Pope John Paul II

Pope Saint John Paul II, born Karol Józef Wojtyła, also known as Saint John Paul the Great, was pope of the Catholic Church from 16 October 1978 until his death on 2 April 2005. He was the second longest-serving pope in modern history after Pope Pius IX who served for nearly 32 years from 1846 to 1878. Born in Poland, John Paul II was the first non-Italian pope since the Dutch Pope Adrian VI who served from 1522 to 1523.
John Paul II is recognised as helping to end Communist rule in his native Poland and eventually all of Europe. John Paul II significantly improved the Catholic Church's relations with Judaism, Islam, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Anglican Communion. He upheld the Church's teachings against artificial contraception and the ordination of women, supported the Church's Second Vatican Council and its reform, and in general held firm to orthodox Catholic stances.
He was one of the most travelled world leaders in history, visiting 129 countries during his pontificate.
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Available for the first time in English, the private reflections of the modern pope recently elevated to sainthood—deeply personal writings that reveal a spiritual leader who agonized over his service to God, continually questioning whether he was doing enough.

As the head of the Roman Catholic Church for twenty-five years, from the final decades of the twentieth century to the first years of the new millennium, Pope John Paul II significantly impacted our world. As famous as a rock star, this powerful leader who conferred with numerous heads of state was the ultimate model of wisdom and religious commitment for numerous Catholics around the globe.

Throughout much of his adult life, from 1962 until two years before his death in 2003, John Paul II kept a series of private diaries in which he disclosed his innermost thoughts, impressions, and concerns. Written in his native Polish and never before available in English until now, these journals provide intimate and deeply moving insight into a man, a priest, and a saint’s spirituality and a life devoted completely to God.

In God’s Hands lays bare the soul of this powerful, influential statesman, revealing a devout man untouched by his celebrity status; a selfless servant of God who spent decades questioning whether he was worthy of the role he was called to carry out. Over forty years, from his bishopric in Krakow to his election to the papacy to his final years, one question guided him: "Am I serving God?"

Entrusted to his personal secretary—who defied John Paul II’s instructions to burn them after his death—these notebooks provide us with a privileged glimpse into the life of a humble man who never took for granted his mission or his exalted role in the church and in the world.

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