|Karol Josef Wojtyl became Pope John Paul II on October 16, 1978. The first Polish Pope, John Paul II has acted to maintain a the distinct characteristics of the Roman Catholic Church by resisting changes in church policy and maintaining discipline. He has also acted as a statesman urging peaceful solutiuons to world crises. He is the most traveled pope, visiting 50 countries on 6 continents.
There have been two assassination attempts against Pope John Paul II. In the first, he was shot by Mehmet Ali Agca in St. Peter's Square on May 13, 1981. The second attempt, in 1982, did not injure him.