Karol Wojtyla was elected pope on 16 October 1978, becoming the Catholic Church's first non-Italian pontiff in over 450 years. He took the name John Paul II as a nod to his predecessor, John Paul I
, whose term lasted only one month. John Paul II became known particularly for his globetrotting ways; as pope he visited more than 100 countries worldwide. He was also known as a champion of human rights and for his conservative positions on social issues like abortion, homosexuality and contraception. He survived an assassination attempt in 1981 when a Turk named Mehmet Ali Agca shot him in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican. John Paul II was hit four times and nearly died while being rushed to surgery, but he lived and publicly forgave Agca. John Paul II marked his 20th year as pope in 1998, making him the longest-serving pontiff of the 20th century. By then he was struggling with increasingly poor health, visibly suffering from the slurred speech and trembling hands of Parkinson's Disease. He received the last rites of the church on 31 March 2005, after suffering what church officials called "septic shock and a cardio-circulatory collapse" brought on by a urinary tract infection. John Paul II died in his apartments at the Vatican on 2 April 2005 and was succeeded by his friend and aide, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who became Pope Benedict XVI
on 19 April 2005. John Paul II was beatified by Benedict XVI on 1 May 2011, putting the late pope one step from sainthood. The beatification came more quickly than is normally possible: soon after Benedict XVI took office, he waived the usual five-year waiting period so that the Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints could begin considering John Paul II immediately.