Polish PM marks 42nd anniversary of Karol Wojtyla's election as pope


John Paul II's pontificate was different from the previous ones, as the Church has opened its doors to all mankind like never before, PM Mateusz Morawiecki said on Friday on the occasion of the 42nd anniversary of Karol Wojtyla's election as pope.

Morawiecki wrote on social media that many dates have been engraved in Poles' memory, but October 16 was a very particular date, as this was the day that the Polish-born cardinal was elected as pope.

The prime minister added that John Paul II's pontificate was different from the previous ones. "From the first decisions made by John Paul II, it was evident that the world is facing a great reconstruction in an eschatological sense. The Church of Christ opened its doors to all mankind, like never before," he wrote.

Forty-two years ago, on October 16, 1978, Polish Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, born in Wadowice, near Krakow, in central Poland, was elected to the papacy, adopting the name John Paul II. He was the 264th pope and the first non-Italian pope in 456 years. His pontificate spanned from 1978 to 2005 and was marked by many changes, the most notable of which included his efforts to bring the papacy closer to common people and to unite different religions. He especially pursued closer ties to Judaism and Islam, and is remembered for achieving tangible progress in inter-religious dialogue.

During his pontificate, John Paul II issued 14 encyclicals, 14 Apostolic Exhortations, 11 Apostolic Constitutions and 43 Apostolic Letters. He nominated 240 cardinals, including 5 from Poland, as well as 2,500 bishops. John Paul II also canonised 478 saints, including 10 from Poland.

During his 104 foreign journeys, John Paul II often visited the sick and poverty-stricken, he also held frequent meetings with young people worldwide. He was also a committed mediator for peace, especially in major conflicts.

John Paul II died on April 2, 2005, a month-and-a-half before his 85th birthday, prompting a spontaneous world-wide surge of mourning. He was canonised by Pope Francis in 2014.