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John Paul II was born on May 18 1920 was elected pope on Oct 16 1978 succeeding John Paul I His name was Karol Josef Wojtyla John Paul II is the first Polish pope and the first non-Italian pope since the 16th century During his pontificate he has traveled more extensively than any of his predecessors preaching to millions of people on 6 continents and in more than 50 nations The son of a Polish army officer Karol Wojtyla was born in Wadowice Poland He attended an underground seminary during the World War II German occupation and was ordained a priest in 1946 After studying in Rome and at the University of Krakow he was appointed 1956 professor of ethics at the University of Lublin where he published the first of many articles and books on philosophical and theological themes Consecrated bishop in 1958 he served first as auxiliary bishop of Krakow and in 1964 became archbishop of Krakow He was made a cardinal in 1967 John Paul IIs pontificate has revealed two principal goals The first is his vigorous commitment to justice and peace He has consistently encouraged nations to construct a social order that fosters human dignity He has criticized the injustices of both Communism and capitalism The pope has presented his ideas on social justice and other theological themes in the encyclicals Redemptor hominis 1979 Laborem exercens 1981 Dominum et vivificantem 1986 Redemptoris mater 1987 Centesimus Annus 1991 and Fides et Ratio 1998 His personal philosophy was outlined in the best-selling book Crossing the Threshold of Hope 1994 John Pauls second goal is to affirm the unambiguous identity of Roman Catholicism Uneasy with dissent he has attempted to enforce the churchs disciplinary rules and to resist uncontrolled innovations He has for example condemned some aspects of liberation theology reaffirmed traditional Catholic teaching on the sinfulness of homosexual behavior and opposed the ordination of women to the priesthood In appointing
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