Da Freakin’ Pope
Poland has a ton of famous folks to offer as fodder for this Around the World project. Sure, the country can lay claim to dignitaries such as director Roman Polanski, astronomer Nicholas Copernicus, scientist Marie Curie, and musician Frederic Chopin, but the man born Karol Józef Wojtyła in Wadowice, Poland tops them all. That’s because he’s better known as Pope John Paul II… which, I’m led to believe is a pretty big deal. From this point forward, as we learn about the Pontiff, I will refer to his as JP2, his rapping name:
Despite considering a career in theatre as a young man, JP2 became an ordained priest in 1946. 32 years later, at the age of 58, he ascended to the position of Pope, becoming the first Polish Pope ever, as well as the first non-Italian Holy Father since 1522. In between all that, he was appointed Archbishop of Krakow and made a Cardinal (and here I never knew he played baseball (St. Louis) or football (Arizona)).
JP2’s reign as Pope lasted more than 26 years, ranking him second all-time for longest tenure as the head of the church. He certainly lasted longer than John Paul I (aka ‘the smiling pope’), who died one month after being appointed. At 58 years old when elected, Wojtyla became one of the youngest Popes in history.
When JP2 made his first trip back to Poland, after becoming the Pope, in 1979, 300,000 people came out to see their famous countryman. At one point during his visit, the crowd applauded for 14 minutes straight. I’m lucky to generate my own slow-clap whenever I serve a drink and nobody seems willing to join in with the ovation.
JP2 was an avid writer and averaged 3,000 penned pages per year during his years at the very top of the church. Combined, his works would equal 20 bibles in length. JP2 can also speak eight different languages. As you little sippers have seen over the years, I struggle with one language and it’s my native tongue! Another random tidbit: JP2 created World Youth Day in 1986 and it has since been celebrated around the world. As someone who is no longer a youth, it kind of sucks to be excluded from this party.
In 1981, JP2 was shot in the stomach, right arm and left hand by Mehmet Ali Agca (from Turkey), as his procession entered St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican City. Doctors needed over five hours of surgery to repair damaged done by the attack and the Pope remained in hospital recovering for two and a half months. The assassination attempt occurred on the feast day for Our Lady of Fatima and after he survived, JP2 placed one of the bullets used in his attempted murder in the crown of the Lady of Fatima statue. Shortly after being released from the hospital, the Pope decided to meet with his attacker, although their discussion was kept confidential.
The Popemobile already existed before this attack in various forms, but following the assassination attempt, the vehicle was outfitted with bulletproof glass. Oddly, the site of the murder plot, St. Peter’s Square, often hosts events where the Pope’s vehicle is open air.
In 1994, JP2 was named Time Magazine’s ‘Man of the Year.’ This is an honour I’m still holding my breath for, although I’m starting to feel a little light-headed. Of the Pontiff, Time wrote: “His power rests in the word, not the sword… He is an army of one, and his empire is both as ethereal and as ubiquitous as the soul.”
Pope John Paul’s career was filled with apologies to groups harmed by the Catholic Church. In total, he delivered more than 100 public admissions of guilt involving subjects including the African slave trade, Protestant Reformation and burning people at the stake, crimes against women and women’s rights, inactivity during the Holocaust, and, of course, Catholic sex abuse victims. The only time I ever apologize is when I don’t have time to scarf some potato chips and I leave my potato bros hanging.
Making Mrs. Sip furiously jealous, JP2 travelled more than any other Pope in the history of Popedom. If you added up all the miles (775,000) he traversed over his career, you would have been able to travel to the moon and back three times. He appeared in 129 countries and was even the first Pope to enter a mosque.
A fan of sport and the outdoors all his life, JP2 didn’t give up skiing until he was 73 years old. Can you imagine a dude roaring down the mountain dressed in all white and with that extravagant hat on his head!? Better yet, do you think they converted any of the chairlifts into a bulletproof, Popemobile style transporter!?
JP2 passed away on April 2, 2005 from heart failure, cardio-circulatory collapse, and septic shock. He had also waged a long battle with Parkinson’s disease and was 84 at the time of his death.
Poland: Warsaw Cooler
- 1 oz Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka
- 0.5 oz Spiced Rum
- 0.5 oz Triple Sec
- Top with Apple Juice
- Splash of Lemon Juice
- Dash of Simple Syrup
- Drips of Honey
- Garnish with an Apple Slice
Pope John Paul II sure led a controversial life, but he was easy to cover than Roman Polanski would have been. Something about that long standing sexual assault case would have been too glaring to not spend a fair bit of time and words on. To the Popemobile, my little sippers!
Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I’ve wanted to try the Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka for some time and here the opportunity finally presented itself. The Vodka is very interesting and I’ve already gone ahead and enjoyed it in various cocktails, particularly Caesars! This recipe was pretty damn good. It was a touch sweet, but nothing too dramatic. Them bison’s make some good booze!