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While shaping the history of the Church and the world, Pope John Paul II lived his daily life among individuals who knew him closely as a spiritual father, colleague or friend. Friends who helped him, served him and closely collaborated with him to change the world. Polish journalist Wlodzimierz Redzioch, for over 30 years an employee of the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, interviewed almost two dozen of them for this book, from lifelong friends who first met the Pope in Krakow (as Karol Wojtyla), to his personal physician, personal secretary, papal photographer, papal spokesman, Polish bishops, recipients of miraculous cures, members of the papal household, and Curial officials, including the German Cardinal close to the Pope who became his successor, Joseph Ratzinger. They tell inspiring and remarkable stories about Wojtyła’s courageous witness as a bishop and professor of philosophy in Communist Poland, his participation in Vatican Council II, his election to the papacy, the challenges and worldwide travels of his pontificate, the sufferings of his final years, and even the process of his beatification and canonization. A composite portrait emerges of a man of heroic faith, love and deep prayer, a decisive leader who was capable of discussing, listening and delegating, a well-rounded human being with a gift for friendship, joy and humor with an awareness that seemingly insignificant moments are also part of our personal sanctification. He succeeded in changing the world because he deeply touched and changed the hearts of countless people everywhere. In this inspiring book you will discover many previously unpublished true stories and anecdotes, stories that will move you to know the great heart with which St. John Paul II loved God and humanity.
John J. Fitzgerald addresses here one of life's enduring questions - how to achieve personal fulfillment and more specifically whether we can do so through ethical conduct. He focuses on two significant twentieth-century theologians - Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and Pope John Paul II - seeing both as fitting dialogue partners, given the former's influence on the Second Vatican Council's deliberations on the Jews, and the latter's groundbreaking overtures to the Jews in the wake of his experiences in Poland before and during World War II. Fitzgerald demonstrates that Heschel and John Paul II both suggest that doing good generally leads us to growth in various components of personal fulfillment, such as happiness, meaning in life, and freedom from selfish desires. There are, however, some key differences between the two theologians - John Paul II emphasizes more strongly the relationship between acting well and attaining eternal life, whereas Heschel wrestles more openly with the possibility that religious commitment ultimately involves anxiety and sadness. By examining historical and contemporary analyses, including the work of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, the philosopher Peter Singer, and some present-day psychologists, Fitzgerald builds a narrative that shows the promise and limits of Heschel's and John Paul II's views.
In 2005, Father Julián Carrón became the leader of the global ecclesial movement Communion and Liberation, following the death of the movement's founder, Father Luigi Giussani. Disarming Beauty is the English translation of an engaging and thought-provoking collection of essays by one of the principal Catholic leaders and intellectuals in the world today. Adapted from talks given by Fr. Carrón, these essays have been thoroughly reworked by the author to offer an organic presentation of a decade-long journey. They present the content of his elaboration of the gospel message in light of the tradition of Fr. Giussani, the teachings of the popes, and the urgent needs of contemporary people. Carrón offers a broad diagnosis of challenges in society and then introduces their implications in contexts such as families, schools, workplaces, and political communities. In a dialogue with his listeners, he inspires and encourages them to lay out a new path for the Catholic church and the world. Throughout his essays, Carrón addresses the most pressing questions facing theologians today and provides insights that will interest everyone, from the most devout to the firm nonbeliever. Grappling with the interaction of Christian faith and modern culture, Carrón treats in very real and concrete ways what is essential to maintaining and developing Christian faith, and he invites an ongoing conversation about the meaning of faith, truth, and freedom.
The Writings of One of the World's Greatest Religious Leaders on the Most Important Spiritual Issues of Our Time. The Way to Christ offers a unique opportunity to experience inspiring sermons Pope John Paul II preached during spiritual retreats he led while he was still a cardinal. In them he addresses the pressing spiritual issues of our day: the miracle and dignity of each human life, the need for a community that nurtures humanity, the necessity of cultivating the inner spiritual life, and the power of Christ to transform our present and future realities. These deeply scriptural, very personal talks celebrate the reality and the immediacy of Christ, offering rich insights and solid guidance for Christians living in today's world.
A preeminent authority on the Catholic Church and papal biographer describes what he learned from chronicling the life of Pope John Paul II In Lessons in Hope, George Weigel tells the story of his unique friendship with St. John Paul II. As Weigel learns the pope "from inside," he also offers a firsthand account of the tumult of post-Vatican II Catholicism and the Cold War's endgame, introducing readers to the heroes who brought down European communism. Later, he shows us the aging pope grappling with the post-9/11 world order and teaching new lessons in dignity through his own suffering. A deeply humane portrait of an eminent scholar learning a saint, Lessons in Hope is essential reading for anyone seeking a fuller understanding of a world-changing pope.
Publishers Weekly Book of the Year Booklist Editor's Choice, 1997

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