Friday, December 03, 1999

'Witness to Hope' explains life of Pope John Paul II

The Cincinnati Enquirer

Witness to Hope, a new biography of Pope John Paul II, is as enormous as the influence its subject has had on 20th-century history.

        At nearly 1,000 pages, the biography (Cliff Street Books, $35) covers the span of the pope's life: his childhood and early manhood in Poland; his years as a priest, bishop and cardinal, challenging Poland's communist regime as he struggled for religious freedom; his election as pope and pilgrimages around the world; and his vision for the year 2000 and beyond.

        Author George Weigel, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C., who has written about the pope for more than two decades, also details the beliefs that have guided John Paul throughout his life. Based on extensive interviews with the pope, his closest associates and oldest friends, Mr. Weigel explores John Paul's response to the sexual revolution, his longstanding commitment to Jewish-Christian relations, and the mystical aspects of his spirituality.

        Mr. Weigel will be in the Tristate Dec. 14 to sign copies of Witness to Hope.

        Mr. Weigel is sympathetic to Pope John Paul II and strives to explain his life and ideas from the pope's perspective. He believes that, despite being perhaps the most famous figure in the world, the pope is misunderstood by many of his audiences.

        “This most visible of men may also be the least understood major figure of the 20th century,” Mr. Weigel says. “Certainly the judgments about the man and his accomplishments have been, to put it gently, contradictory.”

        • What: Book signing by George Weigel, author of Witness to Hope, a new biography of Pope John Paul II.

        • Where: Authentically Catholic Bookstore, 618 Washington St., Covington.

        • When: Dec. 14 at 1 p.m.


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Donald Scalf