Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II

Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II

George Weigel / Dec 07, 2019

Witness to Hope The Biography of Pope John Paul II The Definitive Biography of Pope John Paul IIWitness to Hope is the authoritative biography of one of the singular figures some might argue the singular figure of our time With unprecedented cooperati

  • Title: Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II
  • Author: George Weigel
  • ISBN: 9780060732035
  • Page: 243
  • Format: Paperback
  • The Definitive Biography of Pope John Paul IIWitness to Hope is the authoritative biography of one of the singular figures some might argue the singular figure of our time With unprecedented cooperation from John Paul II and the people who knew and worked with him throughout his life, George Weigel offers a groundbreaking portrait of the Pope as a man, a thinker, anThe Definitive Biography of Pope John Paul IIWitness to Hope is the authoritative biography of one of the singular figures some might argue the singular figure of our time With unprecedented cooperation from John Paul II and the people who knew and worked with him throughout his life, George Weigel offers a groundbreaking portrait of the Pope as a man, a thinker, and a leader whose religious convictions defined a new approach to world politics and changed the course of history As even his critics concede, John Paul II occupied a unique place on the world stage and put down intellectual markers that no one could ignore or avoid as humanity entered a new millennium fraught with possibility and danger.The Pope was a man of prodigious energy who played a crucial yet insufficiently explored role in some of the most momentous events of our time, including the collapse of European communism, the quest for peace in the Middle East, and the democratic transformation of Latin America This updated edition of Witness to Hope explains how this man from a far country did all of that, and much and what both his accomplishments and the unfinished business of his pontificate mean for the future of the Church and the world.

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      Published :2019-07-21T09:24:43+00:00

    About "George Weigel"

      • George Weigel

        American author and political and social activist Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center Weigel was the Founding President of the James Madison Foundation Each summer, Weigel and several other Catholic intellectuals from the United States, Poland, and across Europe conduct the Tertio Millennio Seminar on the Free Society in Krakow, in which they and an assortment of students from the United States, Poland, and several other emerging democracies in Central and Eastern Europe discuss Christianity within the context of liberal democracy and capitalism, with the papal encyclical Centesimus Annus being the focal point.He is a member of the advisory council of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.


    1. "Are you ready? Let's go.""Yes, ma."It was a Sunday, January 15, 1995. I was twelve years old. Pope John Paul II was in the Philippines for his second visit, and my mother and I were going to the World Youth Day Mass at Rizal Park in Manila.We went to the park in the early morning, and it was a sea of humanity. There is a famous photo of the papal helicopter arriving, with the gargantuan crowd beneath it. It was as if the park itself was made of humanity. It was later estimated that up to five m [...]

    2. This 900 page book is quite a read! I spent 6 months reading it a couple of years ago, and it was worth every minute I put into it! It combines European history since the end of WWI, church history, and the life of JPII. There are brief reviews of his many encyclicals, his writings from Vatican II, and many of his other written words. George Weigel is a phenomenal writer. If I hadn't known the story I would have thought it was a piece of fiction. If you have not read this book do yourself a favo [...]

    3. What can I possibly say about the subject matter of this book that hasn't been said many, many times over. Saint John Paul II is truly one of God's Blessed People. May sound strange but when he was elected Pope you just knew he was destined for greatness far beyond what any of us could hope for. I pray every day to him and my prayers never go unanswered. For anyone interested in the Catholic religion of John Paul II this is a must read.

    4. Witness to Hope is a monumental work by George Weigel, and is put - along with The Civil War: A Narrative - into a special category of books that I have read. They are books of serious matters and are books of serious weight as well. I dropped this book from 5 to 4 stars only because its length and subject matter required two reading efforts - separated by a few months - to complete.The narrative of Poland under the Nazis, of the suffering of many groups (Jews, Christians, priests, professionals [...]

    5. Witness to Hope is a wonderful, detailed biography of Blessed John Paul II. Not only does it describe all of the work that he accomplished during his pontificate, it also gave an insight into the motivation behind so many of his actions. Some may consider this book overly kind to the Pope, but as someone who grew up during the JPII generation, I gained a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for the Holy Father.

    6. A no more definitive biographical account could one ask for, "Witness to Hope" (or "Witness to Grope," as my sardonic brother said years ago) goes into extraordinary detail into the John Paul's theological, philosophical, personal, and ecclesiastical agendas, providing an almost completely chronological narrative of his 20 years in the papal office at the time of the writing. What this authoritative biography lacks compared to today's famously successful biographers (McCullough, Goodwin-Kerns, I [...]

    7. I read this book partly as an exploration of Roman Catholicism. As I studied, I found a liberal evangelical church leader who claims to be Bible believing said that I would find Pope John Paul to be a true saved believer in Jesus Christ, even though he is a Roman Catholic (and the highest ranking).It was an enjoyable read. He is a very charismatic leader. It is a great rags-to-riches story of an unlikely person climbing the ladder to the top. He clearly is not trusting in Jesus Christ's atonemen [...]

    8. It took me quite a while to get through this book, but it was well worth the effort. What an amazing man Pope JPII was. Even if you're not a Catholic or even a Christian, you have to admire the effort that this man put into living and spreading his faith. The miles traveled, the numerous writings, surviving the Nazi occupation of Poland during WWII and then the Communist Government thereafter. Pope JPII raised the bar for future Popes. He was truly a giant of the 20th century, and his impact wil [...]

    9. Not for the faint of heart or the impatient! I gained a deeper insight into the life of a true leader of the Church. In particular, I enjoyed reading how JPIi set an example for Christian discipleship, used his influence for a greater good, and stood firm to uphold the teaching of Jesus Christ. Finally, this book gave me a new appreciation of papal encyclicals and their importance as learning resources for the faithful.

    10. If you want to understand the challenges St. John Paul II had to face during his years as the successor of St Peter you must read this book. From the priest chastised on the tarmac at Managua's Sandino International Airport to the encounter with Mehmet Ali Agca, from the intervention in the Jesuits to the meeting with Mother Theresa, this book shows us how hard is the mission of the Pope and how hard was to John Paul II to be a Pope in those turbulent years.

    11. Weigel's tome is a must read for everyone. He loses a star because of the long and tedious hundred pages or so where Weigel recounts every conversation and letter that went into ending communism. Eck! Undoubtedly, it was important in understanding the pope, but Weigel obviously loves this stuff. 95 pages could be edited out and readers would - i think - be appreciative. Otherwise, it's an amazing work that ought to be on every bookshelf.

    12. I read this as a protestant intrigued by the cultural impact that this man was making in the world at large. It called me to carefully examine my assumptions about Catholocism as a whole. What an inspirational human being. I you have read the pope's writings you may agree that Mr. Weigel I feel made his subject's mind and heart more accessible than John Paul could have done himself.

    13. No better history lesson on the 20th century than to study the remarkable life of JPII. The best thing about this book is Weigel gives an introductory summary of all of JP's writings brilliant writings we will be unpacking for centuries!

    14. "His first book, on the ethics of married life, raises more than one clerical eyebrow by its celebration of human sexuality as a gift of God for the sanctification of husband and wife." You won't hear such view from secular media!

    15. An incredible overview of the life, ministry, and impact of Pope John Paul II. The detail and thoroughness Weigel brings to this work is remarkable. However, the author’s own unabashed favorable view of Pope John Paul II at times colors the telling of history. A more critical look at certain challenges during Pope John Paul II’s papacy would have been interesting. Still, if you’re interested in Pope John Paul II this is the definitive biography and a great read!

    16. Very good. It got a little boring at the very end as the author was wrapping up the narrative and trying I guess to speculate about JP2s legacy. But otherwise very compelling.

    17. Witness to Hope is the authorized biography of John Paul II (Karol Woytyla) written by a former theology professor and prolific writer on Church issues. It is a stunning work that benefits from several important factors: -1- the author was allowed to interview John Paul II personally on six occasions-2- he had access to individuals inside John Paul's inner circle at the Vatican on an "as needed basis"-3- Jean Paul's former teaching colleagues at the Catholic University of Lublin and his friends [...]

    18. Finally made it through this one, have to admit with a bit of skimming. Early on in this JPII biography George Weigel laments the fact that the media so often portrays the goings on in John Paul II’s world from a purely political viewpoint, when in reality, while certainly having a political role, the pope was primarily motivated by the spiritual aspect of his office. Nevertheless, this biography reads as a chronology of the political forays of the now late pope. Never ending accounts of the p [...]

    19. An eye-opening biography of the life of Pope John Paul II -- it is a tapestry of the life of Pope John Paul II that weaves the 'threads of his life on the cloth of the world stage'. It progresses from his childhood and youth in totalitarian and Nazi controlled Poland, to his rise through the ranks of the Church through his role in resolving many world conflicts, including his historical involvement in the 'demise of Communism'. Weigel weaves his story with JP II's encyclicals and other writings [...]

    20. I first read Weigel's biography of St. John Paul II as a freshman in college. Young, naive, wet behind the ears, I understood very little of the political and philosophical implications of the life of this remarkable man. Still, the book made an impression on me and John Paul II became one of my personal heroes. Almost 10 years later, with seminary and four years of priesthood under my belt, returning to this book has been a profound spiritual experience. Beyond heroic, JPII was a man convinced [...]

    21. What a man. What a life.Reading this 12 years after JP II's death, I was struck not only by the lessons of history that he embodied and absorbed through his experiences but by his amazing amount of understanding for how this world works. He truly saw things as they are.I expected this book to be most interesting for what happened in his life and pontificate prior to the fall of communism. What ended up striking me more were his observations for where society would go if it continued to fail in r [...]

    22. I must admit, this book was extremely daunting in the beginning. But after two chapters, I never wanted it to end and couldn't stop telling people about it. George Weigel's book is a treasure, recounting the truly awesome life of one of the greatest men of the 20th century. With each vignette, this book gave me a greater understanding of how truly radical Blessed John Paul II was in the Church's history, challenged me to think on a different moral level, and inspired me to live a theology heavil [...]

    23. Witness to hope is a well-researched and comprehensive biography of John Paul II. It does a learned job in providing backgrounds to the political and social climates covered in Karol Wojtyla's past. This gives a feel for the tension and precarious balances present in a World War II-era Eastern Europe (Poland) and Cold War-era Western Europe (Rome). This also allows for a context and understanding of those times and what living in those eras would have felt like.At times, however, the book reads [...]

    24. Pope John Paul II was a true inspiration to myself before I read this book. After I read it I realised how truly a great man he was.His life story, if fiction, would be too far fetched to actually believe. From his simple upbringing in Poland he encountered the horrors of Nazi occupation and then the further horrors of a Communist regime and then to come through the end of all that and rise through the hierarchy of the Catholic Church to become Pope and be one of the most witnessed human beings [...]

    25. Comprehensive and authoritative. However, Weigel does tend to skew St. John Paul a bit whenever St. John Paul becomes a little bit critical of American capitalism. I regret Weigel's inability to see beyond his own American culture, but the book is fantastic otherwise. An American with a broader outlook was Cardinal Avery Dulles. And his fine study of St. JPII can help to balance Weigel. My review of Dulles' book herecorjesusacratissimum/2009/

    26. The official biography of John Paul the Great. It is as much a biography of the man as it is an explanation of his revolutionary theology and philosophy -- one which has begun to shake the foundations of they way we look at each other. Weigel's book is deep, thick and a challenge to read (five to ten pages a day can leave one plumbing new heights of philosophy for ours or days). In short, a grand treatise of one of the greatest men to live in the last five hundred years. I thoroughly and highly [...]

    27. This was an excellent biography of Pope John Paul II. I haven't read any other John Paul II books so I don't really have anything to compare it too, but I would imagine this is the most comprehensive biography available. It was amazing to see how much impact he had on the entire world throughout his pontificate, and I also learned a lot about the Pope's role in the church. It was a really long book and it could get a little dry during some of the historical parts, but overall I thought it was a [...]

    28. Not to be overly dramatic but reading this book about 8 years ago was a conversion experience for me. Just reading about his journey, his perspective, and his witness to the abundant love and faithfulness of God deepened my own faith. Half way through the book I realized that even if my own doubts surface, I can believe because this man believes and I believe in him. His witness also renewed my love for the Church because I knew if such a man was chosen to lead, truly the Spirit is protecting an [...]

    29. There's a lot to admire about the guy, and every single thing that there is gets mentioned at least three times here, with almost nothing to countervail it. Clearly, this book isn't your go-to for objectivity. That said, it did make me like the Pope a lot more. Not just for his vigorous resistance against Nazism, the Nazi sympathizers in the church, and the Soviets. He also rescinded the 500-year-old encyclical that declared that the sun revolved around the earth, which earns him a couple of ext [...]

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