Witness to Hope: The Life of John Paul II (Review)

Witness to Hope - St John Paul II
Witness to Hope – the Life of John Paul II

This is a powerful, effective, moving telling of the life of St. John Paul II with documentary footage and recollections by those who knew him.

And based as it is on the comprehensive biography by George Weigel, it also comes with Weigel’s exhaustively thorough examination of St. John Paul II’s colossal effect on the twentieth century, still so very little recognised.

“St. John Paul II ‘s colossal effect on the twentieth century, still so little recognised” … Alas!

What this masterful DVD can do is make a reparation to that situation.

For St. John Paul II ‘s life and work have been so often calumnied by the media that he becomes invisible …

One thinks of Gandhi, who St. John Paul II rightly regarded as a great man.

All the world so regards … the Eastern man of Peace …

But St. John Paul II the great CATHOLIC man of peace has so often gone unregarded in a world so hostile to Catholicism.

The lies and distortions are pernicious indeed.

What a film like this can serve to do is to awaken us all to the immensity of Ven. John Paul II ‘s contribution, his vast, vast contribution to not only the Catholic Church, but to our entire civilisation.

If you want to know St. John Paul II and only have two hours I urge you to see this film.

And if you know and love St. John Paul II already, I feel like urging you to make this film available to your family and friends.

In that way, you may help to make amends to the injustice done to him by the mainstream media.

Afterword 2010: This short review was written for Amazon before this website was conceived. I hesitated to put it up here, in that in this context it might sound like little more than just a sales pitch.

But it is not a sales pitch. The enthusiasm and passion with which I originally wrote it for Amazon is very genuine. I feel there is a crying need for films like this – that give such a different picture to the mainstream media.

For beginning in 1950´s Poland, St. John Paul II began a remarkable non-violent and sustained protest against communism – the end results of which even decades later are still little recognised. Huge volumes exist on this, such as the Catholic Weigel’s Witness to Hope or the secular approach of Kwitney’s Man of the Century.

But not all of us have time for such sizeable volumes. And here in the compact space of two hours, a very important story is told which deserves to be HEARD …

I would also like to say that this review comes from a time when I was a less traditional Catholic than I am today.

Today, I can understand traditionalists who lament that St. John Paul II did not do enough to protect the Tradition or appoint Bishops who would protect the Tradition. And towards the end of his life, St. John Paul II admitted he had not always chosen his Bishops carefully enough.

Even a great Saint can make mistakes!

Alas, the traditionalist critics also miss very much indeed. For St. John Paul II’s mighty achievement against Communism, his stance for life, his efforts to at least begin turning the Church away from the post -60’s abyss towards which it was headed, all this and far, far more must never be forgotten.

He was indeed a saint – of astonishing beauty. Pray for us, St. John Paul II!

And once again: this DVD tells a very important story that deserves to be heard.

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