Writings of Pope John Paul II

A store house of talents, Pope John Paul II had authored many books, encyclicals etc that have been upheld by the church and the people alike. Writing talents of the Pope had blossomed during his days of priesthood when he wrote under the pseudonym of ‘Andrzej Jawien’ and ‘Stanislaw Andrzej Gruda’. Initially, he wrote about the early experiences of his life, like the war, the miseries that followed the Holocaust, communist regime and the devastation caused by it, loss of freedom and dignity of common people and their plight and so on. His pastoral responsibilities also found expression in his poems and plays. Pope John Paul II, then known by his birth name Karol J Wojtyla, was keen on keeping his literary work separate from his religious writing. This is why he created the pseudonyms, so that people could judge his literary creation by its own merit.

During his life as a priest, he had also written a series of articles that were published in Krakow’s Catholic newspaper, ‘Universal Weekly’. These articles were mainly based on the contemporary Church issues. In his life, he has been credited for creating fourteen Papal Encyclicals dealing with various issues of church and humanity. One of his greatest creations was the ‘Splendor of Truth’ or, the ‘Veritatis Splendor’. In this, he emphasized the dependence of man on God, the Creator. He also explained the relationship between human freedom and divine law. As the Christian essence of western world nose-dived in the recent decades, ‘Veritatis Splendor’ came as a new beginning. Through this, the Pope expressed that divine law actually promotes human freedom and not impede it. “Without the Creator, the Creature disappears”, was the message of the Splendor of Truth.

He emphasized the importance of ‘starting afresh from Christ’ in his apostolic letter, ‘At the Beginning of the Third Millennium’. In ‘Fides et Ratio’ (On the Relationship between Faith and Reason), launched an autonomous persuit of ‘truth’ in theological matters. On this he emphasized the reasons why theologians should focus on this relationship. Among his controversial writings, ‘Evangelium Vitae’ or, the Gospel of Life can be mentioned. The critics accused him of being inflexible for writing against the right of women, abortion and contraception. Even amidst severe protests and criticisms, Pope John Paul II used his writing to promote what was the true Catholic way.

It is basically the Roman Catholic belief in its truest form that the Pope willed to propagate among the Christians through his writing. He was apprehensive about the people not knowing about their own faith and adopting bits and pieces of other religions and their beliefs. He also condemned violence in any form be it physical or, psychological, whether in home or, in wars. His writings reflected the vices of violence and the virtues of peaceful settlements. His opposition to anything that claimed life in any form was well expressed in his writings. Euthanasia, abortion or, even contraception was equivalent to murder and therefore was opposed by him. He upheld the ‘culture of life’ which is a controversial phrase in moral theology, in both his teachings and writings.

It is a privilege for many to own bronze statues of the Pope which is a collector’s item as well. It is also said to reflect the aura and the virtues of the Pope.

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