The Pontiff in Winter: Triumph and Conflict in the Reign of John Paul II

Over than a quarter of a century, John Paul II has firmly set his stamp on the billion member strong Catholic Church for future generations and he has become one of the most influential political figures in the world His key role in the downfall of communism in Europe, as well as his apologies for the Catholic Church s treatment of Jews and to victims of the InquisitOver than a quarter of a century, John Paul II has firmly set his stamp on the billion member strong Catholic Church for future generations and he has become one of the most influential political figures in the world His key role in the downfall of communism in Europe, as well as his apologies for the Catholic Church s treatment of Jews and to victims of the Inquisition, racism, and religious wars, won him worldwide admiration Yet his papacy has also been marked by what many perceive as misogyny, homophobia, and ecclesiastical tyranny Some critics suggest that his perpetuation of the Church s traditional hierarchical paternalism contributed to pedophiliac behavior in the priesthood and encouraged superiors to sweep the crimes under the carpet The Pontiff in Winter brings John Paul s complex, contradictory character into sharp focus In a bold, highly original work, John Cornwell argues that John Paul s mystical view of history and conviction that his mission has been divinely established are central to understanding his pontificate Focusing on the period from the eve of the millennium to the present, Cornwell shows how John Paul s increasing sense of providential rightness profoundly influenced his reactions to turbulence in the secular world and within the Church, including the 9 11 attacks, the pedophilia scandals in the United States, the clash between Islam and Christianity, the ongoing debates over the Church s policies regarding women, homosexuals, abortion, AIDS, and other social issues, and much A close, trusted observer of the Vatican, Cornwell combines eyewitness reporting with information from the best sources in and outside the pope s inner circle Always respectful of John Paul s prodigious spirit and unrelenting battles for human rights and religious freedom, Cornwell raises serious questions about a system that grants lifetime power to an individual vulnerable to the vicissitudes of aging and illness The result is a moving, elegiac portrait of John Paul in the winter of his life and a thoughtful, incisive assessment of his legacy to the Church.
The Pontiff in Winter Triumph and Conflict in the Reign of John Paul II Over than a quarter of a century John Paul II has firmly set his stamp on the billion member strong Catholic Church for future generations and he has become one of the most influential political figu

  • Title: The Pontiff in Winter: Triumph and Conflict in the Reign of John Paul II
  • Author: John Cornwell
  • ISBN: 9780385514842
  • Page: 268
  • Format: Hardcover
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    1 thought on “The Pontiff in Winter: Triumph and Conflict in the Reign of John Paul II”

    1. I'm generally sceptical of anyone who is universally adored, and all the more so of anyone who seems to be adored for no particularly good reason other than marketing. And so I am sceptical about JPII, and Cornwell's biography is the right one for me. It's cleanly written, willing to contest the received narrative of JPII as all great things, and it's not excessively long. Cornwell's critique is fairly straight forward: as pope, John Paul tried to centralize the power of the Church; his response [...]

    2. Pontiff in Winter is a biography of Pope John Paul II written in 2004 near the end of the pope’s life. The book provides a balanced view of his papacy, which is why it has been fiercely criticized by Catholics who resent the fact that John Paul II could be characterized as anything other than in a positive light. I am not a Catholic (or even mildly religious), but I remember John Paul II as being highly regarded throughout the world during his lifetime (much as Pope Francis is today). He stron [...]

    3. The dates I mention are those during which I re-read the book. This allowed me to understand some points better because English is not my mother language. The book as such is interesting and I have read the edition that is titled:"The Pope in Winter;The Dark Face of John Paul II's Papacy".This title is more direct and reveals that the author strives to strike a balance between the late pope's good and bad qualities but his final verdict is negative. This pope did more harm than good to the Catho [...]

    4. I have read most of John Cornwell's books about the Catholic Church and found all of them fascinating: this book is no exception. The Pope was paradoxical. He had heroic qualities, but he was also profoundly conservative. Moreover, he rejected collegiality and undermined the Church at a national and local level. New thinking was required about the role of women, marital breakdown, contraception, celibacy of priests; it did not happen. Ekumenism ceased to flourish. Yes, he had many virtues, but n [...]

    5. For what is supposed to be a look at the dark side of JPII's papacy this is actually a very balanced book that acknowledges the great things that the pope did, while also showing his darker side. I found it very informative and interesting. Well worth a read for any Catholic or academic student of Catholicism.

    6. Pope John Paul II was a long time dying. Plagued by illness and accidents for over a decade, there seemed to be continuous speculation about his state of health. Yet he outlived many of those tapped to succeed him, and a good number of those who foretold his death. His determination to remain in office to the end generated enormous respect for the man, something reflected in the turnout at his funeral. Most biographies of John Paul II have characterised him as a man of immovable integrity in a w [...]

    7. This book was "okay". It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't ground breaking. I thought it was interesting enough to listen to the end since we were driving, but if I had been reading it I likely would have put it down.

    8. he subject of this book is one pope, John Paul II. Published in the year before his death in 2005, The Pontiff in Winter examines the contradictions of his papacy and the contradictions of the man. In order to understand these inconsistencies, John Cornwell begins with a look at the early years of Karol Wojtyla as a child, young priest, pastor, poet, professor, bishop, and cardinal. But the true focus of this work is the latter period of John Paul’s long pontificate, the 1990s through 2004, an [...]

    9. Fascinating book, I learned quite a bit that I did not know about how the current Vatican works. I didn't know much about the late Pope before reading this, and I'm not sure this was the best book to introduce myself to him with. I may have to read one that spends more time on his early years in order to be fair. Since I'm not Catholic and don't know much about the man I can't say if this is a fair book or if it is overly harsh, however I did not come out of reading it thinking he is a terrible [...]

    10. Oooops - I realise I have read this before and it is not interesting enough to plough through as a re-redXT!

    11. There are some claims in this book that are captivating. And some parts, just trying too hard to push a thesis about the pope and how he administered his flock.The book ends with a quotation from John Henry Newman. It is now my prayer for the Church and the present pope. I won't quote it so as not to preempt any reading.

    12. This Author seems to have a lot of anger with the Catholic church. Even though he is Catholic. He finds nothing but faults with Pope John Paul II and the church and their decisions and positions which do follow the Catholic faith. He also finds fault with the American politicians and their decisions. When I finally finished this book I was angry at the Author.

    13. A balanced look at the substance of John Paul II's papacy useful in an era where so many remember only the style of his international profile. Worth reading at least the introduction and epilogue

    14. very interesting, and accessible - I had no prior interest of knowldge but got right into this and read all the way through.

    15. Decent book overall, but the authors bias against how Rome conducts business is a little too extreme, and frankly they overhype the challenges with John Paul II's papacy.

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