The Most Popular Pope (1978-2005)
Born Karol Józef Wojtyła, John Paul II, became the first non Italian Pope in over 400 years and was considered the most influential Pope of the 20th Century. He improved Catholic relations among other religions and helped end communism in Russia and in Eastern Europe. In 2001 he became the first Catholic Pope to pray in a mosque, and he visited the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. John Paul II was also controversial in his stance against women being ordained as priests.