(Vatican Radio) While it's common knowledge that Saint John Paul II played an instrumental role in the fall of communism, it seems he acknowledged this to a lesser extent than some of the leading political figures of his day. To find out more in this respect all you have to do is read his book 'Memory and Identity, Personal Reflections', as the chief organiser of almost all of his pastoral journeys abroad, Cardinal Roberto Tucci once told Veronica Scarisbrick.
Listen to this programme presented and produced by Veronica Scarisbrick:
In 'Memory and Identity', published shortly before Saint John Paul II's death in 2005, the Polish Pontiff bequeaths to us an intellectual and spiritual testament by means of a series of conversations with leading intellectuals in which he focuses on some of the most challenging issues of his turbulent times. Among the topics he addresses in the publication is his view of the role he himself played in the fall of communism.
Cardinal Roberto Tucci who was close to Saint John Paul II for many years says that what transpires in this book is how this twentieth century pope did not believe his was such a clear cut role in this respect. But adds how not everyone is of this same opinion: 'Gorbachev certainly and also Jaruzelski stress the role the Holy Father played in the crumbling of the Soviet Union' .
Cardinal Tucci mentions a couple of passages in the book where the Polish Pontiff touches on this issue and attributes this historic event to the failure of the Soviet socio-economic system as well as pay tribute to the role of the Trade Union Movement 'Solidarność' and its ripple effect across Eastern Europe.