On 18 May in 1920, Pope John Paul II – the third-longest serving pontiff of the Catholic Church (and last sainted, on 27 April 2014) – was born Karol Wojtyla in his native Poland.
Saint John Paul the Great – as many Catholics now acknowledge him – was the first Polish pope, and first non-Italian pope since the 16th century (1520s).
His pontificate lasted more than 26 years (16 October 1978 to 2 April 2005) – the third-longest in papal history behind the very first pontiff, Saint Peter (around 35 years, from about 30 AD) and Pope Pius IX (1846-1878).
Pope John Paul II – through his strong convictions and leadership of the Catholic Church – played a key role in ending Marxist rule in his native Poland and the collapse of the Soviet Union and communist threat in Europe.
Aided by the politically conservative Thatcher-Reagan era of the 1980s, Pope John Paul II (and his brief successor, Pope Benedict XVI) successfully resisted the push of “liberation theology” into the Church. This synthesis of theology with Marxist concepts spread throughout the Church in Latin America from the mid-20th century, speaking into poverty, corruption and inequality without necessarily attacking its source.
Celebrate the birth and life of this most revered and pivotal pope of the modern era by:
- lighting a candle or attending mass in honour of Pope John Paul II
- visiting your closest Catholic cathedral for a tour or to appreciate the history of the church - for instance,
- locating and watching the 2005 miniseries for which John Voight was nominated for an Emmy playing Pope John Paul II (trailer shown below), also starring Christopher Lee and Cary Elwes as a young Karol Wojtyla
- reflecting on the strength, support and conviction Pope John Paul II and the Catholic Church gave the West during the 1980s, helping Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher to end the cold war and reduce the communist threat in Europe
- acknowledging the pivotal role that Catholicism and Christianity has played in building Western society, civilisation and prosperity, its unique institutions and the Enlightenment in recent centuries
- committing yourself to lead and/or support leadership and institutions to resist the temptations of Fabianism and other Marxist ideologies, and/or
- sharing this Action Plan post on social media with family, friends and those of Catholic faith or simply striving to maintain a moral, civilised and prosperous world.