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    Poles commemorate the death of Pope John Paul II

    April 2nd marked the 14th anniversary of the death of Pope John Paul II. The first Polish pope, was also the first non-Italian pope in 400 years when elected in 1978.
    He contributed greatly to the fall of communism in the Soviet block together with US President Ronald Reagan & UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

    Pope John Paul II was born as Karol Józef Wojtyła on 18 May 1920 and served as the head of the Catholic Church from 1978 to 2005. Apart from the role played in defeating communism behind the Iron Curtain, John Paul II is remembered for his focus on econumism which helped the Catholic Church to improve its relations with the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Anglican Church. The Polish Pope held conservative views on the Church’s teachings on matters such as contraception, the ordination of women and abortion. John Paul II was the most travelled Pope in history, having visited 129 countries during his pontificate and is remembered for placing a special emphasis on the well-being of children and young adults. To strenghten the bonds between young Catholics, Pope John Paul II initiated the World Youth Day in 1985, bringing together hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of young Catholics in a new place and country every year. By his compatriots, the Polish Pope remains one of the most respected and loved Poles to have ever lived. 



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