Sunday, January 13, 2008

John Paul the Great, by Peggy Noonan

This audiobook was obtained from the Alachua County Public Library through It was read by the author and was 8 hours and 30 minutes long.

This book is almost as much about the author, Peggy Noonan, as it is about Pope John Paul II. This is a very personal recollection of Pope John Paul II by a woman who was greatly affected by him.

Noonan, the former speech writer for Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, was only a nominal Catholic when she was covering the election of John Paul II by the College of Cardinals as a reporter for CBS. What she learned about him from this fairly close perspective caused her to examine her own life and what she believed. Subsequent close encounters, including a personal audience near the end of his life, had a deep impact on her, and she is not shy about discussing how she arrives at her own need for God.

There is also a good bit about Mother Theresa, who Pope John Paul began pushing for beatification as a saint soon after she died. And, as fawning as Noonan is about Pope John Paul in general, she is pretty tough on him for not dealing directly with the American sex scandals involving priests molesting minors and the church bureaucracy that covered it up.

This was very skillfully written, very touching, and very challenging to anyone who saw the Pope as a mere figurehead in history. Give it 4 stars.

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