Darkness can only be scattered by light, hatred can only be conquered by love
In 1978, Karol Józef Wojtyła was elected Pope. Unusually, he was the second Pope to be elected that year: the first, Pope John Paul had died after only 33 days as Pontiff.
In honour of his predecessor, the new pope adopted the name, becoming Pope John Paul II. His own tenure as head of the Roman Catholic church would last much longer than that of the previous Pope John Paul. When he died in 2005, his 27-year papacy was the second longest in history.
John Paul II was also unique in other ways. He was Polish and the first non-Italian Pope since the 1520s. In 1981, the Pope was wounded after being shot four times in an assassination attempt, while greeting the crowds in St Peter’s Square.
The Pope lent his support to the Polish Solidarity movement which fought successfully against Soviet rule in his homeland.
“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,” he said.
In April 2014, Pope John Paul was canonized – made a saint – by Pope Francis at a ceremony held at the Vatican.