Karol Józef Wojtyla was born in 1920 at Wadowice, in Poland. Ordained a priest in 1946, he taught ethics at Kraków and Lublin universities. He was consecrated a bishop in 1958, became archbishop of Kraków in 1964, was a prominent spokesman for the Polish Church at the Second Vatican Council, and was made a cardinal in 1967.
He was named Pope in 1978 as successor of John Paul I, and he was the first non-Italian pope elected since the Dutch Adrian VI (1522-1523) and the first Polish pope. As pope, John Paul II has continued to implement the decisions of the Second Vatican Council. He has traveled widely, increasing the international character of the papacy and improving relations with other religions. He kept a conservative approach on issues relating to women and life defense. In 1981 and 1991, John Paul issued two encyclicals on social issues and he actively addressed the problem of the pace in the world.
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