In divided Poland, a dispute over the legacy of St. John Paul

The Deacon's Bench | 1/12/2019 | Staff
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Here’s something you don’t see every day in The New York Times, a long and thoughtful look at the life and legacy of a saint.


Knees - Head - Robes - Man - Prayer

On his knees, head bowed before bloodstained robes, a Polish man was deep in prayer.

He was worshiping in a chapel at the John Paul II Center in Krakow, a sprawling complex where relics of the former pontiff are displayed, including the clothes he was wearing when nearly killed by an assassin’s bullet in 1981.

Engineer - Man - Prayers - Name - Wojciech

An engineer, the man said he preferred to keep his prayers private and asked that only his first name, Wojciech, be used. But he was excited to talk about his beloved pope.

“Whenever I have a problem in my life, I come here to pray,” Wojciech said.

Nation - Figure - Solidarity - Poles - Man

In a nation increasingly divided, one figure can still inspire solidarity among Poles: The man born Karol Jozef Wojtyla, who, in 1978, became John Paul II, the first non-Italian pontiff in 455 years.

The nation’s favorite son, he still looms large in Polish life more than 40 years after he was named Bishop of Rome.

Statue - Pope - Hands - City - Czestochowa

From a towering 45-foot-tall statue depicting the pope with outstretched hands that overlooks the city of Czestochowa, to the relics distributed to churches throughout the country — including drops of his blood in more than 100 parishes — Poland is awash in tributes to the man commonly referred to as “Our Pope.”

But at a moment when the country finds itself torn by political conflicts that are cast by all sides as an existential...
(Excerpt) Read more at: The Deacon's Bench
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