Blessed Pope John Paul II
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- Early Years: 1920 - 1946
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From Cardinal to Chair of Peter to Grain of Wheat
Deacon Keith Fournier
The Bishop Becomes a Prince of the Church
Karol Cardinal Wojtyla's was selected as a Cardinal by Pope Paul VI in 1967. In March of 1976, he was invited to give a Lenten retreat to the aging Pope. The talks became a book of deep spiritual insights and reflections entitled "Sign of Contradiction." He was chosen by the late Pope to be his representative to the International Eucharistic Congress held in the United States in July of 1976, the Nation's bicentennial. It would be the beginning of a deep and enduring friendship with the American people.
Champion of the Dignity of Life and Love
Cardinal Wojtyla had a deep conviction of the importance of Pope Paul VI's Encyclical Letter Humanae Vitae, On Human Life, published in 1968. It was about more than the regulation of birth and issues of contraception; it was about the dignity of the human person and human love in the Divine Plan. Sadly, the letter became a rallying point for some who chose to dissent. However, Karol Cardinal Wojtyla's work in theological anthropology, his development of a theology of marriage and family, and his Wednesday Catechetical Instructions (later compiled as "Human Love in the Divine Plan" and popularly called the "Theology of the Body") as Pope, clearly built upon this important Encyclical letter of Paul VI and have ensured its lasting effects.
From Cardinal to the Chair of Peter
The death of Pope Paul VI on August 6, 1978, the Feast of the Transfiguration, brought Cardinal Wojtyla to Rome where he participated in the Conclave which elected Cardinal Albino Luciani of Venice as Pope. The gentle smiling Pope took the name John Paul I to represent his commitment to continuity with the pontificates of both of his predecessors and the Council which they presided over. Sadly, 33 days later Pope John Paul I died in office. 1978 then became the year of three Popes. Karol Cardinal Wojtyla soon heard the Lord call him to an assignment he probably never expected when he studied for the priesthood in an underground seminary in Poland.
On October 16, 1978, the Cardinals gathered under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and chose Karol Cardinal Wojtyla as the 263rd successor to the Apostle Peter. He took the name John Paul II as his first teaching act, sending the signal of continuity. He stepped out on to the balcony in St. Peters Square and proclaimed: "Be Not Afraid! Open up, no; swing wide the gates to Christ. Open up to his saving power the confines of the State, open up economic and political systems, the vast empires of culture, civilization and development... Be not afraid!"
Pope John Paul II Begins his Service
Affirmed by many as one of the chief architects of the Second Vatican Council and its extraordinary document on the relationship of the Church to the "modern" world" (entitled "Joy and Hope" or "Gaudium et Spes" in Latin), this strong, passionate, charismatic priest and Bishop now occupied the chair of Peter. At a critical time in the history of both the Church and the world, he stepped forward like a lion, with a prophetic roar. He strode onto that platform with strength and vitality.
This mountain climbing Polish Pope was so filled with the love of God it was contagious. A talented and gifted "man of letters", a playwright, a philosopher, an intellectual giant, a poet, but more importantly, a genuine human being with a heart that embraced the whole world, like the Heart of the One whom he represents on earth. He truly has been the "Vicar of Christ", representing the Lord, the King of Kings, for so many millions throughout the world.
Pope of Freedom and Fidelity
Like a lion in Peter's chair, he consistently and tirelessly lived what he boldly proclaimed with great courage. Unafraid, he traversed the globe, proclaiming freedom to the captives and truth to the victims of failed false ideologies that had ravaged the people of the twentieth century, the bloodiest in all of human history. He has not stopped passionately re-presenting the classical, unchanging, Christian message with a prophetic urgency, profound clarity and contemporary relevance.
Prolific and Courageous
Communism, atheism, secularism, false humanisms... have now all been exposed in both their empty promises and the horrors that they unleashed in the wake of their false utopian claims. This Pope proclaimed that the "Redeemer of Man" (the title of his first encyclical letter), Jesus Christ, is the path to authentic personal, social and universal freedom! He authored more encyclical letters, apostolic exhortations, constitutions and letters than any Pope in the two thousand year history of the Christian Church. In these writings and so many allocutions, this marvelous man has given us a treasury to unpack for centuries.
Blessed John Paul's Themes
He meticulously and brilliantly developed themes during his service to the Church and the world. Among them; "The Culture of Life", "The Civilization of Love", "The New Evangelization", "The New Springtime of world missions ", "The Universal Call to holiness"; "Christian Marriage and family life as a domestic church"; "A Spirituality of Communion"; "The Theology of the Body"; "The Common Good"; "The Unity of Life"; "The New Humanism"; "The New feminism and the Feminine Genius"; "The Two Lungs of East and West"; " Catholic Action", and a "New Advent" for all of humanity in Jesus Christ.
Blessed John Paul's Magisterium
His writings were vast, 14 Encyclicals, 15 Apostolic Exhortations, 11 Apostolic Constitutions, 45 Apostolic Letters and five books, "Crossing the Threshold of Hope" (October 1994), "Gift and Mystery, on the fiftieth anniversary of my ordination as priest" (November 1996), "Roman Triptych" poetic meditations (March 2003), "Arise, Let us Be Going" (May 2004) and "Memory and Identity" (February 2005). He promulgated the Catechism of the Catholic Church. He reformed the Eastern and Western Codes of Canon Law. He was an extraordinary Pope on every front.
His magisterium set a framework for what is becoming under his successor, Pope Benedict XVI, a new missionary age. His teaching helped to bring about an authentic renewal of the Church. It also reasserted the mission of the Church to engage and transform human culture, including the arts, politics, the academy, and economic and political realm - because no area of human experience is "off-limits" to the influence of the Gospel and the Church. The Church is, in the words of the Fathers of the second Vatican Council, an "expert in humanity".
Blessed John Paul the Evangelist
Blessed Pope John Paul II called all men and women to the Redeemer, Jesus Christ. He reminded us that only in Jesus Christ can we discover the purpose and fulfillment of human life. He proclaimed that human existence itself is an invitation to communion with God and with one another. He told an age bent of "self fulfillment" that true human fulfillment only comes from giving ourselves in love to God and to one another. He called us to live a unity of life, wherein the implications of the Christian faith inform the entirety of life with no contradiction or separation.
An Apostle of Life
He confronted, exposed and opposed the "culture of death", wherein the human person is treated as an instrument to be used rather than an unrepeatable gift to be received. He proposed a different way, building a new "culture of life" where every human person, at every age and stage, is recognized as having an inviolable dignity and right to life, freedom and love.
A Promoter of Peace
He charted a path to peace and solidarity, proclaiming to the nations that we are all our brothers' keeper and that we owe an obligation in solidarity to one another and, most especially, to the poor in all of their manifestations. He wrote of authentic freedom as a freedom "for" and not just a freedom "from", a freedom that must be bounded by truth and lived in accordance with the moral understanding of our obligation to do what is right.
A Champion of Freedom
He exposed what he called in his Encyclical "The Gospel of Life" the "counterfeit notion of freedom" as a raw power over others. He countered the false notion of the autonomy of the individual as the measure of a "freedom" to do whatever one wants by insisting that the path to human flourishing is communion. He proclaimed a new and true humanism, reaffirming that we were created in the Image of God, made for communion. He insisted that through applying the treasury of the social teaching of the Catholic Church - in our relationships with one another, in our families, in our societies, our nations and in the global community - authentic justice and freedom can actually be achieved.
Entrusted for twenty six years with the most important role of service in the Church and the world, Blessed Pope John Paul II was a prophetic Pope in both word and deed. From his first encyclical letter entitled "The Redeemer of Man" to his last, the "Church of the Eucharist", he proclaimed that the truth is, as he wrote in his profound Encyclical Letter on the Moral Life, a "splendor".
A Healer of Divisions
He called for reconciliation among separated Christians in "May They Be One" and a new model of full communion with the Church which is beginning to be implemented under Pope Benedict XVI with the creation of Anglican Ordinariates as an example. With deep love for the "Light of the East" he called Eastern and Western Christianity to rediscover their dependence upon one another in order that the entire Body of Christ might once again breathe with "two lungs" and present the whole Jesus Christ to a world that needs to be liberated. Again, his successor continues the effort with extraordinary promise.
A Man of Living Faith
The oft-repeated paragraph 22 from "Joy and Hope", one of Blessed Pope John Paul's favorite, is a key to understanding his deep faith: "In reality, it is only in the mystery of the word made flesh that the mystery of man truly becomes clear. For Adam, was a type of him who was to come, Christ the lord, Christ the new Adam, in the very revelation of the mystery of the Father and of His love, fully reveals man to himself and brings to light his most high calling."
The Lion becomes a Lamb
He began his pontificate Lion roaring and ended it like a lamb. The once vibrant, strong Pope became frail, sick and physically weak. The giant of a man, who once climbed mountains, mounted the cross of human suffering and, in his frail frame, exercised the authority of his office from a unique chair, still the Chair of Peter, a wheel chair. How fitting for the champion of the weak, the disabled, the elderly, those who have no voice, was finally joined physically to them in order to show the world the truth of the beauty and dignity of every human life.
The Pope who revealed the love of God through years of emptying himself out for the Lord and His people showed us the beauty of a suffering endured in love and offered for others in his last days among us. With decreasing verbal eloquence because his lips stammered from the ravages of Parkinson's disease, he achieved something beyond words; he demonstrated the truth of the Christian message of love by revealing the God who came to suffer for us all in his beautiful silence.
A Seed of a New Springtime
Then he went home to the Father having become a seed of the "New Springtime" he proclaimed. The Lord proclaimed that "unless a grain of wheat fall to the ground..." and when this Pope's prophetic mission on earth was over he joined the Lion of the Tribe of Judah and the Lamb who was slain for our sins. On April 2, at 9.37 p.m., the Octave of Easter and the Vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday, he died, falling to the ground as a grain of wheat in imitation of the Lord whom He loved and served so well.
Life of Blessed Pope John Paul II
Born in Wadowice (Kraków), Poland.
Born in Wadowice (Kraków), Poland.Born in Wadowice (Kraków), Poland.May 18, 1920
Baptized by the military chaplain P. Franciszek Zak.
Baptized into Christ and His Church by a Chaplain in the Polish Army, Fr. Franciszek Zak.Baptized by the military chaplain P. Franciszek Zak.June 20, 1920
Attended the elementary school for boys
Attended the elementary school for boys, and then the prep years of secondary school "Marcin Wadowita" in which during all his classes he achieved the top grades.Attended the elementary school for boysSeptember 15, 1926
His mother dies.
Death of his mother due to heart and kidney problems.His mother dies.April 13, 1929
First Holy Communion
First Holy CommunionFirst Holy CommunionOctober 1, 1929
Admitted to the State Secondary School for boys, "Marcin Wadowita".
Admitted to the State Secondary School for boys, "Marcin Wadowita".Admitted to the State Secondary School for boys, "Marcin Wadowita".June 1, 1930
His brother Edmund dies.
Loss of his childhood occurs with the death of his brother to scarlet fever.His brother Edmund dies.December 5, 1932
Participates in military training exercises at Hermanice.
Participates in military training exercises at Hermanice.Participates in military training exercises at Hermanice.September 1, 1935
Admitted into the Society of Mary.
Admitted into the Society of Mary.Admitted into the Society of Mary.December 14, 1935
Receives the Sacrament of Confirmation.
Receives the Sacrament of Confirmation.Receives the Sacrament of Confirmation.May 1, 1938
Enrolls in the Faculty of Philosophy at Jagellonian University, Kraków.
Enrolls in the Faculty of Philosophy (course of Polish Philosophy) at Jagellonian University, Kraków.Enrolls in the Faculty of Philosophy at Jagellonian University, Kraków.June 22, 1938
He and his father move to Kraków
Young Karol and his father move to Kraków (Via Tyniecka 10).He and his father move to KrakówAugust 1, 1938
University military training
University military training camp at Ozomla, near Sadowa Wiszna for Polish and Ukraine students.University military trainingJuly 1, 1939
Second World War begins.
Second World War begins.Second World War begins.September 1, 1939
Registers for the second year university courses in Literature and Philosophy.
Registers for the second year university courses in Literature and Philosophy.Registers for the second year university courses in Literature and Philosophy.November 2, 1939
His father dies.
His father dies.His father dies.February 18, 1941
Escaped Gestapo round by hiding in his uncle's basement.
Escaped Gestapo round by hiding in his uncle's basement.Escaped Gestapo round by hiding in his uncle's basement.August 6, 1944
The Russian Armed Forces free Kraków from Nazi occupation.
The Russian Armed Forces free Kraków from Nazi occupation.The Russian Armed Forces free Kraków from Nazi occupation.January 18, 1945
Ordained a priest.
Ordained a priest. As on the preceding occasions, he received Holy Orders from the hands of Archbishop Metropolitan Adam Sapieha in his private chapel.Ordained a priest.November 1, 1946
Celebrates his first Mass in the crypt of St. Leonard at Wavel.
Celebrates his first Mass in the crypt of St. Leonard at Wavel.Celebrates his first Mass in the crypt of St. Leonard at Wavel.November 2, 1946
Leaves Poland to begin studies in Rome.
Leaves Poland to begin studies in Rome.Leaves Poland to begin studies in Rome.November 15, 1946
Earns a master's degree in theology at the Jagellonian University in Kraków
Earns a master's degree in theology at the Jagellonian University in Kraków (1942-1946). Earns a doctorate in sacred theology in the Faculty of Theology at the Jagellonian University with highest marks.Earns a master's degree in theology at the Jagellonian University in KrakówDecember 16, 1948
Recalled to Kraków to be assistant pastor at St. Florian's.
Recalled to Kraków to be assistant pastor at St. Florian's.Recalled to Kraków to be assistant pastor at St. Florian's.August 5, 1949
Archbishop Baziak puts him on leave
Archbishop Baziak puts him on leave (until 1953) to complete his qualifying exams for a university position. Up until now he served as a chaplain to the university students (in St. Florian's) and for health workers.Archbishop Baziak puts him on leaveSeptember 1, 1951
Gives course in Catholic social ethics for Jagellonian University students
Gives a course in Catholic social ethics for the students of fourth year theology at the Jagellonian University.Gives course in Catholic social ethics for Jagellonian University studentsOctober 1, 1953
Completes qualifying exams with thesis on the "ethical system of Max Scheler".
Completes his qualifying exams by presenting his thesis on the "ethical system of Max Scheler".Completes qualifying exams with thesis on the "ethical system of Max Scheler".December 1, 1953
Faculty of Theology at the Jagellonian University abolished,
Faculty of Theology at the Jagellonian University abolished, this faculty is then organized at the Seminary of Kraków where he continues his studies. Catholic University of Lublin offers him a non-tenured professorship which he accepts.Faculty of Theology at the Jagellonian University abolished,January 1, 1954
Appointed to the Chair of Ethics at the Catholic University of Lublin.
Appointed to the Chair of Ethics at the Catholic University of Lublin.Appointed to the Chair of Ethics at the Catholic University of Lublin.December 1, 1956
The Central Qualifying Committee approves his appointment as free docent.
The Central Qualifying Committee approves his appointment as free docent.The Central Qualifying Committee approves his appointment as free docent.November 15, 1957
Appointed Auxiliary Bishop to Archbishop Baziak of Kraków.
Appointed Auxiliary Bishop to Archbishop Mons. Eugeniusz Baziak of Kraków.Appointed Auxiliary Bishop to Archbishop Baziak of Kraków.July 4, 1958
Ordained Bishop in the Cathedral of Wavel.
Ordained Bishop in the Cathedral of Wavel.Ordained Bishop in the Cathedral of Wavel.September 28, 1958
After the death of Archbishop Baziak, named Vicar Capitular.
After the death of Archbishop Baziak, named Vicar Capitular.After the death of Archbishop Baziak, named Vicar Capitular.July 16, 1962
Participates in the II Session of the Second Vatican Council.
Participates in the II Session of the Second Vatican Council.Participates in the II Session of the Second Vatican Council.October 6, 1963
Designated Metropolitan Bishop of Kraków.
Designated Metropolitan Bishop of Kraków.Designated Metropolitan Bishop of Kraków.December 30, 1963
Archbishop Wojtyla is made President of Apostolate of the Laity
Episcopal Commission for the Apostolate of the Laity is established; Archbishop Wojtyla is made President.Archbishop Wojtyla is made President of Apostolate of the LaityDecember 29, 1966
Karol Wojtyla named Cardinal elect
Paul VI announces the next Consistory. Among the names of the new Cardinals elect is that of Karol Wojtyla.Karol Wojtyla named Cardinal electMay 29, 1967
Consecrated Cardinal in the Sistine Chapel, by Pope Paul VI
Consecrated Cardinal in the Sistine Chapel, by Pope Paul VI - titular S. Cesareo in Palatio.Consecrated Cardinal in the Sistine Chapel, by Pope Paul VIJune 26, 1967
Takes possession of the titular Church, S. Cesareo in Palatio, Rome.
Takes possession of the titular Church, S. Cesareo in Palatio, Rome.Takes possession of the titular Church, S. Cesareo in Palatio, Rome.February 18, 1968
Vice-President of the Episcopal Conference
Approval of the statutes of the Episcopal Conference; Cardinal Wojtyla is Vice-President of the Conference.Vice-President of the Episcopal ConferenceMarch 15, 1969
The Polish Theological Society publishes "The Acting Person"
The Polish Theological Society (PTT) of Krakow publishes "The Acting Person" (Osoba i cyzn).The Polish Theological Society publishes "The Acting Person"December 1, 1969
Is elected to the Council of the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops.
Is elected to the Council of the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops.Is elected to the Council of the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops.October 5, 1971
Card. Wojtyla presides over the Polish delegation
Card. Wojtyla presides over the Polish delegation at the international conference in Rome for the preparations of the new Apostolic Constitution for Ecclesiastical Studies.Card. Wojtyla presides over the Polish delegationNovember 22, 1976
Receives a doctorate "honoris causa" from Johannes Guttenberg University
Receives a doctorate "honoris causa" from Johannes Guttenberg University, Mainz.Receives a doctorate "honoris causa" from Johannes Guttenberg UniversityJune 23, 1977
Present at the funeral of Paul VI.
Present at the funeral of Paul VI.Present at the funeral of Paul VI.August 11, 1978
John Paul I is elected Pope
John Paul I (Albino Luciani) is elected Pope.John Paul I is elected PopeAugust 26, 1978
Funeral of Pope John Paul I
Leaves for the funeral of Pope John Paul I.Funeral of Pope John Paul IOctober 3, 1978
Cardinal Karol Wojtyla is elected 264th Pope at approximately 5:15 p.m
Cardinal Karol Wojtyla is elected 264th Pope at approximately 5:15 p.m. He is the 263rd Successor of Peter.Cardinal Karol Wojtyla is elected 264th Pope at approximately 5:15 p.mOctober 16, 1978
Takes first trip abroad
Takes first trip abroad, to Dominican Republic, Mexico and the Bahamas.Takes first trip abroadJanuary 25, 1979
Pope says Mass at the site of the Birkenau concentration camp, Auschwitz
The pope says Mass at the site of the Birkenau concentration camp, the largest of 36 camps in a complex known collectively as Auschwitz.Pope says Mass at the site of the Birkenau concentration camp, AuschwitzJune 7, 1979
John Paul II visits the United States for the first time as pope.
John Paul II visits the United States for the first time as pope and addresses the United Nations General Assembly in New York.John Paul II visits the United States for the first time as pope.September 29, 1979
Pope is shot in the abdomen by a young Turk named Mehmet Ali Agca.
Pope John Paul II is shot in the abdomen and hand in St. Peter's Square and seriously wounded. Mehmet Ali Agca, a Turk, is arrested. The pope spends 22 days in a hospital.Pope is shot in the abdomen by a young Turk named Mehmet Ali Agca.May 13, 1981
Spanish priest lunges at the pope with a bayonet in Fatima, Portugal
A Spanish priest lunges at the pope with a bayonet during the first day of a papal trip to Fatima, Portugal. John Paul is unhurt.Spanish priest lunges at the pope with a bayonet in Fatima, PortugalMay 12, 1982
Calls for the heads of government to end to the arms race
Calls for the heads of government of the United States and the Soviet Union to negotiate an end to the arms race.Calls for the heads of government to end to the arms raceSeptember 29, 1983
Meets with and forgives his would-be assassin, Mehmet Ali Agca
The pope meets with and forgives his would-be assassin, Mehmet Ali Agca, in prison in Rome.Meets with and forgives his would-be assassin, Mehmet Ali AgcaDecember 27, 1983
The United States and the Vatican establish full diplomatic relations.
The United States and the Vatican establish full diplomatic relations.The United States and the Vatican establish full diplomatic relations.January 10, 1984
Historic visit to Rome's main synagogue
John Paul II prays at Rome's main synagogue, the first ever recorded visit of a pope to a synagogue.Historic visit to Rome's main synagogueApril 13, 1986
Official visit of U.S. President Ronald Reagan.
Official visit of U.S. President Ronald Reagan.Official visit of U.S. President Ronald Reagan.June 6, 1987
Official visit of U.S. President George H.W. Bush.
Official visit of U.S. President George H.W. Bush.Official visit of U.S. President George H.W. Bush.May 27, 1989
Receives Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev at the Vatican
Receives Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev at the Vatican in the first ever meeting between a pope and a Kremlin chief.Receives Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev at the VaticanDecember 1, 1989
Issues first encyclical on social issues.
Issues first encyclical on social issues since the fall of communism in Europe, giving qualified approval to capitalism but warning rich against taking advantage of poor.Issues first encyclical on social issues.May 1, 1991
Agreement signed establishing formal diplomatic ties between Israel and Vatican.
Agreement signed establishing formal diplomatic ties between Israel and Vatican.
Agreement signed establishing formal diplomatic ties between Israel and Vatican.December 30, 1993
John Paul II reaffirms the church's opposition to female priests
John Paul II reaffirms the church's opposition to female priests in a letter to bishops, writing that the church "has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the church's faithful."John Paul II reaffirms the church's opposition to female priestsMay 30, 1994
Publishes his book, Crossing the Threshold of Hope.
Publishes his book, Crossing the Threshold of Hope.Publishes his book, Crossing the Threshold of Hope.October 20, 1994
Issues encyclical "Gospel of Life," and condemns spreading "culture of death"
Issues encyclical "Gospel of Life," and condemns spreading "culture of death," including abortion, euthanasia, experimentation on human embryos. The statement comes in the 11th encyclical -- a special letter reserved for matters of extreme importance to the church -- of John Paul's papacy.Issues encyclical "Gospel of Life," and condemns spreading "culture of death"March 25, 1995
Meets with Cuban President Fidel Castro.
Meets with Cuban President Fidel Castro.Meets with Cuban President Fidel Castro.November 19, 1996
Vatican issues We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah, or Holocaust
Vatican issues We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah, or Holocaust, expressing remorse for the cowardice of some Christians during World War II but defending the actions of wartime Pope Pius XII.Vatican issues We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah, or HolocaustMarch 16, 1998
Celebrates 20th anniversary as pope, asking for prayers to fulfill his mission
Celebrates 20th anniversary as pope, asking for prayers to fulfill his mission "until the end."Celebrates 20th anniversary as pope, asking for prayers to fulfill his missionOctober 18, 1998
Gives permission to start the cause of beatification for Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
Gives permission to start the cause of beatification for Mother Teresa of Calcutta.Gives permission to start the cause of beatification for Mother Teresa of Calcutta.March 1, 1999
Mehmet Ali Agca is granted clemency & extradited to Turkey
Mehmet Ali Agca, who attempted to assassinate John Paul II in 1981, is granted clemency by Italian President Carlo Ciampi, and extradited to his native Turkey.Mehmet Ali Agca is granted clemency & extradited to TurkeyJune 13, 2000
Receives U.S. President George W. Bush.
Receives U.S. President George W. Bush.Receives U.S. President George W. Bush.May 28, 2002
A top Vatican official confirms pope has Parkinson's disease.
A top Vatican official publicly acknowledges for the first time what observers have suspected for a decade -- that John Paul II suffers from Parkinson's disease. The pope had long showed signs of Parkingson's, including slurred speech and trembling.A top Vatican official confirms pope has Parkinson's disease.May 17, 2003
U.S. President George W. Bush awards pontiff the Medal of Freedom.
U.S. President George W. Bush awards pontiff the Medal of Freedom.U.S. President George W. Bush awards pontiff the Medal of Freedom.June 4, 2004
The pope breathes heavily and gasps during an open-air Mass in Lourdes, France
The pope breathes heavily and gasps during an open-air Mass in Lourdes, France, during one of just two foreign trips during the year.The pope breathes heavily and gasps during an open-air Mass in Lourdes, FranceAugust 15, 2004
Rushed to a hospital in Rome with flu and difficulties breathing.
Rushed to a hospital in Rome with flu and difficulties breathing.Rushed to a hospital in Rome with flu and difficulties breathing.February 1, 2005
Returns to hospital after a relapse of the flu; undergoes a tracheotomy
Returns to hospital after a relapse of the flu; undergoes a tracheotomy to ease his breathing.Returns to hospital after a relapse of the flu; undergoes a tracheotomyFebruary 24, 2005
Vatican announces John Paul II has a high fever as a result of urinary tract infection
The Vatican announces that John Paul II has a high fever as a result of a urinary tract infection. He later suffers septic shock, meaning that bacteria had spread from his urinary tract to his blood, poisoning his blood stream and causing his blood vessels to collapse. The pope receives the sacrament for the sick and dying, formerly known as the last rites.Vatican announces John Paul II has a high fever as a result of urinary tract infectionMarch 31, 2005
Pope John Paul II dies at 84.
Pope John Paul II dies at 9:37 p.m. of septic shock and cardio-circulatory collapse. He was 84.Pope John Paul II dies at 84.April 2, 2005