Blessed POPE JOHN PAUL II (1920-2005), born Karol Jozef Wojtyla, was beatified on May 1, 2011. He reigned as Pope of the Roman Catholic Church from October 16, 1978 until his death on April 2, 2005, at the age of 84. He is widely regarded as one of the most influential figures of the 20th Century, and known for his humanitarian and peace-keeping efforts worldwide. His books include Crossing The Threshold of Hope, Love And Responsibility, and Gift and Mystery.
Crossing the Threshold of Hopeby Pope John Paul II, Vittorio Messori (Editor)
A great international bestseller, the book in which, on the eve of the millennium, Pope John Paul II brings to an accessible level the profoundest theological concerns of our lives. He goes to the heart of his personal beliefs and speaks with passion about the existence of God; about the dignity of man; about pain, suffering, and evil; about eternal life and the meaning of salvation; about hope; about the relationship of Christianity to other faits and that of Catholicism to other branches of the Christian faith.With the humility and generosity of spirit for which he is known, John Paul II speaks directly and forthrightly to all people. His message: Be not afraid!
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First, I'm not Catholic, but I found this book to be beautifully written and articulate. In putting together a book I was working on for Putnam, I wanted to get the pope's understanding of end-time prophecies. This was the right book, but I got much more than that. One of the poignant parts of the book was the pope's explanation for all the divisions in the Church. First, he acknowledges that many of these divisions came about because of the sins of Christians against one another. (Though he doesn't say on which side, but presumeably on all sides.) The pope is surprisingly affirmative of the different denominations that have split off from Catholicism. He asks, 'Could it not be that these divisions have also been a path continually leading the Church to discover the untold wealth contained in Christ's Gospel. . . ? Perhaps all this wealth would not have come to light otherwise. . . . It is necessary for humanity to achieve unity through plurality. . . .' I recommend the book to any non-Catholic who wants to get a more accurate perspective of what the Roman Catholic Church believes at its heart.