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[[Image:John_Paul_II.jpg|thumb|Pope John Paul II]]
'''John Paul II'''
was the [[Roman Catholic Church| Roman Catholic]] [[ Pope]] from 1978 to 2005.
His early reign was marked by his opposition to [[communism]], and he is often credited as one of the forces which contributed to its collapse in Eastern Europe.<ref>"[http://www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/europe/04/02/world.reax/index.html World mourns Pope John Paul II]," ''CNN'', (accessed [[April 13]] []).</ref> In the later part of his pontificate, he was notable for speaking against [[war]], [[fascism]], [[dictatorship]], [[materialism]], [[abortion]], [[birth control|contraception]], [[relativism]], unrestrained [[capitalism]], and what he deemed the "[[culture of death]]".
John Paul II was Pope during a period in which [[Catholic Church|Catholicism]]'s influence declined in
[[developed country|developed countries ]] but expanded in the [[Third World ]]. During his reign, the pope traveled extensively, visiting over 100 countries, more than any of his predecessors. He remains one of the most-traveled world leaders in history. He was fluent in numerous languages: his native [[Polish language|Polish]] and also [[Italian language|Italian ]], [[French language|French]], [[German language|German]], [[English language|English ]], [[Spanish language|Spanish]], [[Croatian language|Croatian]], [[Portuguese language|Portuguese ]], [[Russian language|Russian]] and [[Latin ]].<ref>http://www.robinsonlibrary.com/philosophy/denominations/catholic/history/johnpaul2.htm Pope John Paul II, ''The Robinson Library'']</ref> As part of his special emphasis on the [[universal call to holiness ]], he [[canonization|canonized]] a great number of people.
In 1992, he was diagnosed with
[[Parkinson's disease ]]. On [[April 2]] [] at 9:37 p.m. local time, Pope John Paul II died in the [[Papal Apartments ]] while a vast crowd kept vigil in [[Saint Peter's Square]] below. Millions of people flocked to Rome to pay their respects to the body and for his funeral. The last years of his reign had been marked by his fight against the various diseases ailing him, provoking some concerns as to leadership should he become severely incapacitated/vegetative, and speculation as to whether he should abdicate. On [[May 9]] [], [[Pope Benedict XVI ]], John Paul II's successor, waived the five year waiting period for a cause for [[beatification]] to be opened.<ref>[http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/csaints/documents/rc_con_csaints_doc_20050509_rescritto-gpii_en.html RESPONSE OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE CAUSE FOR BEATIFICATION AND CANONIZATION OF THE SERVANT OF GOD JOHN PAUL II]</ref>