Popes on Parade
Anno 2001 - 2100
John Paul II
Born 18 May 1920 in Wadowice, Poland. In his early days Karol Wojtyła was a poet, an actor, and a conscripted labourer during the Second World War. As the outspoken bishop of Krakov, he was a brilliant theologian and writer. When he was elected, he was the first non-Italian Pope in over four centuries.
Throughout his pontificate, John Paul II fought communism, unbridled capitalism, and political oppression. Always he preached peace.
His was a papacy of superlatives:
In addition, he wrote 12 encyclicals and published a new catechism.
He survived an assassination attempt early in his pontificate (1981). In his later years, he suffered greatly from Parkinson's disease.
Joseph Alois Ratzinger
Born 17 April 1927 in Marktl am Inn in Bavaria, Germany. Conscripted into the Hitler Youth and later into the Wehrmacht during the Second World War. He deserted from the army in 1945 and spent some time in an American Prisoner-of-War camp prior to entering seminary.
Described as a subtle thinker with a deep understanding of tradition, the bookish Joseph Ratzinger taught theology and served as bishop of Munich prior his appointment as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1981.
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