(Vatican Radio ) I'm sure you remember Saint John Paul II's invitation to us not to be afraid. Certainly he himself was not afraid to stand up to the trials of life in defense of others, neither as Pope nor as priest back in Poland. To mark two years since his canonisation Veronica Scarisbrick shares with you a programme focusing on his life in Poland under the communist regime which features interviews done at the time of his pontificate.
Listen to this programme presented and produced by Veronica Scarisbrick:
As you'll discover in this archive programme no one ever doubted the courage of Pope John Paul, certainly not his closest advisors. Among them Nigerian Cardinal Francis Arinze who specifies how .."Pope John Paul II put the Church on the map of the world and in the corridors of those who make policies as perhaps no other pope in our time...you know where he stands on major problems touching church and society...he is not afraid."
Some of those who personally knew him before he was elected Pope back in Poland testify how courageous he was . Among them a fellow school chum, a student of the future pope's at University, a personal friend and a Polish countess. All of whom recall the courage and moral strength of Karol Wojtyla both as a private and public figure. In a special way when he stood up to the repressive communist regime offering solidarity to those around him.
An impression of courage and moral strength reinforced by the Pope's own words which you can hear in this programme, such as when he denounced the injustice of poverty: "...the poor people ..poor in different ways, not only lacking food but also deprived of freedom and other human rights.. ", condemning those: " ...who take these goods away from them amassing to themselves the imperialistic monopoly of economic and political supremacy at the expense of others ..".Or again when he spoke of the importance of solidarity: .." for the disciple of Christ solidarity is a moral duty stemming from the spiritual union of all human beings who share a common origin, a common dignity and a common destiny ..".