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John Paul II, Pope (1920–2005; Pontificate from 1978)

  1. Jeffrey L. Morrow

Published Online: 25 NOV 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470670606.wbecc0735

The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization

How to Cite

Morrow, J. L. 2011. John Paul II, Pope (1920–2005; Pontificate from 1978). The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 25 NOV 2011


Pope John Paul II was born Karol Jósef Wojtylstroka in Wadowice, Poland, on May 18, 1920. He died on April 2, 2005. Wojtylstroka was an avid soccer player and skier, as well as a theologian, philosopher, poet, actor, and playwright. He studied Polish literature and philology at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland. When the Nazis invaded Poland, Wojtylstroka engaged in peaceful cultural resistance through his clandestine outlawed theater group. After his ordination to the Catholic priesthood, Wojtylstroka proceeded to earn two doctoral degrees, one in theology, the second in philosophy. After years working as a parish priest, Wojtylstroka became a university professor, teaching philosophy and moral theology at the Catholic University of Lublin in Poland. He later became the youngest bishop in Poland. At the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965) Wojtylstroka participated in every session, and significantly helped shape the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Gaudium et Spes, as well as the Declaration on Religious Freedom, Dignitatis Humanae. During the council, Wojtylstroka became archbishop of Kraków.


  • John Paul II’s poems and plays;
  • the jeweler’s shop, family life, and marriage;
  • fides et ratio