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What made the experience of listening to The End and the Beginning the most enjoyable?
I thought I was somewhat informed on the pontificate of Pope John Paul II but George Weigel showed me in this excellent book how little I knew about Pope John Paul II the Great.The first part of the book tells an amazing story of the Church in Poland under the Nazis and then the Communist. I am embarrassed that I have ever placed my faith secondary to anything after hearing these stories of people willing—during my lifetime—to endure torture and even death rather than reject their faith in Christ. Is was struck at how the KGB had a whole group focused on bringing down Catholicism. I never considered that Vatican II or any Vatican office or European chancery would have Communist spies. Yes, this includes men who wore the Roman collar. It seems clear that God raised up Karol Wojtyla in very difficult situations to prepare him to sit in Peter’s chair for 26 years.In the second part of the book, Weigel takes us inside the Vatican between 1979 and 2005 to learn about the role Pope John Paul II played in the event of those years and some insight into what is required of the pope. While I was aware of the Great Jubilee celebrations, after reading this, I wish I could relive it following the agenda Pope John Paul II created for us.The last part is a reflection of the legacy of Pope John Paul II. Weigel draws on his insight to look at pontificate as we set into the deeper water where Pope John Paul II directed this ship. Weigel’s insight of why Pope John Paul II did or did not address issues helps to understand the direction of Pope Benedict XVI and perhaps even some insight into why he abdicated. There is section where Weigel lists the Bishops Pope John Paul II appointed different from the recommendations of the national bishop conferences. The lists includes the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Mario Bergoglio.I take away a greater respect for Pope John Paul II and a desire to understand his teachings.Before starting the second part of the book, be sure you know the meaning of the word modernity as Weigel uses it often.
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I thoroughly enjoyed this book, as I learned everything about my favorite saint. We have so much in common including but not limited to living through a war, as well as outdoors activities such as skiing and kayaking. Thank Q for putting such a great book about a great person on the market. I would recommend this book to anyone whether they're Catholic or not who want to learn about Saint John Paul the second.
Excellent account of the pivotal role that John Paul II played in the shaping of the events of the 20th century and his witness to hope for the new millennium. He has always been my hero but this book reminded me of the reasons why and inpired me with new ones that I didn't know about. the first part, following the Cold War, is quite heavy and the Slavic names make it a bit difficult to follow some of the intricacies but overall, an outstanding work that we can learn much from.