Pope John Paul II (1920 – 2005) and The Message of Peace

“When freedom does not have a purpose, when it does not wish to know anything about the rule of law engraved in the hearts of men and women, when it does not listen to the voice of conscience, it turns against humanity and society.”

— Pope John Paul II (1920-2005)

Not just the Christian community but all the peace loving people irrespective of their cast, color and creed around the world mourns over the death of most influential peace loving beloved Pope of the 20th century Pope John Paul II who died on April 2, 2005 in his Vatican apartment at the age of 84.

Earlier in 1981, John Paul nearly didn’t live past his first brush with death when would-be assassin Mehmet Ali Agca opened fire as he rode in an open jeep in St. Peter’s Square. Gravely wounded in the abdomen, John Paul lost consciousness shortly after arriving at Gemelli Polyclinic but with constant care and prayers of his well wishers he survived and survived bravely. But this time he was too fragile to fight with his ailing health.

For years he battled the effects of Parkinson’s disease, but in his last days his condition deteriorated hour by hour hence dragged thousands of his well wishers from across the globe in to the Vatican City where he died of septic shock and an irreversible cardio-circulatory collapse later. News of the pontiff’s death quickly reached around the globe, to churches where prayer services were being held on his death, to the more than 130 countries this most-traveled of all popes had visited and well beyond. It was mentioned in the pre-written Church rules that Pontiff’s body will be laid to rest in the crypt underneath St Peter’s Basilica. However, at the Vatican City, Pope’s burial ceremonies was attended by the world high profile dignitaries’ head of the states and ambassadress who considered late Pope as Globally recognized cum admired Pope by all the sects.

In the light of catholic constitution, the conclave to elect a new Pope will start in 15 to 20 days, with almost 120 cardinals from around the world gathering in the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel to choose a successor. There is no favorite candidate to take over.

Born on May 18 1920, Karol Wojtyla (late Pope John Paul II) the son of an army sergeant Karol Wojtyła was elevated to the papacy on October 16, 1978 at the age of 58, also the youngest non-Italian pontiff ordained in the 20th century. Grew up in the southern Polish village His mother Emilia Kaczorowska and brother died before he was 14. Fond of soccer and skiing possessed great affection with acting and theatre. As a pope he became the third longest pontiff in history, having served 25 years and five months in office on March 14, 2004. Graduated from Marcin Wadowita high school in Wadowice, he also attended Cracow’s Jagiellonian University in 1938 and in a school for drama.

When German tanks invaded Poland and Nazi occupation closed the literary institute in 1939, to earn livelihood karol had to worked in quarry and chemical factory. Later in 1942 he began courses in the clandestine seminary of Cracow run by archbishop of Cracow. Immediately after World War II he continued his studies until his priestly ordination in Cracow on November 1, 1946. While he worked in Rome under the guidance of French dominion, he finished his doctorate in theology in 1948 with a thesis on the topic of faith in the works of St. John of the Cross.

From the period of 1953 to 1958, he defended a thesis on "evaluation of the possibility of founding a Catholic ethic on the ethical system of Max Scheler, became professor of moral theology and social ethics in the major seminary of Cracow, was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Cracow and later was consecrated in Wawel Cathedral, Cracow, became nominated Archbishop of Cracow by Pope Paul VI, who made him a cardinal.

Whether it is politics or economy in each sector of life pope john Paul II pressed the states or statesman to maintain human dignity, social justice and democratic modus operandi to conduct welfare of the people across the globe and this is one of the reason why people out side Christian community considers him as most respectable and highly admired pope ever known. In his opinion “Humanity should question itself, once more, about the absurd and always unfair phenomenon of war, on whose stage of death and pain only remains standing the negotiating table that could and should have prevented it.”

According to Pope John Paul “Social justice cannot be attained by violence. Violence kills what it intends to create.” Ironically his message of peace and for all didn’t get much attention before the head of the states eager to coup d’etat the weaker states for their own power politics or rather new world autocratic order manifesto.

Advocate of the religious freedom with rhetoric moral discipline, Pope John Paul II till his last breath served as the head of the Roman Catholic Church and third longest serving Pope, from 1978 –” 2005; he was also the first non-Italian elected pope in 456 years.

In his 26-year papacy, John Paul made 104 trips outside Italy to 129 nations, going as a pastor to countries including Brazil, where Catholics are the majority, and Japan, where they are a minority. In his view, world as a whole deserves the best incase of peace and security and developed economy along with the religious practices, as he says “As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live.” Despite of his fragile health, from Sarajevo, Yugoslavia, Beirut and Lebanon to African countries and mountaintops he preached the message of love and for all.

Pope John Paul’s principal documents include 14 encyclicals, 15 apostolic exhortations, 11 apostolic constitutions and 45 apostolic letters. The Pope has also published five books: "Crossing the Threshold of Hope" (October 1994); "Gift and Mystery: On the 50th Anniversary of My Priestly Ordination" (November 1996); "Roman Triptych – Meditations", a book of poems (March 2003); "Rise, Let Us Be On Our Way" (May 2004) and "Memory and Identity" (publication spring 2005).

Inter alia, John Paul’s uncompromising bon mot position on morality particularly involving divorce, gender based sensitive issues as well as issues related to outside a traditional marriage, albeit were a constant irritant to the so-called illogical ill-will moderates of the moderns states, he remain committed to the core issues of social justice and moral code of conducts. As he believed regarding things outside the natural norms as outside religion, in his words; “Young people are threatened…by the evil use of advertising techniques that stimulate the natural inclination to avoid hard work by promising the immediate satisfaction of every desire. Hence he maintains the basic primal principles of human affairs on the grounds of morality, religion and reality.

Priesthood is not an easy task not even easy to see how people suffer themselves just to remove sufferings of the others at large, besides adopting the tune of diplomatic perception just to accomplish the task of conveying the religious, social, moral general as well as the welfare aspects of the general masses.

People with such a task are usually considered people away from modernization and liberal view hence considered in chain of conventional lobby. But what makes Pope John Paul II as noted highly admired Pope to the entire generation was his ability to understand the desires of young and old, state and statures; he said “Science can purify religion from error and superstition. Religion can purify science from idolatry and false absolutes,” besides his way of adopting the easiest level of conveying religious moral preaching makes him well known messenger of peace, thus winning millions of hearts leaving traits of accomplishment & unforgettable memoirs to his followers.

In general perception the role of Pope or Pope himself is ponders as somehow slow or boring personae whom people can just seek the solutions of religious affairs. Though this is far from reality especially when we considers the silent yet energetic kind hearted personality of late John Paul known as passionate hiker, a skier an indefatigable.

It is an undeniable fact that guidance is required by any community not just to recall the religious moral and social codes of conducts but for establishing or maintaining the safety and security for existing lives and for the posterity, preaching but effective, productive vis-à-vis progressive preaching works as a revives life and society as a whole, hence who ever is indulge in such kind of revival business will be quoted add infinitum. In case of Pope John Paul II, he did the same job of elevating the message of peace consequently not just Christian catholic but the peace lovers of the entire world will recall him as Pope with distinct cum deliberate Personality.

Pope John Paul II by most for the charisma and the indelible images will be remembered as one of the greatest communicators and most influential figures of modern times including his role in the collapse of communism in Europe in 1989 and his unyielding defence of traditional Vatican doctrines as leader of the world’s 1.1 billion Catholics. Throughout his life, John Paul supports the advocacy of genuinely free, democratic, just and humane society with religious freedom and ethical code of conducts. Therefore, pope like John Paul will be remembered in good books in the history of papacy in supporting humanity as he wisely depicted once that “From now on it is only through a conscious choice and through a deliberate policy that humanity can survive.”