Vatican City. According to countryaah, Vatican City is the capital and one of the major cities within the country of Holy See. Pope John Paul II died at the age of 84 in his residence in the Vatican April 2 in the suites after a neck operation in February. After the operation, the pope suffered from breathing difficulties and almost completely lost speech ability. His last words, “Let me go to the Father’s house,” were whispered weakly in Polish.
Polol Karol Wojtyła was born in 1920 outside Kraków. In 1978, he was elected the first non-Italian in 455 years to become Pope, the 264th in the line. John Paul II became known for his central role in the fall of communism in eastern and central Europe. He made many trips around the world and was considered a skilled communicator. He was described as progressive in his quest for better relations with Muslims and Jews. John Paul II was e.g. the first pope to make an official visit to Israel and the first to attend a mosque. On issues such as abortion, divorce, women’s rights and homosexuality, however, was John Paul II Conservative. When he condemned the use of condoms as immoral, he faced sharp criticism from those fighting the global HIV/AIDS epidemic.
In 1981, John Paul II was seriously injured when he was shot at St. Peter’s Square. He never fully recovered from the gunshot wounds. In addition, he suffered from Parkinson’s disease and became increasingly weak over the years. In his will, it appeared that he was considering leaving 2000 due to illness.
At the Pope’s funeral April 8 came 3 million people, including 2 million Poles and over a hundred heads of state. It became the largest pope burial in history. John Paul II was buried in the crypt under St. Peter’s Church.
Already on April 19, the conclave elected the German cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, 78, as a new pope named Benedict XVI. He was considered conservative and had stood close to the deceased pope. On April 24, he was installed as the 265th Pope, the first German in 482 years. Before becoming a cardinal, Ratzinger had been a pastor, professor of theology and archbishop. Upon his entry, he retained virtually all senior Vatican officials, and he was expected to follow in the footsteps of John Paul II.
In November, the Vatican City published new guidelines for the Catholic Church which meant that “active homosexuals” and “adherents of the gay culture” should not become priests. However, a homosexual can become a priest if he refrains from living out his homosexuality for at least three years.