Hidden Pope: The Untold Story of a Lifelong Friendship That is Changing the Relationship Between Catholics and Jews: The Personal Journey of John Paul II and Jerzy Kluger

Hidden Pope: The Untold Story of a Lifelong Friendship That is Changing the Relationship Between Catholics and Jews: The Personal Journey of John Paul II and Jerzy Kluger

by Darcy O'Brien
     
 

This book offers the story of Jerzy Kluger, a Polish Jew, and Karol Wojtyla, a Polish Catholic who became Pope John Paul II, recounting how their friendship, forged in prewar Poland, has had a dramatic impact on Christian-Jewish relations.See more details below

Overview

This book offers the story of Jerzy Kluger, a Polish Jew, and Karol Wojtyla, a Polish Catholic who became Pope John Paul II, recounting how their friendship, forged in prewar Poland, has had a dramatic impact on Christian-Jewish relations.

Editorial Reviews

David Murray
The Hidden Pope makes a strong case for John Paul's sincerity in trying to heal the breach between Christian and Jew, but also makes it clear that even the Holocaust winds were unable to thaw much of the icy anti-Semitism that still exists, not only in Poland and other parts of Europe, but in the high councils of the Vatican as well. -- NY Times Book Review
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The lifelong friendship of two men, one the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, the other a virtually unknown Polish engineer, makes for a remarkable saga in the expert hands of O'Brien (winner of the 1997 Edgar for Best Fact Crime book for Power to Hurt). O'Brien's muscular prose adds vigor to a fascinating personal tale played out against the great moments of modern European history. Beginning with John Paul II's election to the papacy in 1978, the narrative recalls the near-idyllic boyhoods of the two principals, known then as Lolek (the future pope) and Jurek. Cast as a parallel biography, the book depicts the future pope as a gifted student, at once playful yet conscious of deeper meanings to reality. His best friend, less scholarly but also a vibrant spirit, is an equally compelling character. O'Brien explains that Kluger lost his entire family in the Holocaust and was imprisoned for years in Stalinist labor camps. Through all the drama, the two men maintained contact, and their friendship has continued into their old age. O'Brien discloses how the friends' relationship has affected events on the world stage, especially the Vatican's recognition of the state of Israel. Anyone intrigued by the often surprising confluences of history, politics and religion will relish this impressive study in faith, friendship and mutual respect.
Library Journal
O'Brien is the author of 11 books, including the best-selling novel Murder in Little Egypt, and his new work is so easily readable and beautifully written that it seems like a novel instead of an important biographical and religious study. Pointing out Pope John Paul II's distinctive and positive impact on the development of Catholic-Jewish relations, O'Brien considers the influence of the Pope's lifelong Jewish friend, Jerzy Kluger. He also gives historical background for changes in the policy of the Catholic Church and shows how the writings of the forward-looking French historian Jules Isaac have influenced Papal thought. A number of major books on Pope John Paul II have appeared recently, including John Kwitney's Man of the Century (LJ 9/15/97), and this is another major contribution that will be widely read. Paul M. Kaplan, Lake Villa District Lib., Ill.
Kirkus Reviews
Intended for a wide audience, this tribute to John Paul II, via a Polish-Jewish friend, verges on the literary equivalent of a dashboard saint. Known for his engaging accounts of true-life crimes (he won an Edgar for Power to Hurt, 1996), O'Brien here celebrates the opposite end of the moral spectrum in the person of the reigning pope. O'Brien wants to show that, hidden behind the image of "moral scourge" that "secular intellectuals" have laid over the pope, is a tireless worker for redress of Christian anti-Semitism. Largely through diaries of and interviews with John Paul II's Jewish friend since childhood, Jerzy Kluger, who now lives in Rome, O'Brien tells the story of youthful good will between the young Karol (Lolek) Wojtyla, and the Jews of his hometown, Wadowice, Poland; their shared suffering under the Nazi occupation; the pope's historic visit in April 1986 to Rome's Great Temple; and the slow process of talks, quietly promoted by Kluger, that culminated in the Vatican's official recognition of Israel in December 1994. O'Brien acknowledges the widespread impression of Polish anti-Semitism and, especially in his evocations of childhood scenes in Wadowiceþone of these shows young Lolek responding enthusiastically to a cantorial concert in the local synagogue, helps to mitigate it. But serious students of Jewish-Christian relations will be disappointed with this sometimes chatty friendship story, which is more assertively Polish-Catholic than it needs to be. When O'Brien calls the French Jewish historian Jules Isaac "the progenitor of all contemporary re-examinations and re-evaluations of Judaism in the time of Christ," because of his influence on Vatican thought, heignores the earlier scholarship along the same lines of the Anglican clergyman James Parkes; and Jewish readers will squirm over the descriptive "Polish-American," applied to Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. As for the pope, filtered here through others' adoring eyes, he remains as "publicly aloof," in the author's words, as his office demands.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780875964782
Publisher:
Rodale Press, Inc.
Publication date:
03/15/1998
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
6.36(w) x 9.27(h) x 1.48(d)

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Seamus Heaney
One of the significant stories of the century told by the right storyteller.

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