When he became pope in 1978, John Paul II was still an avid sportsman. At the time, the 58-year old was extremely healthy and active, jogging in the Vatican gardens, weight training, swimming, and hiking in the mountains. He was fond of football. The media contrasted the new Pope's athleticism and trim figure to the poor health of John Paul I and Paul VI, the portliness of John XXIII and the constant claims of ailments of Pius XII. The only modern pope with a fitness regimen had been Pope Pius XI (1922–1939) who was an avid mountaineer. An Irish Independent article in the 1980s labelled John Paul II the keep-fit pope.
However, after over twenty-five years as Pope, two assassination attempts (one of which resulted in severe physical injury to the Pope), and a number of cancer scares, John Paul's physical health declined. In 2001 he was diagnosed as suffering from Parkinson's disease. International observers had suspected this for some time but it was only publicly acknowledged by the Vatican in 2003. Despite difficulty speaking more than a few sentences at a time, trouble hearing and severe osteoarthrosis, he continued to tour the world, although rarely walking in public.
Read more about this topic: Solidarity (Catholic Theology)
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Famous quotes containing the word health:
“Pride can go without domestics, without fine clothes, can live in a house with two rooms, can eat potato, purslain, beans, lyed corn, can work on the soil, can travel afoot, can talk with poor men, or sit silent well contented with fine saloons. But vanity costs money, labor, horses, men, women, health and peace, and is still nothing at last; a long way leading nowhere.Only one drawback; proud people are intolerably selfish, and the vain are gentle and giving.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882)
“It is unconscionable that we ration health care by the ability to pay.... your heart breaks. Health care should be a given.”
—Kathryn Anastos (b. 1950)
“[The health plan was] constructed to be deconstructed. [Instead,] it was described as an ultimatum by our opponents and therefore used to undermine the process of reaching agreement.”
—Hillary Rodham Clinton (b. 1947)