“Memory and Identity”: The Pope proves himself an “exceptional European”

.- Referring to the new book by Pope John Paul II, “Memory and Identity,” Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco of Madrid said this week the Pontiff proves himself an “exceptional European in his reflections and memories”.

John Paul II is “a first-class European,” the cardinal said, with rich experience that few politicians and top officials of public life “can equal.” 

The book, which was released simultaneously in Italy, Germany and Brazil, closes out a trilogy that began with “Gift and Mystery,” in which the Pope wrote about his 50 years as a priest, and was followed by “Get Up, Let’s Go,” which he wrote to mark the 25th anniversary of his episcopal ordination.

Cardinal Rouco maintained that in the book, which is a summary of philosophical and theological conversations between the Pope and two Polish philosophers, Józef Tischner and Krzysztof Michalski, about the dictatorships that characterized the twentieth century, John Paul II directly addresses a series of issues in same way in which “he has related with the outside world.”

The cardinal pointed out that in “Memory and Identity,” “it’s the Pope” who is reflecting, but it’s also “a Pole,” “a first-class European,” almost unmatched by other “men of culture or politics,” and mainly, “it’s a citizen of the world.”

Although the Pope doesn’t cease to be Bishop of Rome in writing this book, “Memory and Identity” should be considered a “particular work” of John Paul II, said Cardinal Rouco, as opposed to his “magisterial” ones.  According to the cardinal, with these types of publications, the Holy Father has established a “new formula” for “communicating with the Church and with humanity.”

The “New Evangelization” is “the inspiration behind the entire book,” the cardinal added, arguing that in no other document does the Pope “align himself so closely with the Evangelii Nutiandi” of Paul VI.

The book is now in stores, and in addition to the first versions in Italian, German, Portuguese and Spanish, it is expected to be published in 40 different languages.

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