Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Book Review

A Life With Karol, by Stanislaw Dziwisz.

In this delightful little book, Dziwisz details his forty-year friendship with the man who became Pope John Paul II. Dziwisz started his career as the personal secretary to Father Wojtyla, then stayed by his side as he advanced through the Polish church as Bishop & Archbishop, then as Cardinal and eventually as Pope.

Dziwisz, now himself a Cardinal, tells the story of Wojtyla's career as an anti-communist in Poland, detailing many of the indignities he faced in the officially atheist regime. He tells a humorous story of the trouble then-Cardinal Wojtyla faced trying to to attend the second conclave of 1979. He received permission to leave Poland, but was told that he would have a difficult time returning to his country. Little did the minor communist functionary who gave Wojtyla his one-way visa know that he would not be returning to Poland for a year. And then he would be returning as leader of the worldwide Catholic Church.

I found stories of these early years, specifically the fight against totalitarian communism, to be fascinating reading. It is the level of detail and "insider" stories that makes a very worthwhile book to read.

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