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Pope Francis to publish a book with reflections on St. John Paul II

The book is expected to be published sometime ahead of the 100 year anniversary of the birth of Karol Wojtyla on May 18.

(Image: CNA)

Vatican City, Jan 28, 2020 / 08:00 am (CNA).- Pope Francis has co-authored a book of reflections on the life of St. John Paul II to be published in Italian.

The book, entitled “St. John Paul the Great,” is the product of a series of conversations between Pope Francis and Fr. Luigi Maria Epicoco which took place from June 2019 to January 2020, according to its preface.

The book is expected to be published sometime ahead of the 100 year anniversary of the birth of Karol Wojtyla on May 18.

When Wojtyla became Pope John Paul II in 1978, a 41-year-old Fr. Jorge Mario Bergoglio was serving as the provincial superior of the Jesuits in Argentina. Pope John Paul II appointed Bergoglio to be an auxiliary bishop in 1992, elevating him to become Archbishop of Buenos Aires in 1998, and creating him a cardinal in 2001. Pope Francis canonized St. John Paul II in 2014.

The book’s co-author, Fr. Epicoco, 39, has written two dozen books on spirituality since his ordination in 2005, including “John Paul II: Memories of a Holy Pope” which he wrote with Archbishop Piero Marini in 2014. Epicoco is a professor of philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome, and offers numerous lectures and spiritual retreats throughout Italy.

The pope is known to admire Fr. Epicoco’s writing. Before Christmas, Francis gave each member of the Roman curia a copy of the Italian priest’s book, “Someone to look up to: A spirituality of witness”.


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12 Comments

    • Bergoglio ignored John Paul II while in Argentina….this is a shameless attempt to co-opt that saint’s name to his own cause, tying them together in the public mind.

  1. Hmmmm. It appears as if there may be more continuity with the pontificate of JPII (and BXVI) and that of Francis than has been generally thought among so-called conservative Catholics. See e.g. https://semiduplex.com/ “Some thoughts on Francis and the conservatives.”

    • Thanks for the link, but now having read semiduplex.com this reader is unpersuaded that Pope Francis is only “heightening [a] contradiction[s] left in John Paul’s magisterium”.

      This is to point out that St. John Paul II presented the various “contradictions” precisely in order, within the contradictions, to then draw a line. Does Pope Francis then remove the line? Yes? This would no longer be the claimed hermeneutics of continuity. Instead, the unnamed author of semiduplex.com finds it useful to gloss over the complete and clear meaning found in a careful reading of Familiaris Consortio, Veritatis Splendor, the Gospel of Life, etc.

      True, in two side cases, John Paul II’s Assisi convention of 1986 and his kissing of the Koran do enable Pope Francis’ more adventuresome welcoming of Pachamama into the Vatican, his use of a Wiccan stang in place of the papal staff at the recent World Youth Synod, and his kissing of the soles (souls?) of Sudan’s leaders.

      But even in the case of the interreligious Assisi ambiguities, Pope John Paul II then framed things clearly and in this way in his concluding address (“Seek to be Peacemakers,” Oct. 27, 1986):

      “I would like now to express my feeling, as a brother and friend, but also as a believer in Jesus Christ, and, in the Catholic Church, the first witness of faith in him. In relation to the past prayer, the Christian one, in the series we have all heard, I profess here anew my conviction, shared by all Christians, that in Jesus Christ, as Savior of all, true peace is to be found, ‘peace to those who are far off and peace to those who are near’” (cf Eph. 2:17).

      Not so with Pachamama and with the pluralist joint declaration of Abu Dhabi.

      • Thanks for responding. The unnamed author of semiduplex.com is P.J. Smith, who has written a dozen or so articles for “First Things.” He may be described as a kind of Catholic Integralist, along the lines of The Josias (Semiduplex is linked on their website), Edmund Waldstein, O.Cist., Peter Kwasniewski, Thomas Storck, etc. I reread the article I mentioned in view of your comments, and I agree that you make some good points, namely that Francis removes the line that JPII drew within the contradictions. Nevertheless, Team Francis claims he is in continuity with the latter and many agree. The larger context of the Semiduplex article is that there is enough (weaponized) ambiguity in VII’s Decrees on Religious Freedom, Ecumenism, and parts of the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World that a pope of a certain mindset could claim to be in continuity with JPII and BXVI and get traction with a large portion of Catholics even as he goes about blithely dismantling essential tenets of Catholicism. It strikes me that Francis publishing a book with reflections on St. John Paul II is another effort to try to show that his pontificate is in continuity with the previous two.

  2. I wouldn’t trust Bergoglio’s perspective on JPII and am suspicious that he will attempt to claim some sort of continuity between his pontificate and JPII’s.

  3. Simple: Pope Francis is hiding behind his writing of a book about John Paul II after, as already mentioned here, he dismantled the John Paul II Institute For The Family, something so absolutely vital today, and that he turned instead into something into his ideological image and likeness. A stab and then a kiss?

  4. According to the Catholic Herald, books about Pope Francis have not sold well. Would like to see how a book he writes himself sells.

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