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The opening in Krakow as the Nazi invasion turns the world upside down and those around Wojtyla are dispersed or dead, some to re-emerge, others to live on only in his thoughts; is graphic.
What develops is the enormous depth of experience which made this Polish Pontiff so much more resonant with the peoples of the world than any Vatican bureaucrat of previous eras. It also renders the elevation of his friend Josef Ratzinger to be his successor a brilliant series of events for the Roman Catholic Church. The experience of Poland in suffering the ravages of Nazism and its eradication of Polish Culture and Jewish heritage followed by the stultifying montony and atheistic sterility of Sovietised Communism, made the steadfastness of Karol Wojtyla the very essence of John Bunyan's Mr Standfast.
This was a man of enormous resolve and mental capacity, a man of learning and a man of sporting action, yet a man who by his living, his surviving assassination, and the manner of his dying days; showed enormous courage and faith and is a man to be admired as so very few can be for his great example.
The acting was very, very good; and the juxtaposition of a resolute Church faced with the secular tyranny seeking to enslave and extirpate all resistance was a brilliant counterpoint in the film. The Cross of Nowy Huta was fantastic as a symbol, and symbolic of the cracking of the rigid frame of Europe's second totalitarian dictatorship of the Twentieth Century.
Reading the later books of Pope John Paul II - the very last series of essays - conceptualises this experience perfectly.Read more ›