From the first day of his election, John Paul II's pontificate raised concern in Central Committee Communist headquarters. His 1979 visit to Poland was the detonator of revolution.
In one of his last great acts as a statesman, John Paul lobbied for peace in the Post-9/11 World. If his protests went unheaded, the succession of world leaders visiting him in Rome to discuss the crisis was a mark of the stature of his papacy.
John Paul's reign was one of the longest ever. In his 27-year Pontificate, it can be easy to overlook some of the key points that marked his life and his Papacy. Here are a few examples.
Pope John Paul came to Rome determined to deal with two historical events that fuelled anti-Catholicism: the condemnation of Galileo and the Inquisition, writes Ivan Kauffman.
John Paul's speech to Indigenous Australians at Alice Springs in 1986 embodies the most noble shared aspirations of Aboriginal Catholics and those wanting to see Aborigines take their place in the Australian Church, writes Fr Frank Brennan SJ.
The funeral of Pope John Paul II drew presidents, prime ministers, and crowned heads of State along with millions of pilgrims to Rome. The 'kiss of peace' even brought the warring presidents of Israel and Iran to shake hands.
When the cardinals elected Angelo Roncalli Pope on October 20, 1958, many regarded the 76-year-old as a transitional pope, little realising that his pontificate would mark a turning point in history and initiate a new age for the Church.
In four short years, through his warm charity, obvious sincerity and plain commonsense, he achieved more in practical diplomacy for the Church than others have done through years of wrangling and finesse. He was the people's Pope, wrote Des O'Connor SJ.
Pope John XXIII sought to communicate not only with an insular Church, but with all people of good will. He wanted a universal Church that was just that. Here Vatican Radio looks at his 'social revolution.'
The 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis brought the Cold War Super Powers to the brink of nuclear war. The first Catholic President of the United States quietly looked to a Pope who had been working behind the scenes to avoid the confrontation.
During the Second World War, the-then Angelo Roncalli, serving as a papal diplomat, saved many Jews from murder at the hands of the Nazis. As Pope John XXIII, he instigated historic reconciliation with the Jewish people.
A short film from Salt and Light about the life of Pope John XXIII, the man who unexpectedly revived the Church.
Vatican II, convoked by Pope John XXIII, was the first truly global council of the Church, bringing together bishops from 116 countries. It opened the windows of the Church to the world - but some have found the resulting breezes unsettling.
Pius XII reigned from World War Two through the start of the Cold War - a time of unparalleled global turmoil. The debate about his legacy has been turbulent, too. Here, eminent Jewish historian Martin Gilbert assesses the Pope who faced Hitler.
After the death of Pope John XXIII, Cardinal Giovanni Montini was elected on June 21, 1963, to succeed him. In his first message to the world, Paul VI committed himself to a continuation of the work begun by his predecessor.
After battling stomach cancer, John XXIII passed on to his eternal reward 3 June, 1963. The world mourned. On September 3, 2000 he was declared Blessed by Pope John Paul II, the penultimate step on the road to sainthood.
When the Argentine President casually touched Pope Francis on the arm during an exchange of gifts, she quickly recoiled in horror believing she had breached protocol. Pope Francis simply leaned forward to thank her with a kiss on the cheek. It was a symbolic 'kiss goodbye' to centuries of staid formality. President Obama and others reflect on the style and substance of Pope Francis in a report from 60 Minutes.
John 20:1-18 'Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father'.
Wilcannia-Forbes bishop, Missionary Sisters of Service, Wiradjuri artists, Cooktown, Roma, Tim Fischer opens Catholic intellectual centre, Melbourne's Youth Cross launch, Chrism Mass, 'send 'er down Hughie,' .
Catholics in Elizabethan England faced an impossible choice. Either they could obey their Queen, and consign their souls to damnation - or obey their Pope, and surrender their bodies to temporal punishment.