Matt Hefler Presents: On This Day October 16, 1978

On this day (October 16th) in 1978: Cardinals at the Vatican chose the first non-Italian Pope for more than 400 years. Pope John Paul II became one of the longest-serving in the history of the Roman Catholic Church. The significance of selecting an Archbishop from strongly-Catholic Poland was lost on few observers of the Cold War and the Iron Curtain, behind which his native country was situation. The well-known Pope made a positive impact on many around the world while also being known for maintaining the Church’s more conservative positions relating to reproduction and contraception.