Pope John Paul II

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For an adequate formation of a culture, the involvement of the whole man is required, whereby he exercises his creativity, intelligence, and knowledge of the world and of people. (1991-05-05)

Pope John Paul II, Karol Józef Wojtyła (born 1920-05-18 in Wadowice, Poland, died 2005-04-02 in Vatican City), was Pope — the Bishop of Rome and head of the Roman Catholic Church. He was elected on 1978-10-16, becoming the first non-Italian pope in 455 years and the first pope of Slavic origin in the history of the Church.


  • Faced with today's problems and disappointments, many people will try to escape from their responsibility. Escape in selfishness, escape in sexual pleasure, escape in drugs, escape in violence, escape in indifference and cynical attitudes. I propose to you the option of love, which is the opposite of escape."
    • Said during his first visit to the US in 1979. Source
  • "This people draws its origin from Abraham, our father in faith The very people that received from God the commandment Thou shalt not kill itself experienced in a special measure what is meant by killing. It is not permissible for anyone to pass by this inscription with indifference."
    • Before the Hebrew inscription commemorating the Jews killed at the Auschwitz concentration camp. (1979)
  • My dear ones, I will not make a comparative analysis. I will only say that it is what costs that constitutes value. It is not, in fact, possible to be truly free without an honest and profound relationship with values. We do not want a Poland which costs us nothing.
    • Speech made before w:Solidarity members whilst visiting Poland for the third time (1983)
  • "The Jewish religion is not extrinsic to us but in a certain way intrinsic to our own religion. With Judaism, therefore, we have a relationship which we do not have with any other religion. You are our dearly beloved brothers, and, in a certain way, it can be said that you are our elder brothers."
    • Visiting a Jewish synagogue in Rome. (1986)
  • "Science develops best when its concepts and conclusions are integrated into the broader human culture and its concerns for ultimate meaning and value. Scientists cannot, therefore, hold themselves entirely aloof from the sorts of issues dealt with by philosophers and theologians. By devoting to these issues something of the energy and care they give to their research in science, they can help others realize more fully the human potentialities of their discoveries. They can also come to appreciate for themselves that these discoveries cannot be a genuine substitute for knowledge of the truly ultimate. Science can purify religion from error and superstition; religion can purify science from idolatry and false absolutes. Each can draw the other into a wider world, a world in which both can flourish."
    • Letter to the Reverend George V. Coyne, S.J., Director of the Vatican Observatory (1988-06-01)
  • "All human activity takes place within a culture and interacts with culture. For an adequate formation of a culture, the involvement of the whole man is required, whereby he exercises his creativity, intelligence, and knowledge of the world and of people. Furthermore, he displays his capacity for self-control, personal sacrifice, solidarity and readiness to promote the common good."
  • "Man is called to a fullness of life which far exceeds the dimensions of his earthly existence, because it consists in sharing the very life of God. The loftiness of this supernatural vocation reveals the greatness and the inestimable value of human life even in its temporal phase."
    • Evangelium vitae, Introduction, (1995)
  • "You applaud, even though you don't understand me."
    • Quipped by the pope during a mass in Central Park, New York City after he recited a prayer in Polish to the applauding English-speaking crowd (October, 1995)
  • "Never again war. Never again hatred and intolerance."
  • "Not all are called to be artists in the specific sense of the term. Yet, as Genesis has it, all men and women are entrusted with the task of crafting their own life: in a certain sense, they are to make of it a work of art, a masterpiece."
  • "We Christians joyfully recognize the religious values we have in common with Islam. Today I would like to repeat what I said to young Muslims some years ago in Casablanca: 'We believe in the same God, the one God, the living God, the God who created the world and brings his creatures to their perfection.'"
  • "The exploration of both the micro and the macro cosmos, is a song to God’s glory, which is reflected in everything in the universe."
    • Jubilee Address to Men and Women from the World of Learning Rome (2000-05-25)
  • "Science shines forth in all its value as a good capable of motivating our existence, as a great experience of freedom for truth, as a fundamental work of service. Through research each scientist grows as a human being and helps others to do likewise."
    • Address to the members of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (2000-11-13)
  • "We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has ever experienced. I do not think the wide circle of the American Society, or the wide circle of the Christian Community realise this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the antichurch, between the Gospel and the antigospel, between Christ and the antichrist. This confrontation lies within the plans of Divine Providence. It is, therefore, in God's Plan, and it must be a trial which the Church must take up, and face courageously."
    • From his farewell address in 1976, when as Cardinal Wojtyla of Krakow, he attended the Eucharistic Congress in Philadelphia
  • "God of our fathers, you chose Abraham and his descendants to bring your name to the nations: We are deeply saddened by the behavior of those who in the course of history have caused these children of yours to suffer, and, asking your forgiveness, we wish to commit ourselves to genuine brotherhood with the people of the covenant."
    • Written prayer, placed by John Paul II into the "Wailing Wall" while visiting Jerusalem. (2000)
  • "The twentieth century was the great century of Christian martyrs, and this is true both in the Catholic Church and in other Churches and ecclesial communities."
    • From his book 'Memory & Identity' -Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2005, p.44.
  • "Could I forget that the event [Mehmet Ali Ağca’s assassination attempt] in St. Peter’s Square took place on the day and at the hour when the first appearance of the Mother of Christ to the poor little pesants has been remembered for over sixty years at Fátima, Portugal? For in everything that happened to me on that very day, I felt that extraordinary motherly protection and care, which turned out to be stronger than the deadly bullet."
    • From his book 'Memory & Identity' -Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2005, p.184
  • "I have looked for you. Now you have come to me. And I thank you."
    • Where: In his Papal apartment, Vatican City (2005-04-02)
    • Among the Holy Father's last words in Polish
  • "I am happy and you should be happy too. Do not weep. Let us pray together with joy."
    • Where: In his Papal apartment, Vatican City (2005-04-02)
      • Among the Holy Father's last words, dictated to his secretary in Polish
  • Amen.
    • Where: In his Papal apartment, Vatican City (2005-04-02)
      • This word is the final word before his death
  • Let me go to my Father's house.
    • Last Words
  • "As in the time of the swords and of the spears,so today,in the time of the missiles,before the weapon,the heart of the man kills"
    • Where:from the speech to the scientists gathered in the seminars of Erice about nuclear wars,1981



  • "The historical experience of socialist countries has sadly demonstrated that collectivism does not do away with alienation but rather increases it, adding to it a lack of basic necessities and economic inefficiency." Centesimus Annus, 1991


  • "Do not be afraid to open your heart to Jesus... I'm begging you, please do not be afraid."
  • Anything done for another is done for oneself.
  • Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.
  • From now on it is only through a conscious choice and through a deliberate policy that humanity can survive.
  • Man always travels along precipices. His truest obligation is to keep his balance.
  • Stupidity is also a gift of God, but one mustn't misuse it.
  • Do not lose heart! The steeper the road the faster it rises toward ever wider horizons.
  • The future starts today, not tomorrow.
  • Darkness can only be scattered by light, hatred can only be conquered by love.
  • The worst prison would be a closed heart.
  • 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.
  • When you wonder about the mystery of yourself, look to Christ, who gives you the meaning of life. When you wonder what it means to be a mature person, look to Christ, who is the fulfillness of humanity. And when you wonder about your role in the future of the world look to Christ.
  • Where self-interest is suppressed, it is replaced by a burdensome system of bureaucratic control that dries up the wellspring of initiative and creativity.


  • Modern Society will find no solution to the ecological problem unless it takes a serious look at its lifestyles.
  • Once again, through myself, the Church, in the words of the well-known declaration Nostra Aetate, "deplores the hatred, persecutions and displays of anti-Semitism directed against the Jews at any time and by anyone." I repeat, "By anyone."
  • One discovers the common values of every culture, capable of uniting and not dividing.
  • Pervading nationalism imposes its dominion on man today in many different forms and with an aggressiveness that spares no one. The challenge that is already with us is the temptation to accept as true freedom what in reality is only a new form of slavery.
  • Radical changes in world politics leave America with a heightened responsibility to be, for the world, an example of a genuinely free, democratic, just and humane society.
  • The historical experience of socialist countries has sadly demonstrated that collectivism does not do away with alienation but rather increases it, adding to it a lack of basic necessities and economic inefficiency.
  • The Holy Land needs bridges, not walls.
  • Today, for the first time in history, a Bishop of Rome sets foot on English soil. This fair land, once a distant outpost of the pagan world, has become, through the preaching of the Gospel, a beloved and gifted portion of Christ's vineyard.
  • Where self-interest is suppressed, it is replaced by a burdensome system of bureaucratic control that dries up the wellspring of initiative and creativity.
  • 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.
  • Fidelity to roots does not mean a mechanical copying of the patterns of the past. Fidelity to roots is always creative, ready to descend into the depths, open to new challenges. [1]
  • Young people of Ireland, I love you!
  • Like Saint Patrick, I have heard the call of the Irish.
    • Famous words of the Pope on his visit to Ireland in 1979.


  • As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live.
  • Marriage is an act of will that signifies and involves a mutual gift, which unites the spouses and binds them to their eventual souls, with whom they make up a sole family - a domestic church.
  • To maintain a joyful family requires much from both the parents and the children. Each member of the family has to become, in a special way, the servant of the others.
  • The fear of making permanent commitments can change the mutual love of husband and wife into two loves of self-two loves existing side by side, until they end in separation.
  • The great danger for family life, in the midst of any society whose idols are pleasure, comfort and independence, lies in the fact that people close their hearts and become selfish.
  • The cemetery of the victims of human cruelty in our century is extended to include yet another vast cemetery, that of the unborn.


  • Humanity should question itself, once more, about the absurd and always unfair phenomenon of war, on whose stage of death and pain only remain standing the negotiating table that could and should have prevented it.
  • The United Nations organization has proclaimed 1979 as the Year of the Child. Are the children to receive the arms race from us as a necessary inheritance?
  • Social justice cannot be attained by violence. Violence kills what it intends to create.
  • Violence and war can never resolve the problems of men.
    • Variant: Violence and arms can never resolve the problems of men.
  • War is a defeat for humanity.
  • Wars generally do not resolve the problems for which they are fought and therefore... prove ultimately futile.
  • War should belong to the tragic past, to history: it should find no place on humanity's agenda for the future.


  • The vow of celibacy is a matter of keeping one's word to Christ and the Church. a duty and a proof of the priest's inner maturity; it is the expression of his personal dignity.
  • You are priests, not social or political leaders. Let us not be under the illusion that we are serving the Gospel through an exaggerated interest in the wide field of temporal problems.
  • I declare and ordain, by virtue of my apostolic authority, that the Church has no authority whatsoever to ordain women to the sacred orders and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful.


  • Man matures through work. Which inspires him to difficult good.
  • Work bears a particular mark of man and of humanity, the mark of a person operating within a community of persons.


  • I have a sweet tooth for song and music. This is my Polish sin.
  • I hope to have communion with the people, that is the most important thing.


  • An excuse is worse and more terrible than a lie, for an excuse is a lie guarded.
    • Actually attributed to Alexander Pope, the English poet of the 18th Century
  • God endowed [the human race] with capacity to attain to the inaccessible and invisible Supreme Good and behold it face to face.
  • Hands are the heart's landscape.
  • Have no fear of moving into the unknown. Simply step out fearlessly knowing that I am with you, therefore no harm can befall you; all is very, very well. Do this in complete faith and confidence.
  • I kiss the soil as if I placed a kiss on the hands of a mother, for the homeland is our earthly mother. I consider it my duty to be with my compatriots in this sublime and difficult moment.
  • It is not credible that any one should possess so little understanding as to desire the faith and yet be destitute of the most necessary faculty to enable him to receive it.
  • The question confronting the Church today is not any longer whether the man in the street can grasp a religious message, but how to employ the communications media so as to let him have the full impact of the Gospel message.
  • 'The truth is not always the same as the majority decision.
  • The Catholic Church cannot be an association of free-thinkers. CBN
  • We do not live, love, or die for practice.


  • John Paul II won't stay away from us. His name became part of our history, his thoughts will be an always present inspiration to build a more fair country and a more peaceful world for all of us.
  • This is a man who has carried the moral weight of the world for 26 years... turning himself into the only moral reference for humanity in recent years of wars and difficulties.
  • Queen Elizabeth II expressed her "deep sorrow" at the death of Pope John Paul II and remembered his efforts at promoting peace throughout the world. Prime Minister Tony Blair said that the world has lost a religious leader who was "revered across people of all faiths and none".
  • My meeting with His Holiness was one of the strongest moments in my life. He was reflecting an incredible force and a charisma admired by all . He was the Pope of the reconciliation and unit among the countries. For that, he was loved, respected and venerated by everyone. I am sad of his departure, but happy knowing that he does not suffer anymore. He leaves us with a message of courage and love. My prayers and my affection accompany him.
    • Celine Dion

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