Wonderful! Jan 2, 2008
If you want to read a book which gives insight into the life and charachter of Karel Wojtyla (John Paul II) this volume is an excellent place to start. It is the moving story of two classmates who experienced chilhood together in Warsaw and Poland One was a Jew, and the other a committed Catholic, so much so, that he was elevated through the ranks of the church until he was elected supreme pontiff. The other carved out an accomplished career in law, diplomacy and buisness. The two remain friends, even after Wojtyla's busy life in the Holy See, and his election to the papacy.
However, the book is not about the Vatican, or the machinations of the church, but rather about the richness of friendship, which transcends boundries such as faith and culture. Or rather, it might be better to say that friendship is encapsulated in a love for humanity that was embodied in the life of John Paul "The Great".
Central to the book is the theme of kinship of Jews and Catholics. John Paul was a man who lived with Jews throughout his life, and this book is a testament to his respect and call for dignity in Jewish-Catholic relations. Most notable is the account of the historic visit he makes to the synagogue of Rome and his friendship with the Rabbi, Professor Elio Toaff. It was the first visit probably ever of a pontiff to the Roman synagogue, and his childhood friend,Jerzy Kluger was at the heart of the historic event.
A book which gives hope.