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This intimate, affectionate portrait of Pope John Paul II by his long-time secretary and confidant reveals fascinating new details about the opinions, hopes, fears, and dramatic life of this public man.
Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz worked side-by-side with Pope John Paul II for almost forty years, enjoying unique access to both the public and private man. In A Life with Karol, he provides a close-up glimpse into the pope's life and the critical events of his papacy.
Dziwisz was sitting next to the pope during the assassination attempt in 1981. He recounts the pope's reaction to 9/11, describing his thoughts and feelings on that day. And the cardinal's moving description of the pope's haunting memories of World War II uncovers the roots of the pontiff's intense opposition to George W. Bush's war on Iraq.
The two men shared moments of fun and spontaneity as well. Dziwisz writes about the times the pope would slip out of the Vatican wearing a Panama hat to stroll the streets of Rome, and he describes the clandestine ski and hiking trips the pair made to escape the Vatican. His firsthand account of the pope's last years also reveals that John Paul II considered resigning. These stories and others lend added poignancy to Dziwisz's extraordinary portrayal of the pope's courage and calmness during his final illness.
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Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz was personal secretary to Karol Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II) in Krakow and in Rome.From Publishers Weekly:
Pope John Paul II's personal secretary, who is now Cardinal Dziwisz, had an insider's view of many of the events that shaped John Paul II's pontificate. Dziwisz was a seminary student in Krakow when he first encountered the man then known as Karol Wojtyla. He later became a close and trusted ally of the pope for four decades. The author does not hide his glowing opinion of the deceased pontiff; as he describes it, John Paul II stood courageously against the oppressive Communist regime in his native Poland, supported the nascent Solidarity movement and was beloved by people of all nations and religions around the globe. These two men enjoyed an intimate friendship and shared a love for Catholicism and their priesthood. Perhaps it is the closeness of that friendship that prevents Dziwisz from criticizing John Paul II for anything he did as pope. For example, his claim that John Paul II's entire pontificate was a continual implementation of Vatican II is widely debated. Despite the hagiographical tone, one thing is clear—John Paul II was a formidable world figure in the latter half of the 20th century, and he never allowed his position to affect his ability to be a good friend. (Mar. 11)
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