POPE PIUS XII
Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli, the future Pope Pius XII was ordained in the priesthood in 1899.
Pius XI made him cardinal in 1929 and he was named papal secretary of state in 1930.
In the 1930s Cardinal Pacelli traveled through out Europe and designed the 1933 concordat with Germany, which was an attempt to protect German Catholics against Nazi forces.
He was elected Pope in 1939 and declared Rome an open city in 1943.
He made use of the Vatican's diplomatic immunity status to protect many from persecution.
POPE JOHN XXIII
John XXIII, born Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli) was born to landless peasants in the Italian Alps.
He was pope from 1958 to 1963 and his amiability and wit made him one of the most beloved popes in history.
Pope John XXIII's dedication to peace, led to his successful mediation during the Cuban missile crisis in 1962 and to friendly contacts with Premier Khrushchev of the Soviet Union.
The Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) conceived and initiated by John XXIII to reawaken the church, affected the Catholic church more than any event since the Protestant Reformation.
POPE JOHN PAUL II
Pope John Paul II has been Pope since 1978.
He is the first Slavic pope and the first non-Italian since 1523.
John Paul II was born Karol Wojtyla of working-class Polish parents.
He began university studies in poetry and drama before turning to the priesthood, entering an "underground" seminary in 1942.
After being ordained, he moved to Rome to obtain a doctorate.
He went back to Krakow in 1958 and became its archbishop in 1964.
This modern Pope has influenced European politics more than any other pope before him.
His first visit to his native Poland inspired Lech Walesa and the rise of the Solidarity movement.
To express his universal pastoral concerns, he has traveled to all corners of the world and has seen more people than any other person in history.
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