Karol Józef Wojtyła (pronounced: voy-TEE-wah; was born on May 18, 1920 in Wadowice, Southern Poland, a son of a former officer in the Habsburg army. Background more>> The First Polish Pope On October 16, 1978, at age 58, he succeeded Pope John Paul I, fulfilling a prophecy made to him decades earlier by Padre Pio that he would one day be pope. more>> During his reign, Pope John Paul II has made more foreign trips than all previous popes put together. Travels more>> Social/Political Stances John Paul II is considered a conservative on doctrine and issues relating to reproduction and the ordination of women. more>> Health Problems After over twenty-five years on the papal throne, two assassination attempts, the first of which seriously injured him, and a number of cancer scares, John Paul's physical health has declined. more>> Selecting a New Pope The College of Cardinals elects a new pope in conclave, which is the process of sequestering the voting members of the college in Vatican City so that they have no contact with the outside world. more>>
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