Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II
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 and also Italian, French, German, English, Spanish, Croatian, Portuguese, Russian and Latin. As part of his special emphasis on the universal call to holiness, he canonized a great number of people. He beatified 1,340 people, more people than any previous pope.
The Vatican asserts he canonized more people than the combined tally of his predecessors during the last five centuries, and from a far greater variety of cultures. Whether he had canonized more saints than all previous popes put together, as is sometimes also claimed, is difficult to prove, as the records of many early canonizations are incomplete, missing, or inaccurate. However, it is known that his abolition of the office of Promotor Fidei ("Promoter of the Faith" and the origin of the term Devil's advocate) streamlined the process. On 31 March 2005 the Pope developed a very high fever and profoundly low blood pressure, but was neither rushed to the hospital nor offered life support. Instead, he was offered medical monitoring by a team of consultants at his private residence.
This was taken as an indication that the pope and those close to him believed that he was nearing death; it would have been in accordance with his wishes to die in the Vatican. Later that day Vatican sources announced that John Paul II had been given the Anointing of the Sick by his friend and secretary Stanisław Dziwisz. During the final days of the Pope's life, the lights were kept burning through the night where he lay in the Papal apartment on the top floor of the Apostolic Palace. Tens of thousands of people rushed to the Vatican, filling St. Peter's Square and beyond with a vast multitude, and held vigil for two days.
Upon hearing of this, the dying pope was said to have stated: "I have searched for you, and now you have come to me, and I thank you." On Saturday 2 April, at about 15:30 CEST, John Paul II spoke his final words, "Let me go to the house of the Father," to his aides in his native Polish and fell into a coma about four hours later. He died in his private apartment, at 21:37 CEST (19:37 UTC), 46 days short of his 85th birthday. The mass of the vigil of the Second Sunday of Easter, that is, Divine Mercy Sunday which was put into the Church's calendar by him on the occasion of the canonization of St. Faustina on 30 April 2000, had just been celebrated at his bedside.
Several aides were present, along with several Polish nuns of the Congregation of the Sisters Servants of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, who ran the papal household. A crowd of over two million present in Vatican City mourned the death of John Paul II. The public viewing of his body in St. Peter's Basilica drew over four million people to Vatican City and was one of the largest pilgrimages in the history of Christianity. Many world leaders expressed their condolences and ordered flags in their countries lowered to half-staff.
Numerous countries with a Catholic majority, and even some with only a small Catholic population, declared mourning for John Paul II. On his death certificate, (refractory) septic shock was listed as a primary cause of death along with profound arterial hypotension leading to complete circulatory collapse. In cases of fatal sepsis, the normal cause of death is complete circulatory collapse. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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