John Paul II (Karol Wojtyla) (1920-2005) was Pope from 1978, the first non-Italian to be elected pope since 1522.
He was born near Krakow, Poland. He has been criticized for his upholding of the tradition of papal infallibility and condemnation of artificial contraception, women priests, married priests, and modern dress for monks and nuns. He has warned against involvement of priests in political activity.
In 1939, at the beginning of World War II, Wojtyla was conscripted for forced labour by the Germans, working in quarries and a chemical factory, but from 1942 studied for the priesthood at a seminary illegally open in Krakow.
After the war he taught ethics and theology at the universities of Lublin and Krakdw, becoming archhishop of Krakow in 1964. He was made a cardinal in 1967. He was shot and wounded by a Turk in an attempt on his life in 1981.
Why is John Paul II famous?
John Paul II reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church from 1978 until his death in 2005.