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John Paul II (1920–2005)

John Paul II was the 262nd pope of the Roman Catholic Church (1978–2005). He was the first Polish pope and the first non-Italian to be elected Bishop of Rome in 455 years (since the Dutch pope Hadrian VI, 1522–1523). At age 58, he was the youngest man to be elected to the office and had the second longest pontificate after Pius IX in 1846. He was born Karol Wojtyla on May 18, 1920, in the small working-class town of Wadowice. As a student, he was both a poet and an actor, a talent he used to his advantage in his time as a media figure on the world stage. A devout young Catholic, he worked as a laborer during World War II. By 1942, Wojtyla ...

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