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A Life with Karol: My Forty-Year Friendship with the Man Who Became Pope Hardcover – March 4, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
Stanislaw Cardinal Dziwisz's A Life with Karol is a loving portrait of his forty years as John Paul's secretary. Dziwisz was in a perfect position to be John Paul's chronicler: an ever-present but unobstrusive spectator of the daily activities, private spiritual life, and public persona of first Karol Wojtyla, bishop, archbishop, and cardinal, and then John Paul II, Pope.
Dziwisz's memoir sheds interesting light on Wojtyla's embrace of Gandhian tactics of resistance to the Polish communist authorities--a fidelity to nonviolence that led him to speak out strongly against warfare in the closing years of his pontificate; Wojtyla's great reservations about accepting the College of Cardinals' election to the papacy; his deeply-engrained conciliar temperament, a spirit of collaboration and cooperation that endeared him to both clergy and laity alike; his firm resolve to continue the work of Vatican II; his emphasis on the "new evangelization," which sought to reinvigorate a West increasingly indifferent to religion, and the ardent Christian humanism that became its centerpiece; and his efforts toward interfaith dialogue.Read more ›
Furthermore, only slightly more than half of this volume is in Dziwisz's own voice. The other half is written by the "narrator" - Gian Franco Svidercoschi - in "conversation" with Dziwisz. Svidercoschi doesn't bother to introduce himself in the book, but he worked on the 2005 TV movie, "Karol: A Man Who Became Pope," and a book that came out in 2007 entitled "Stories of Karol: The Unknown Life of John Paul II." Svidercoschi is billed as a "well-known Vatican observer" and comes from a Polish family.
I was privileged to meet Cardinal Dziwisz and hear him speak when he did a book-signing June 24, 2008 at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, D.C. At that time he confessed he was unhappy with the "overly familiar" and misleading title "A Life with Karol" and had preferred his own title of "Witness," which probably would have been more appropriate. But his editors, Dziwisz said, insisted their title would sell more books.
Disappointments notwithstanding, this book is worth adding to your collection. Dziwisz gives a beautiful, personal accounting of Wojtyla's last hours on earth. And he does a great job of explaining John Paul II's motivations for the unique conduct of his papacy and his responses to the criticisms he received. I found it riveting to the end.
The author was a personal friend of the Pope for about 40 years and he tells little interesting facts about the Pope that only a friend would know. The most interesting and touching part for me was the time the Pope was dying and the things he said and did before he died. Only someone who was at his dying bedside would know and share with us and this is done in this deep and loving book.The Pope's love of God and the church and the people of the world is so evident.
When you finish the book you will have a lot to quietly ponder about this man who we called Pope John Paul 11.
But, the book is a huge disappointment in terms of revealing anything really personal about the man who elevated so many as Blessed or Saint for the homage of the universal church. The icon is preserved, but the real man called by the Spirit to be a saint and prophet among us remains hidden.
Did Karol Wojtyla: smoke, enjoy mystery or science fiction writing, watch favorite t.v. programs, have favorite films, explore the myriad halls and hidden doors within the Vatican, ever don a disguise and roam the streets of Rome, love chocolates, doff his cassock in favor of mufti, sing in the shower, have pets, shudder at the thought of a forthcoming visitor, get sick from a meal overseas, continue to swim in the famous papal pool, stop and chat with the Swiss Guards or play cards or table games with household workers, have hobbies, prepare a meal himself, and so forth?
So many years we watched him, admired him, were upliftred by him in good times and times of sorrow and sickness, and read his works. When will we know this man who loved to tease, had a playful side, and became a saint?
That is the book which is awaited. I wish Cardinal Dziwisz had shared more of this kind of thing, the insight of a friend.
THOMAS PATRICK HULL,
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Lots of interesting info here, not only about St John Paul, but also re the Jews in Poland and the war. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Mirabai
Excellent book and excellent service; thank you! LOVE the book!Published 15 months ago by Winston G. Galusha
Listened to this on Audible and have considered this the most influential book I have listened to.
The other being Frank E. Read more
This is an outstanding book and definitely reveals why Pope John Paul II is a Saint.Published 20 months ago by Leone Gerand