our Father in faith. The very people that received from God the commandment, thou shalt not kill, itself experienced in a special measure what is meant by killing. It is not permissible for anyone to pass by this inscription with indifference.
    • About a Hebrew commemorative plaque in the homily during the Holy Mass at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi German concentration camp on 7 June 1979, during the pope's first apostolic journey to Poland
    • Source: Libreria Editrice Vaticana (Italian)
  • Faced with problems and disappointments, many people will try to escape from their responsibility: escape in selfishness, escape in sexual pleasure, escape in drugs, escape in violence, escape in indifference and cynical attitudes. But today, I propose to you the option of love, which is the opposite of escape.
    • Homily during the Holy Mass on Boston Common in Boston, Massachusetts, on 1 October 1979, during the pope's first apostolic journey to the United States
    • Source: Libreria Editrice Vaticana
  • The great danger for family life, in the midst of any society whose idols are pleasure, comfort and independence, lies in the fact that people close their hearts and become selfish.
    • Homily during the Holy Mass at the Capital Mall in Washington, D.C., on 7 October 1979, during the pope's first apostolic journey to the United States
  • Right from the beginning of my ministry in St. Peter’s See in Rome, I consider this message [of divine mercy] my special task. Providence has assigned it to me in the present situation of man, the Church and the world. It could be said that precisely this situation assigned that message to me as my task before God.
    • November 22, 1981 at the Shrine of Merciful Love in Todi-Collevalenza, Italy
  • The cemetery of the victims of human cruelty in our century is extended to include yet another vast cemetery, that of the unborn.
  • Christians and Muslims, we have many things in common, as believers and as human beings. We live in the same world, marked by many signs of hope, but also by multiple signs of anguish. For us, Abraham is a very model of faith in God, of submission to his will and of confidence in his goodness. We believe in the same God, the one God, the living God, the God who created the world and brings his creatures to their perfection.
    • Address to young Muslims in Casablanca on 19 August 1985, during the pope's apostolic journey to Morocco
    • Source: Libreria Editrice Vaticana
  • The Jewish religion is not extrinsic, but in a certain way intrinsic to our own religion. Therefore, we have a relationship which we do not have with any other religion. You are our dearly beloved brothers, and, in a certain way, it can be said that you are our elder brothers.
  • Drodzy bracia i siostry Kaszubi! Strzeżcie tych wartości i tego dziedzictwa, które stanowią o Waszej tożsamości.
    • Dear Kashubian brothers and sisters! Cherish the values and the heritage that define your identity.
    • Homily during the Holy Mass in Gdynia 11 June 1987, during the pope's apostolic journey to Poland
    • Source: Libreria Editrice Vaticana (Polish)
  • Science develops best when its concepts and conclusions are integrated into the broader human culture and its concerns for ultimate meaning and value. Scientists cannot, therefore, hold themselves entirely aloof from the sorts of issues dealt with by philosophers and theologians. By devoting to these issues something of the energy and care they give to their research in science, they can help others realize more fully the human potentialities of their discoveries. They can also come to appreciate for themselves that these discoveries cannot be a genuine substitute for knowledge of the truly ultimate. Science can purify religion from error and superstition; religion can purify science from idolatry and false absolutes. Each can draw the other into a wider world, a world in which both can flourish.
    • Letter to the Rev. George V. Coyne, S.J., Director of the Vatican Observatory, 1 June 1988
    • Source: Russell, Robert J.; Stoeger, William R.; Pope John Paul II; Coyne, George V. (1990). John Paul II on science and religion: reflections on the new view from Rome. Vatican Observatory Publications. 
  • every individual is made in the image of God, insofar as he or she is a rational and free creature capable of knowing God and loving him.
    • Apostolic Letter Mulieris Dignitatem, 15 August 1988
    • Source: www.vatican.va
  • In the "unity of the two", man and woman are called from the beginning not only to exist "side by side" or "together", but they are also called to exist mutually "one for the other".
    • Apostolic Letter Mulieris Dignitatem, 15 August 1988
    • Source: www.vatican.va
  • All human activity takes place within a culture and interacts with culture. For an adequate formation of a culture, the involvement of the whole man is required, whereby he exercises his creativity, intelligence, and knowledge of the world and of people. Furthermore, he displays his capacity for self-control, personal sacrifice, solidarity and readiness to promote the common good.
  • many women, especially as a result of social and cultural conditioning, do not become fully aware of their dignity. Others are victims of a materialistic and hedonistic outlook which views them as mere objects of pleasure, and does not hesitate to organize the exploitation of women, even of young girls, into a despicable trade. Special concern needs to be shown for these women, particularly by other women who, thanks to their own upbringing and sensitivity, are able to help them discover their own inner worth and resources. Women need to help women, and to find support in the valuable and effective contributions which associations, movements and groups, many of them of a religious character, have proved capable of making in this regard.
    • Message for the XXVIII World Day of Peace, 8 December 1994
    • Source: www.vatican.va
  • Women have the right to insist that their dignity be respected. At the same time, they have the duty to work for the promotion of the dignity of all persons, men as well as women.
    • Message for the XXVIII World Day of Peace, 8 December 1994
    • Source: www.vatican.va
  • Man is called to a fullness of life which far exceeds the dimensions of his earthly existence, because it consists in sharing the very life of God. The loftiness of this supernatural vocation reveals the greatness and the inestimable value of human life even in its temporal phase.
  • (...) De nouvelles connaissances conduisent à reconnaître dans la théorie de l'évolution plus qu'une hypothèse. Il est en effet remarquable que cette théorie se soit progressivement imposée à l'esprit des chercheurs, à la suite d'une série de découvertes faites dans diverses disciplines du savoir. La convergence, nullement recherchée ou provoquée, des résultats de travaux menés indépendamment les uns des autres, constitue par elle même un argument significatif en faveur de cette théorie.
    • (...) New knowledge has led to the recognition of the theory of evolution as more than a hypothesis. It is indeed remarkable that this theory has been progressively accepted by researchers, following a series of discoveries in various fields of knowledge. The convergence, neither sought nor fabricated, of the results of work that was conducted independently is in itself a significant argument in favor of this theory.
    • Note: early news reports mistranslated the French phrase plus qu'une hypothèse as "more than one hypothesis".[1]
    • Message to the participants in the Plenary of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, 22 October 1996
    • Source: Libreria Editrice Vaticana (French)
  • Never again war! Never again hatred and intolerance!
    • Address on arrival at the Sarajevo Airport on 12 April 1997, during the pope's apostolic journey to Bosnia-Herzegovina
    • Source: Libreria Editrice Vaticana
  • Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth—in a word, to know himself—so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves.
  • Born and nurtured when the human being first asked questions about the reason for things and their purpose, philosophy shows in different modes and forms that the desire for truth is part of human nature itself.
  • to men and women there falls the task of exploring truth with their reason, and in this their nobility consists.
  • Every truth—if it really is truth—presents itself as universal, even if it is not the whole truth. If something is true, then it must be true for all people and at all times.
  • human being is by nature a philosopher
  • to argue according to rigorous rational criteria is to guarantee that the results attained are universally valid.
  • philosophy must obey its own rules and be based upon its own principles; truth, however, can only be one.
  • Quite apart from the fact that it conflicts with the demands and the content of the word of God, nihilism is a denial of the humanity and of the very identity of the human being. It should never be forgotten that the neglect of being inevitably leads to losing touch with objective truth and therefore with the very ground of human dignity.
  • Once the truth is denied to human beings, it is pure illusion to try to set them free. Truth and freedom either go together hand in hand or together they perish in misery.
  • To believe it possible to know a universally valid truth is in no way to encourage intolerance; on the contrary, it is the essential condition for sincere and authentic dialogue between persons. On this basis alone is it possible to overcome divisions and to journey together towards full truth
  • Truth can never be confined to time and culture; in history it is known, but it also reaches beyond history.
  • faith and reason “mutually support each other”; each influences the other, as they offer to each other a purifying critique and a stimulus to pursue the search for deeper understanding
  • Not all are called to be artists in the specific sense of the term. Yet, as Genesis has it, all men and women are entrusted with the task of crafting their own life: in a certain sense, they are to make of it a work of art, a masterpiece.
  • peace is possible. It needs to be implored from God as his gift, but it also needs to be built day by day with his help, through works of justice and love.
    • Message for the celebration of XXXIII World Day of Peace, 8 December 1999
    • Source: www.vatican.va
  • wars are often the cause of further wars because they fuel deep hatreds, create situations of injustice and trample upon people's dignity and rights. Wars generally do not resolve the problems for which they are fought and therefore, in addition to causing horrendous damage, they prove ultimately futile. War is a defeat for humanity. Only in peace and through peace can respect for human dignity and its inalienable rights be guaranteed.
    • Message for the celebration of XXXIII World Day of Peace, 8 December 1999
    • Source: www.vatican.va
  • There is no true peace without fairness, truth, justice and solidarity.
    • Message for the celebration of XXXIII World Day of Peace, 8 December 1999
    • Source: www.vatican.va
  • God of our fathers, you chose Abraham and his descendants to bring your Name to the Nations: we are deeply saddened by the behaviour of those who in the course of history have caused these children of yours to suffer, and asking your forgiveness we wish to commit ourselves to genuine brotherhood with the people of the Covenant.
    • Written prayer placed by the pope into the Western Wall in Jerusalem on 26 March 2000, during his apostolic journey to the Holy Land
    • Source: Libreria Editrice Vaticana
  • It can be said, in fact, that research, by exploring the greatest and the smallest, contributes to the glory of God which is reflected in every part of the universe.
  • A society will be judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members; and among the most vulnerable are surely the unborn and the dying.
  • The twentieth century was the great century of Christian martyrs, and this is true both in the Catholic Church and in other Churches and ecclesial communities.
    • Source: Pope John Paul II (2005). Memory and identity: conversations at the dawn of a millennium. Rizzoli. 
  • Could I forget that the event [Mehmet Ali Ağca’s assassination attempt] in Saint Peter's Square took place on the day and at the hour when the first appearance of the Mother of Christ to the poor little peasants has been remembered for over sixty years at Fatima in Portugal? For, in everything that happened to me on that very day, I felt that extraordinary motherly protection and care, which turned out to be stronger than the deadly bullet.
    • Source: Pope John Paul II (2005). Memory and identity: conversations at the dawn of a millennium. Rizzoli. 
  • I have looked for you. Now you have come to me. And I thank you.
  • God assigns as a duty to every man the dignity of every woman.
    • General audience of Wednesday, 24 November, which took place in the Paul VI Hall
    • Source: [2] (English)
  • When you wonder about the mystery of yourself, look to Christ who gives you the meaning of life. When you wonder what it means to be a mature person, look to Christ who is the fullness of humanity. And when you wonder about your role in the future of the world and of the United States, look to Christ.
  • The moral life presents itself as the response due to the many gratuitous initiatives taken by God out of love for man.
  • Young people of every continent, do not be afraid to be the saints of the new millennium! Be contemplative, love prayer; be coherent with your faith and generous in the service of your brothers and sisters, be active members of the Church and builders of peace.
    • Message of the Holy Father to the Youth of the World on the Occasion of the 15th World Youth Day, From the Vatican, 1999]

About Pope John Paul II[edit]

  • John Paul had sought rapprochement with Islam, which he appeared to view as a strategic ally in the struggle for "family values" and post-Englightenment thinking; during his pontificate, the Vatican had teamed up with Islamic governments at international human rights conferences to thwart European proposals for Third World birth control and other modernist evils.
    • Bruce Bawer While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam Is Destroying the West from Within (1st ed. ed.). New York: Doubleday. p. p. 217 (of 288). ISBN 0-385-51472-7. .
  • Shame on you, Mr. Bush, shame on you! And any time you got the Pope and the Dixie Chicks against you, your time is up.
  • The present Pope is a man I hold in high regard. To begin with, our somewhat similar backgrounds give us an immediate common ground. The first time we met, he struck me as a very practical sort of person, very broad-minded and open. I have no doubt he is a great spiritual leader. Any man who can call out "Brother" to his would-be assassin, as Pope John Paul did, must be a highly evolved spiritual practicioner.
    • Dalai Lama Freedom in Exile: The Autobiography of the Dalai Lama (1st paperback ed. ed.). San Francisco: HarperCollins Publishers. p. p. 202 (of 288). ISBN 0-06-098701-4. .
  • When Pope John Paul II kissed the ground at the Warsaw airport he began the process by which communism in Poland – and ultimately elsewhere in Europe – would come to an end.

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