John Paul II : Lives of the Pope

He is Roman Pontiff and Polish priest, philosopher and autocrat, sovereign, servant, aging idealist

Behold the Slavic pope is coming, a brother of the people; He already pours the world's balm into our breasts, And the angel choirs sweep the throne for him, with flowers

So wrote the Romantic-era Polish poet Juliusz Slowacki in 1848, lines so visionary and improbable -- a Pole as Supreme Pontiff! -- that few, even in long-suffering Poland, believed they would ever come true. In 1938, however, a Polish teenager would be singled out for what would eventually be an appointment with prophecy. In that year, Karol Wojtyla was a student -- and an actor of considerable promise -- at...

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