Manual Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II

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There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. At over pages, this might be considered to be a massive book. But, the story being told is massive and its subject is intense and deep and large in wisdom and self-discipline and faith and hope and love. More could have been said. The description of the person and events is actually sparse in comparison to what it might have been. Such a story and journey of a life it is! Such clarity of philosophical thought! Such prayer and vision and courage! Insightful analysis and commentary.

Well stated and written. It is a large book but it provides a large education. Topics addressed include culture, philosophy, ethics, policy, strategy, tactics, history, prayer and theology. At least one seminary requires those in spiritual formation to read this biography of Pope John Paul II. I rank the book just below the Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church in my list of books that are important to read. I can usually summarize a book in a page or two, but not this one. The book offers so much that I filled thirteen pages with terse notes written in paragraph form.

The first pages of the book inspire the reader, who realizes the great hardships the Pope endured from his early life through his priesthood under Nazi and Communist rule. His work with the Church's intellectuals and performing artists developed the cultural base that succeeded in combating these totalitarian regimes. His discussion groups tolerated all ideas, provided that all were striving for truth.

His development of a new Christian Humanism was, and still is, effective in combating social and spiritual ills everywhere. The remaining pages show how the Pope dealt with specific problems in the Church and in the world. He approaches all as a sincerely holy, humble, and reverent pilgrim, full of hope for humanity. He apologizes for the failures of Catholics. These, as well as John Paul, are not saved according to Ephesians 2: And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Mar 14, Alex Walker rated it it was amazing. After I read it I realised how truly a great man he was. His life story, if fiction, would be too far fetched to actually believe. From his simple upbringing in Poland he encountered the horrors of Nazi occupation and then the further horrors of a Communist regime and then to come through the end of all that and rise through the hierarchy of the Catholic Church to become Pope and be one of the most witnessed human beings Pope John Paul II was a true inspiration to myself before I read this book.

From his simple upbringing in Poland he encountered the horrors of Nazi occupation and then the further horrors of a Communist regime and then to come through the end of all that and rise through the hierarchy of the Catholic Church to become Pope and be one of the most witnessed human beings in history. Nov 21, Pete Iseppi rated it really liked it. It took me quite a while to get through this book, but it was well worth the effort. Even if you're not a Catholic or even a Christian, you have to admire the effort that this man put into living and spreading his faith.

He was truly a giant of the 20th century, and his impact wil It took me quite a while to get through this book, but it was well worth the effort. He was truly a giant of the 20th century, and his impact will be felt for years to come. Dec 24, Jeff Cann rated it really liked it. Not for the faint of heart or the impatient! I gained a deeper insight into the life of a true leader of the Church. In particular, I enjoyed reading how JPIi set an example for Christian discipleship, used his influence for a greater good, and stood firm to uphold the teaching of Jesus Christ.

Finally, this book gave me a new appreciation of papal encyclicals and their importance as learning resources for the faithful. Jul 12, Pedro rated it it was amazing Shelves: If you want to understand the challenges St. From the priest chastised on the tarmac at Managua's Sandino International Airport to the encounter with Mehmet Ali Agca, from the intervention in the Jesuits to the meeting with Mother Theresa, this book shows us how hard is the mission of the Pope and how hard was to John Paul II to be a Pope in those turbulent years.

Mar 12, Fr. Ryan Humphries rated it really liked it Recommends it for: Weigel's tome is a must read for everyone. He loses a star because of the long and tedious hundred pages or so where Weigel recounts every conversation and letter that went into ending communism. Undoubtedly, it was important in understanding the pope, but Weigel obviously loves this stuff. Otherwise, it's an amazing work that ought to be on every bookshelf. Jan 07, Brian Ballard rated it really liked it. The detail and thoroughness Weigel brings to this work is remarkable. Jun 12, Karina rated it it was amazing.

I read this as a protestant intrigued by the cultural impact that this man was making in the world at large. It called me to carefully examine my assumptions about Catholocism as a whole. What an inspirational human being. I you have read the pope's writings you may agree that Mr. Weigel I feel made his subject's mind and heart more accessible than John Paul could have done himself.

Aug 10, Ryan rated it really liked it. No better history lesson on the 20th century than to study the remarkable life of JPII. The best thing about this book is Weigel gives an introductory summary of all of JP's writings May 01, deeyn rated it it was amazing.


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Jan 10, Diana rated it really liked it Shelves: It got a little boring at the very end as the author was wrapping up the narrative and trying I guess to speculate about JP2s legacy. But otherwise very compelling. Jun 03, Justine B. Well worth the months it took me to read. Jul 26, Czarny Pies rated it really liked it Recommends it for: Catholics and anyone interested in the History of the Catholic Church.

It is a stunning work that benefits from several important factors: I found it a great pleasure to read for the following reasons: Wiegl is quite candid in admitting that he had recruited to write the book for his known sympathies to the theological views and leadership style of Jean Paul II. It is honest in that he never denies that Jean Paul II's were often contested not only outside but inside the church, however, he feels that his role is present the view and the rationale of John Paul II on the contentious issues.

There are also mistakes that are recognized but here one feels that it is John Paul's II wish that they be acknowledged as such. This book is an extraordinary work of scholarship on the life and career of Karol Wojtyla. It has a strong partisan bias that is openly admitted to in the Introduction. I strongly recommend it to any Catholics willing to make the considerable effort required to work through it.

Finally made it through this one, have to admit with a bit of skimming. Nevertheless, this biography reads as a chronology of the political forays of the now late pope. Never ending accounts of the pop Finally made it through this one, have to admit with a bit of skimming. Perhaps necessarily so, as those things are not easily known, while the worldly acts of a pope are readily accessible. Aug 22, John rated it it was amazing Shelves: It progresses from his childhood and youth in totalitarian and Nazi controlled Poland, to his rise through the ranks of the Church through his role in resolving many world conflicts, including his historical involvement in the 'demise of Communism'.

Weigel weaves his story with JP II's encyclicals and other writings to portray the character and mission of JP II papacy -- his belief in the truth of God and Jesus Christ providence as guiding the world and providing us hope, even in spite of all of the horrors of the 20th century. He also portrays the deep intellect of JP II as well as his basic, intuitive understanding of the human person. This is an important look at his life and influence on the 20th century, not only for Catholics and Christians but on the world as a whole.

Dec 23, Bobby Krueger rated it it was amazing. I first read Weigel's biography of St. John Paul II as a freshman in college. Young, naive, wet behind the ears, I understood very little of the political and philosophical implications of the life of this remarkable man.

Still, the book made an impression on me and John Paul II became one of my personal heroes. Almost 10 years later, with seminary and four years of priesthood under my belt, returning to this book has been a profound spiritual experience. A second read has allowed me to delve into all the complexities of the 20th century and, through the lens of this modern saint, has shown me the fingerprints of a God that has brought good from evil, hope from suffering, and joy from the Cross.

This is a book that will stay with you for a long time. Reading this 12 years after JP II's death, I was struck not only by the lessons of history that he embodied and absorbed through his experiences but by his amazing amount of understanding for how this world works. He truly saw things as they are. I expected this book to be most interesting for what happened in his life and pontificate prior to the fall of communism. What ended up striking me more were his observations for where society would go if it continued to fail in r What a man. What ended up striking me more were his observations for where society would go if it continued to fail in recognizing truth as something which absolutely exists.

It makes me think the groundwork for the current state of American affairs was laid not by the last 8 years, but by the last JPII also recognized that there is a path back to collective recognition of the truth. I won't spoil it in words.

Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II

I'll spoil it by how I live my life. Jun 18, Elise Conner rated it it was amazing Shelves: I must admit, this book was extremely daunting in the beginning. But after two chapters, I never wanted it to end and couldn't stop telling people about it. George Weigel's book is a treasure, recounting the truly awesome life of one of the greatest men of the 20th century.

With each vignette, this book gave me a greater understanding of how truly radical Blessed John Paul II was in the Church's history, challenged me to think on a different moral level, and inspired me to live a theology heavil I must admit, this book was extremely daunting in the beginning. With each vignette, this book gave me a greater understanding of how truly radical Blessed John Paul II was in the Church's history, challenged me to think on a different moral level, and inspired me to live a theology heavily influenced by the faith of this Polish Pope. For "[i]f you are what you should be, you will set the whole world ablaze!

Apr 21, Joseph rated it really liked it. Witness to hope is a well-researched and comprehensive biography of John Paul II. It does a learned job in providing backgrounds to the political and social climates covered in Karol Wojtyla's past. This also allows for a context and understanding of those times and what living in those eras would have felt like.

At times, however, the book reads Witness to hope is a well-researched and comprehensive biography of John Paul II. At times, however, the book reads like an uninterrupted list of superlatives for the Pontiff. The answers to JPII's critics and detractors are back loaded at the end of the book.

On the whole, the book then becomes balanced, but it may have been better served humanizing John Paul II throughout the book. However, Weigel does tend to skew St. John Paul a bit whenever St. John Paul becomes a little bit critical of American capitalism. I regret Weigel's inability to see beyond his own American culture, but the book is fantastic otherwise. An American with a broader outlook was Cardinal Avery Dulles. And his fine study of St. JPII can help to balance Weigel.

My review of Dulles' book here … http: Nov 22, Frank Kelly rated it it was amazing Shelves: The official biography of John Paul the Great. It is as much a biography of the man as it is an explanation of his revolutionary theology and philosophy -- one which has begun to shake the foundations of they way we look at each other.

Weigel's book is deep, thick and a challenge to read five to ten pages a day can leave one plumbing new heights of philosophy for ours or days. In short, a grand treatise of one of the greatest men to live in the last five hundred years. I thoroughly and highly The official biography of John Paul the Great. I thoroughly and highly recommend it. Jan 27, Adam rated it really liked it Shelves: I haven't read any other John Paul II books so I don't really have anything to compare it too, but I would imagine this is the most comprehensive biography available. It was amazing to see how much impact he had on the entire world throughout his pontificate, and I also learned a lot about the Pope's role in the church.

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It was a really long book and it could get a little dry during some of the historical parts, but overall I thought it was a This was an excellent biography of Pope John Paul II. It was a really long book and it could get a little dry during some of the historical parts, but overall I thought it was a great book. Jun 26, Susan added it. Not to be overly dramatic but reading this book about 8 years ago was a conversion experience for me.

Just reading about his journey, his perspective, and his witness to the abundant love and faithfulness of God deepened my own faith.

Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II by George Weigel

Half way through the book I realized that even if my own doubts surface, I can believe because this man believes and I believe in him. His witness also renewed my love for the Church because I knew if such a man was chosen to lead, truly the Spirit is protecting an Not to be overly dramatic but reading this book about 8 years ago was a conversion experience for me. His witness also renewed my love for the Church because I knew if such a man was chosen to lead, truly the Spirit is protecting and guiding her Church.

There's a lot to admire about the guy, and every single thing that there is gets mentioned at least three times here, with almost nothing to countervail it. Clearly, this book isn't your go-to for objectivity. That said, it did make me like the Pope a lot more. Not just for his vigorous resistance against Nazism, the Nazi sympathizers in the church, and the Soviets. He also rescinded the year-old encyclical that declared that the sun revolved around the earth, which earns him a couple of ext There's a lot to admire about the guy, and every single thing that there is gets mentioned at least three times here, with almost nothing to countervail it.

He also rescinded the year-old encyclical that declared that the sun revolved around the earth, which earns him a couple of extra points. There are no discussion topics on this book yet. American author and political and social activist. Each summer, Weigel and several other Catholic intellectuals from the United States, Poland, and across Europe conduct the Tertio Millennio Seminar on the Free Society in Krakow, in which they and an assortment of American author and political and social activist.

Each summer, Weigel and several other Catholic intellectuals from the United States, Poland, and across Europe conduct the Tertio Millennio Seminar on the Free Society in Krakow, in which they and an assortment of students from the United States, Poland, and several other emerging democracies in Central and Eastern Europe discuss Christianity within the context of liberal democracy and capitalism, with the papal encyclical Centesimus Annus being the focal point.

He is a member of the advisory council of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.

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