John Paul The Great
Edited by William Oddie
John Paul the Great is a collection of essays by distinguished Catholic writers, each assessing, 25 years after he became Pope, some aspect of Karol Wojtyla's extraordinary achievement. The book establishes clearly that this has been not merely an exceptional pontificate, but one of a handful of epoch-making pontificates in Christian history. Further, that Pope John Paul II is not only an historical figure whose actions and personal qualities have effected one of the great turning points in human affairs, but who is also one of those rare beings who possesses the vision and intensity of focus that allow us to say not only that this is an exceptional pope, but something much more: that here, truly, is Joannes Paulus Magnus, John Paul the Great.
Far from being a reactionary, this has been a pope of startling originality and intellectual range, who has led and inaugurated change as well as defending the tradition of the Church. Newman wrote of Gregory the Great that he was one of those popes who have 'never been slow to venture out upon a new line, when it was necessary, and who, independent of times and places, have never found any difficulty, when the proper moment came, of following out a new and daring line of policy'. This could have been written of John Paul II.
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