The Papacy of John Paul II: 1978-2005
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The Papacy of John Paul II: A Timeline

Compiled by Gary Macy

World events
    First test tube baby born
    Camp David summit talks between Egypt and Israel hosted by U.S. President Jimmy Carter
    Military junta seizes power in Afghanistan
    Films: "The Deer Hunter"
    Theater: "Ain't Misbehavin' "
Papal events
    Oct. 16: Cardinal Karol Wojtyla elected successor to Pope John Paul I and takes the name John Paul II

World events
    Three Mile Island nuclear accident
    Margaret Thatcher becomes first woman prime minister of Great Britain
    SALT-2 arms treaty signed in Vienna
    Shah of Iran ousted by Ayatollah Khomeini; U.S. embassy staff taken hostage
    Military coup in El Salvador
    Somoza overthrown by Sandinistas in Nicaragua
    Film: "Apocalypse Now"
Papal events
    Travel: Dominican Republic, Mexico, Bahamas, Poland, Ireland, the United Nations, the United States, Turkey
    Encyclical: Redemptor Hominis

World events
    World Health Organization announces worldwide eradication of smallpox
    Solidarity Trade Union formed at Gdansk shipyard in Poland
    Zimbabwe gains independence
    Iraq invades Iran (war lasts until 1988)
Papal events
    Travel: Zaire, Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Ghana, Upper Volta, Ivory Coast, France
    Encyclical: Dives in Misericordia
    John Paul II receives in audience U.S. President Jimmy Carter
    John Paul II receives in audience Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain

World events
    Personal computer launched by IBM
    AIDS identified
    Air traffic controllers strike in the United States and are fired by President Ronald Reagan
    President Anwar Sadat assassinated in Cairo
Papal events
    Travel: Pakistan, Philippines, Guam, Japan, United States (Alaska)
    Encyclical: Laborem Exercens
    Apostolic exhortation: Familiaris Consortio
    John Paul II receives in audience Lech Walesa
    Mehmet Ali Agca severely wounds pope in St. Peter's Square
    Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger appointed Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

World events
    Martial law ends in Poland
    Falklands War between Britain and Argentina
    Israeli troops invade Lebanon
    Films: "Gandhi"; "E.T."
Papal events
    Travel: Nigeria, Benin, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Portugal, Great Britain, Brazil, Argentina, Switzerland, Spain
    Apostolic letter: Caritatis Christi for the church in China
    Ecumenical celebration with Archbishop of Canterbury Robert Runcie
    John Paul II receives in audience U.S. President Ronald Reagan
    John Paul II receives in audience Yasser Arafat
    John Paul II proclaims 1983 as Holy Year of Redemption

World events
    Compact disc launched
    The United States backs contra rebels in Nicaragua
    Lebanon expels Arafat
    U.S. troops invade Granada
    TV: "The Day After"
Papal events
    Travel: Portugal, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, Haiti, Poland, France, Austria
    Publication of the "Charter of the Rights of the Family"
    Apostolic constitution: Sacrae Disciplinae Leges, the promulgation of the new Code of Canon Law

World events
    U.S. and French teams discover AIDS virus
    Toxic leak kills 2,500 in Bhopal, India
    British coal miners strike
    Indira Gandhi assassinated
    Films: "Amadeus"; "The Killing Fields"
Papal events
    Travel: Korea, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Thailand, Switzerland, Spain, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico
    Papal exhortation: Redemptionis Donum
    Apostolic letters: Salvifici Doloris; Redemptionis Anno
    Publication of the Instruction of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on certain aspects of theology of liberation
    Diplomatic relations restored between the United States and the Vatican

World events
    British Antarctic survey finds hole in ozone layer
    Earthquake in Mexico City kills 7,000
    Palestinians hijack Achille Lauro cruise ship
    Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev unilaterally stops deployment of missiles in Europe
    Entertainment: Live Aid concert in London and Philadelphia
Papal events
    Travel: Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium, Togo, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Republic of Central Africa, Zaire, Kenya, Morocco, Switzerland, Liechtenstein
    Apostolic letter: Dilecti Amici, to the youth of the world on the occasion of the United Nation's International Youth Year
    John Paul II receives in audience the Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres
    John Paul II receives in audience the foreign minister of the Soviet Union, Andrei Gromyko

World events
    Chernobyl reactor disaster
    Space shuttle Challenger explodes, killing crew
    Prime Minister Olaf Palme shot dead in Sweden
    Irangate scandal
    The United States bombs Tripoli and Benghazi in Libya
    Dictator Ferdinando Marcos flees the Philippines; Corazon Aquino becomes president
    Theater: "The Phantom of the Opera"
Papal events
    Travel: India, Colombia, St Lucia, France, Bangladesh, Singapore, Fiji Islands, New Zealand, Australia, Seychelles
    John Paul II makes a visit to Rome's main synagogue
    John Paul II attends the first World Day of Prayer for Peace, which he convoked in Assisi, Italy

World events
    First portable computer
    Serious flooding in Bangladesh; millions homeless
    World stock markets tumble
    Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev launches "perestroika" campaign
    Film: "The Last Emperor"
Papal events
    Travel: Uruguay, Chile, Argentina, Federal Republic of Germany, Poland, United States, Canada
    Encyclicals: Redemptoris Mater; Sollicitudo Rei Socialis
    John Paul II receives in audience the president of the Council of the People's Republic of Poland, Wojciech Jaruzelski
    Official visit of U.S. President Reagan
    His Holiness Dimitrios, ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople, visits John Paul II and signs joint declaration

World events
    Earthquake in Armenia kills 80,000
    Pan Am 747 explodes over Lockerbie, Scotland
    Intifada resistance begins in occupied West Bank
    Soviet troops pull out of Afghanistan
    Literature: The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
Papal events
    Travel: Austria, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Swaziland, France
    Apostolic constitution: Pastor Bonus
    Apostolic letter: Mulieris Dignitatem
    For the first time, the financial report of the Holy See (for the year 1986) is published

World events
    President George H. W. Bush authorizes $300 billion bailout of savings and loan industry
    Solidarity gains overwhelming victory in Polish elections
    East German government resigns; Berlin Wall demolished
    Dictator Nicolae Ceausescu is overthrown and executed in Romania
    Thousands of students killed in Tiananmen Square in Beijing
    U.S. troops invaded Panama
Papal events
    Travel: Madagascar, La Réunion, Zambia, Malawi, Norway, Iceland, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Spain
    John Paul II receives in audience U.S. President George Bush
    Official visit of Archbishop of Canterbury Robert Runcie; joint statement signed

World events
    Helmut Kohl elected chancellor of a united Germany
    Military coup in Bangladesh
    Nelson Mandela freed in South Africa
    Iraq invades Kuwait; United Nations imposes sanctions
    Nobel Peace Prize goes to Michael Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev
Papal events
    Travel: Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Burkina Faso, Chad, Czechoslovakia, Mexico, Curaçao, Malta, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, Ivory Coast
    Promulgation of the Code of Canon Law for the Eastern Churches
    Encyclical: Redemptoris Missio

World events
    Gobachev resigns as the last president of the Soviet Union
    President F.W. de Klerk of South Africa announces abolition of apartheid laws
    Operation Desert Storm is launched to free Kuwait
    Civil war in Yugoslavia
Papal events
    Travel: Portugal, Poland, Hungary, Brazil
    Encyclical: Centesimus Annus
    Letters sent to U.S. President George Bush and Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in an attempt to avert the Gulf War

World events
    Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    Maastricht Treaty signed in the European Union
    Bill Clinton becomes president of the United States
    North American Free Trade Agreement signed by the United States, Mexico and Canada
    Afghan rebels enter Kabul
Papal events
    Travel: Senegal, Gambia, Guinea, Angola, São Tomé and Príncipe, Dominican Republic

World events
    Single European Market begins
    Slovakia separates from Czechoslovakia
    Siege in Waco, Texas, ends in fire
    Film: "Schindler's List"
Papal events
    Travel: Benin, Uganda, Sudan, Albania, Spain, Jamaica, the United States, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia
    Encyclical: Veritatis Splendor
    John Paul II dislocates his right shoulder in a fall at the end of an audience in the Hall of Benediction

World events
    Earthquake hits Los Angeles
    U.S. troops seize Haiti
    Yasser Arafat returns from exile to Gaza
    Nelson Mandela sworn in as president of South Africa
    Genocide in Rwanda
Papal events
    Travel: Croatia
    Letter to families for the International Year of the Family
    Letter to heads of states around the world and to the secretary general of the United Nations on the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, Egypt, held in September
    John Paul II receives in audience Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin
    John Paul II receives in audience U.S. President Bill Clinton
    The start of "working contacts of a permanent and official character" between the Holy See and the Palestine Liberation Organization
    Following an accidental fall that caused a fracture of the right femur April 28, John Paul II undergoes an operation at Gemelli Polyclinic Hospital; released from hospital May 27

World events
    Federal building in Oklahoma City destroyed by car bomb
    Peace treaty signed in Dayton, Ohio, by Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia
    Israel and Palestine sign treaty granting autonomy to West Bank and Gaza
    Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin assassinated in Jerusalem
Papal events
    Travel: Philippines, Czech Republic, Belgium, Slovakia, France, Cameroon, South Africa, Kenya, the United States
    Encyclicals: Evangelium Vitae; Ut Unum Sint
    Apostolic letter: Orientale Lumen
    Visit of the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople, Bartolomeo I; joint declaration signed
    Mary Ann Glendon, appointed by John Paul II as the first woman to head a Holy See delegation, addresses the Fourth U.N. Conference on Women in Beijing in September
    John Paul II addresses the U.N. General Assembly, commemorates the United Nations' 50th anniversary

World events
    European Union imposes ban on British beef because of mad cow disease
    Bill Clinton reelected president of the United States
    Taliban conquers Afghanistan
    Russians pull out of Chechnya
Papal events
    Travel: Tunisia, Slovenia, Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Venezuela, Germany, Hungary, France
    John Paul II undergoes operation for appendicitis
    Presentation of pope's book, Gift and Mystery: On the Fiftieth Anniversary of My Priestly Ordination
    John Paul II receives in audience Cuban President Fidel Castro
    John Paul II receives in audience Yasser Arafat
    Visit of the Archbishop of Canterbury George Leonard Carey; joint declaration signed
    John Paul II receives the supreme patriarch and catholicos of all Armenians, Karekin I; joint declaration signe

World events
    Kyoto Protocol Convention on climate change
    Sheep cloned from DNA
    Armed rebellion in Albania
Papal events
    Travel: Bosnia, Czech Republic, Lebanon, Poland, France, Argentina
    Approval and promulgation of the Latin official version of the Catechism of the Catholic Church
    Visit by Aram I Keshishian , catholicos of Cilicia of the Armenians; joint declaration signed
    John Paul II receives in audience Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
    Special Assembly for America of the Synod of Bishops

World events
    India and Pakistan conduct first nuclear tests
    Peace accord in Northern Ireland
    U.S. embassies bombed in Kenya and Tanzania
    Iraq bans U. N. weapons inspectors
Papal events
    Travel: Cuba, Nigeria, Austria, Croatia
    Apostolic constitution: Ecclesia in Urbe
    Encyclical: Fides et Ratio
    John Paul II receives in audience U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright
    Special Assembly for Asia of the Synod of Bishops
    John Paul II receives in audience the president of the Palestinian Authority, Yasser Arafat
    John Paul II receives in audience South African President Nelson Mandela
    Canonization of Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)

World events
    Senate acquits President Clinton of impeachment charges
    Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary join NATO
    East Timor votes for independence from Indonesia
    Military coup in Pakistan
    NATO launches air strike against Serbia
Papal events
    Travel: Mexico, the United States, Romania, Poland, Slovenia, India
    John Paul II receives in audience Iranian President Seyyed Mohammad Khatami
    John Paul II receives in audience Ariel Sharon, Israeli minister of foreign affairs
    The Catholic church and the World Lutheran Federation sign the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification
    Start of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000

World events
    DNA sequencing of human genome roughly completed
    Sharp decline of tech stocks
    Vicente Fox elected president of Mexico, ending 71-year reign of the PRI political party
    George W. Bush wins U.S. presidency after intervention by Supreme Court
Papal events
    Travel: Holy Land, Portugal
    Vatican issues Dominus Iesus
    John Paul II receives in audience Yasser Arafat and a Palestinian delegation for the occasion of the signing of a Basic Agreement between the Holy See and the Palestine Liberation Organization
    John Paul II receives in audience Russian President Vladimir Putin
    27 canonizations, among which were 25 Mexican martyrs
    Beatifications of Pope Pius IX and Pope John XXIII

World events
    Taliban blows up ancient statues of Buddha in Afghanistan
    Terrorists crash hijacked airplanes into the World Trade Towers in New York City, killing 3,000 people
    Enron bankruptcy scandal in the United States
    Northern alliance and U.S. forces defeat Taliban in Afghanistan
Papal events
    Travel: Greece, Syria, Malta, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Armenia
    First beatification of a married couple, Luigi Beltrame Quattrocchi and Maria Corsini

World events
    Euro becomes legal tender in most of Europe
    Suicide bombings continue in Israel; Israeli tanks enter West Bank cities
    U.S. Congress authorizes the use of armed force against Iraq
    U.N. Security Council approves resolution to send weapons inspectors to Iraq
Papal events
    Travel: Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Canada, Poland
    Apostolic letter: Rosarium Virginis Mariae
    Pope John Paul II received in audience a delegation of the Greek Orthodox church
    Canonizations: Padre Pio de Pietrelcina; Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer

World events
    Space shuttle Columbia breaks apart during re-entry
     U.S. led forces invade and occupy Iraq; widespread looting in Baghdad
     Israel accepts the right of Palestinians to set up state in the West Bank and Gaza
     Major earthquake in Iran kills over 30,000
Papal events
    Travel: Spain, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Slovak Republic
     Encyclical letter: Ecclesia de Eucharistia
     Visit of Rowan Douglas Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury and primate of the Anglican Communion
     Beatification of Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
     Apostolic letter: Spiritus et Sponsa

World Events
    Mars rovers land on Mars and discover evidence of water
     Train bombing in Madrid kills 190 people
     European Union expands to 25 nations
     Militia terrorize the Darfur region of Sudan
     Hundreds killed in Russia when Chechen separatists take 1,000 people hostage in a school
     George Bush re-elected president of the United States
     Yasser Arafat, president of the Palestinian Authority, dies
     Major tsunami kills over 150,000 people around the Indian Ocean
Papal Events
    Travel: Switzerland, France
     The Holy Father receives His Holiness Bartholomew I, ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople
     Apostolic letter: Mane Nobiscum Domine
     Delivery of the Relics of Sts. John Chrysostom and Gregory Nazianzen, bishops and doctors of the church to the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I.

World Events
    Mahmoud Abbas elected president of the Palestinian Authority
     Mass protests and political turmoil follow the assassination of Lebanon's former prime minister, Rafik Hariri
Papal Events
    Publication of the pope's book, Memory and Identity
    Pope John Paul II dies April 2 at age 84

Timeline compiled by Gary Macy, theology professor at the University of San Diego.

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