Pope John Paul II
The quest for freedom cannot be suppressed. On October 5, 1995, Pope John Paul II addressed the United Nations General Assembly on the occasion of the U.N.'s fiftieth anniversary. Reaffirming his support of the ideals and goals of the U.N., the pope praised the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and called for the U.N. to become the moral center of a family of nations. It was the pope's second appearance before the U.N., the first being in 1979, less than a year after his investiture. Pope John Paul II, born as Karol Wojtyla in Wadowice, Poland, was the first Polish pope in history and the first non-Italian pope in 456 years. Fluent in seven modern languages and Latin, the pope fully embraced his role as ambassador of the Roman Catholic Church and has traveled more extensively than any other pope in history. Known for his staunch anticommunism, the pope was an outspoken supporter of democratic movements in his native Poland and elsewhere during the 1980s.