Book of miracles shows late pope’s human side, author says
OXFORD, England – A Polish Catholic journalist whose new book has documented miracles of healing attributed to Pope John Paul II said the book shows the very human side of the late pontiff.
"Whether or not we see these stories as miraculous signs, they show the human dimension of this pontificate – how the pope was close to people and touched their lives," said author Pawel Zuchniewicz.
"The Miracles of John Paul II," issued by Warsaw-based publishers, includes examples of healings attributed to the pontiff's intervention before and after his death April 2, 2005.
In the book, Kay Kelly of Liverpool, England, describes how she recovered from what was thought to be terminal cancer after praying with the pope in March 1979, and a mother from Mexico's Zacatecas state, Heron Badillo, recounts how her son overcame leukemia after meeting the pope in 1990.
Besides other testimonies from Latin America, Asia and Poland, the book includes interviews with the medical office director in Lourdes, France, Patrick Theillier, and with Moscow Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz on reported miracles in Russia.
In a March 22 telephone interview with Catholic News Service, Zuchniewicz said the book was "made possible by a readiness to share moments and experiences," which he had collected personally or through local dioceses.
He said that he also analyzed dramatic historical events during the pontificate, such as the 1986 fall of Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos and the overthrow of communist rule in Eastern Europe, for "signs of divine good will."
"The greatest miracle was that communism collapsed without war and bloodshed," said Zuchniewicz, a reporter and radio commentator who has authored several previous books on Pope John Paul. "The pope was fully aware of the dangers of working against this all-powerful system in a nuclear age. I think it was his great prayerfulness which helped him face up to this challenge."
Zuchniewicz said he believed Pope John Paul could have been a "martyr through his way of life," adding that the numerous testimonies about alleged miracles reflected the style of his pontificate.
A tribunal for Pope John Paul's sainthood cause concludes in Krakow, Poland, April 1 after testimonies and documents are collected from throughout the country.
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Copyright (c) 2007 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
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