John Paul II Leadership
John Paul II
The ‘people’s Pope’, born Karol Wojtyla in Poland, who spoke up
defiantly against communism, war and immorality.
His influence extended far beyond the Roman Catholic Church, which he (pictured right) led after his
election as Pope in 1978.
Why was he a great
1. Purpose and
He lived to love and encourage people to believe in God and Jesus, so that they
could enjoy peace, happiness and salvation.
But he never saw himself as a reformer, being always opposed to
- abortion and contraception (because of his
belief in the sanctity of human life).
- sex before marriage
- war and capital
- work or governments that destroy people’s dignity
2. Determination and courage
He had to overcome many problems:
- the deaths of his mother and brother as a young child
- hostile opposition to his views
- an assassination attempt in 1981(in St. Peter's Square in the Vatican, Rome, pictured
right at the spot marked by a stone, bottom right) - he met and forgave his attacker.
He gave up everything to serve God and other people:
- his love of football and skiing.
So he was a servant leader and his motto was “totally yours”.
4. Tough but tender
John Paul (pictured right aged 12) steadfastly held onto his beliefs and told people to
believe in them.
But he was also an incredibly kind man who inspired everybody with his personal and
informal style of leadership.
5. Putting his principles into
He wasn’t a hypocrite.
People loved him, because he did what he said with the greatest
He never saw himself as the ‘big boss’ of the Catholic Church, but the selfless servant of God and his
He distinguished between the two sides of human nature:
He strenuously strove to be a better person, and he wanted everybody to do the same, urging people to
build a better future now.
6. Lifelong learning
He learned continually from
- reflection in prayer.
- other people, including his father (pictured right with his mother at their wedding), who taught him the
idea of “creative interaction”.
i.e. the person you are is dependent on your relationships with others.
He read or listened to other people’s views, and then made a decision based on what he thought God
His speeches were always moving, and his love and integrity shone
On his visit to Galway in Ireland in 1979 (pictured rght), these words prompted 12
minutes of sustained cheering:
“Young people of Ireland, I love you”.
8. Hard work
Rising at 5.30, he worked an 18 hour day, until his bedtime at 11.30 p.m.
He didn’t lock himself away in the Vatican, but went out to see people all over the world motoring around in his
Popemobile (pictured right in 2004).
Only six months after his election as Pope, he made his first visit to his homeland, Poland, as a gesture of
support for its struggle for freedom against communism.
He believed in acceptance of other religions, being the first Pope to enter a mosque.
Key quotes on
Hatred can only be conquered by love
Anything done for another is done for oneself
Key quotes on stress and
Do not abandon yourselves to despair.
The worst prison would be a closed heart.
Key quote on war
War is a defeat for humanity.
Key quote on learning and
The truth is not always the same as the majority decision.
Key quote on science and
Science can purify religion from error and superstition.
Key quote on
Have no fear of moving into the unknown.