October 16, 2018 marked 40th anniversary of the moment when a cardinal from Poland, Karol Wojtyła, was elected the next pope. Wojtyła became the first pope in over 450 years who was not an Italian. He chose the name John Paul II and held the office of the Bishop of Rome for 27 years, the second longest reign in the history of Catholic Church. Without doubt he was one of the most influential leaders of the 20th century. For Poles in particular he played substantial role in speeding up the fall of communism. Many call him the Pilgrim Pope as he made official visits in as many as 129 countries. He was the first Pope to visit the White House and a mosque. It was him who established the annual meeting of young people and church leaders called World Youth Day. Wojtyła died on April 2, 2005 at 9:37pm. He was canonized in 2014 and is now worshipped as Saint John Paul II.


Dr A. William Frankland sets a stunning example of how long a man can stay active — even more so, professionally active. Frankland’s life is a material for many Hollywood productions. He was born in 1912, survived two World Wars and was a Prisoner of War in Singapore for 3 years. He had the privilege of working with Alexander Fleming who discovered penicillin. At the age of 106 he still sees patients from time to time and publishes scientific articles for medical journals (he published four between 100 and 105 years of age). Therefore, what distinguishes him most is not his age but how sharp his mind still is. When asked about the secret of longevity he says the feeling of living a sensible life definitely helps. He says one should do a bit of exercise, avoid smoking and overeating, be energetic socially, psychologically and emotionally in whatever you do. The doctor admits, however, that he lives so long mostly thanks to luck, nothing else.


An increasingly popular topic for discussion in world media nowadays is how much plastic lands in the oceans and how we should stop putting it in there as soon as possible. To understand how bad the situation is one should know that there is a pile of plastic floating on the Pacific Ocean that is twice the size of Texas. A group called Ocean Clean-up thinks that not adding more trash to what already swims in the ocean is not enough — we should try to clean what is called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. In order to do this they designed a giant, 2000 feet long U-shaped pipe which would work like a net and catch the trash. It will be transported to the right spot by a ship that will haul it to the shore, working like a huge garbage truck. This way the group hopes to get rid of 50 tons of trash by April and most of the garbage in the Oceans in the next decades.


A group of Harvard students called ’Students for Fair Admissions’ decided to sue the university because they think the application rules Harvard uses favour African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans and discriminate Asian-American ones. They may have a point because Harvard sends recruiting letters to African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans when they get a score of 1,100 on qualification exam and Asian-Americans need to collect as many as 1,380. Such system is a result of affirmative action which encourages universities and companies to have more members of minority groups. This way Harvard has a bigger group of African-Americans who would not normally get a chance of studying there and the campus if more diversified. Asian-Americans, who are a bigger social group, believe this is open discrimination.


Religious leaders never have such big influence on people as political leaders.

(Do people usually do what their religious leaders tell them? Does it depend on a religion? Do religious leaders reach big groups of people with their message? Which politicians have direct impact on people’s lives?)

There is no universal secret to long and healthy life.

(Is there anything you can do to live longer? Is how long you live only down to good luck? Are there any things that certainly make your life shorter? What do you think about Mr Frankland’s advice?)

It is too late for people to start cleaning the Earth.

(How much is the Earth polluted? Can people clean up all garbage they produced over the years? Would cleaning help the planet enough to make it ’healthy’ again? What could people do with the garbage they take for example from the Oceans?)

Affirmative action is an example of discrimination.

(Do you think it should be easier for some people to get places at universities? Why should it be easier e.g. for African-Americans to get a place at Harvard? Is there any other help such people can get from the university?)


cardinal – kardynał

to elect – wybrać (w wyborach)

reign – okres rządów (tu: pontyfikat)

influential – wpływowy

to play a substantial role – odegrać znaczącą rolę

pilgrim – pielgrzym

mosque – meczet

to set an example – dać przykład

privilege – przywilej

to distinguish sb – wyróżniać kogoś

sharp mind – sprawny umysł

longevity – długowieczność

sensible – rozsądny

to overeat – przejadać się

to float – dryfować, unosić się na wodzie

to haul – holować

to favour – faworyzować

He has a point. – On ma rację

affirmative action – akcja afirmacyjna (polityka dyskryminacji pozytywnej)

minority – mniejszość

diversified – zróżnicowany


  1. How long was John Paul II’s reign?
  2. Why was John Paul II called the Pilgrim pope?
  3. What is special about Dr William Frankland?
  4. How old was Dr William Frankland when he saw his last patient?
  5. How big is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch?
  6. Which group of people is favoured by affirmative action of Harvard?
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