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He interpreted for us the paschal mystery as a mystery of divine mercy. In his last book, he wrote: The limit imposed upon evil "is ultimately Divine Mercy" ("Memory and Identity," pp. 60- 61). And reflecting on the assassination attempt, he said: "In sacrificing himself for us all, Christ gave a new meaning to suffering, opening up a new dimension, a new order: the order of love. ... It is this suffering which burns and consumes evil with the flame of love and draws forth even from sin a great flowering of good" (pp. 189-190). Impelled by this vision, the Pope suffered and loved in communion with Christ, and that is why the message of his suffering and his silence proved so eloquent and so fruitful.

Divine Mercy: the Holy Father found the purest reflection of God's mercy in the Mother of God. He, who at an early age had lost his own mother, loved his divine mother all the more. He heard the words of the crucified Lord as addressed personally to him: "Behold your Mother." And so he did as the beloved disciple did: "he took her into his own home" (John 19:27) -- "Totus tuus." And from the mother he learned to conform himself to Christ.

None of us can ever forget how in that last Easter Sunday of his life, the Holy Father, marked by suffering, came once more to the window of the Apostolic Palace and one last time gave his blessing "urbi et orbi." We can be sure that our beloved Pope is standing today at the window of the Father's house, that he sees us and blesses us. Yes, bless us, Holy Father. We entrust your dear soul to the Mother of God, your Mother, who guided you each day and who will guide you now to the eternal glory of her Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Funeral Homily for Pope John Paul II, by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. Vatican City. April 8, 2005.

Biographical Resources

John Paul II: The Millenial Pope Frontline Television Documentary. "An exploration into his character and beliefs and his fierce challenge to the modern world."
The Pontificate of Pope John Paul II, a special feature of EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network).
"Be Not Afraid . . ." The Vatican's Special Feature on the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, from 1978 thru 2005.
Pope John Paul II: Photo Gallery from the book John Paul II: A Light for the World. From a special feature on the website of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Karol Józef Wojtyla, John Paul II: May 18, 1920-April 2, 2005. Zenit News Service. "Rogito": the Document Placed in Pope's Coffin. A translation of the "Rogito," the record of the life and works of John Paul II, read by Archbishop Piero Marini, master of pontifical liturgical celebrations. After being signed by all those present, the document was placed in John Paul II's coffin. April 8, 2005.

Newspapers & Periodicals

All-Embracing Man of Action for a New Era of Papacy, by Robert McFadden. New York Times April 3, 2005.:

The man who would call himself John Paul II was not the traditional papal figure, compassionate and loving but ascetic and remote behind the high walls and the elaborate ceremony of the Vatican. Here was a different kind of pope: complex, schooled in confrontation, theologically intransigent but deftly politic, full of wit and daring, energy and physically expressive love.

More than outgoing, he was all-embracing - a bear-hugging, larger-than-life man of action who had climbed mountains, performed in plays, written books and seen war, and he was determined from the start to make the world his parish and go out and minister to its troubles and see to its spiritual needs.

A Man for All Seasons: The very modern papacy of John Paul II Wall Street Journal:

. . . this was a man eminently comfortable with modernity--even while he refused to accept modernity's most shallow assumptions. Just as he offered his first public words as pope in Italian to make himself understood by those below his balcony, he held that ultimate truths about man and his relationship with his Creator are never outdated, however much they require constant expression in new languages and new circumstances.

"A magnificent pope who presided over a controversial pontificate", by John Allen Jr. National Catholic Reporter April 2004.
The Last Anti-modern Pope, by Sandro Magister; interview with Giovanni Maria Vian: "His was a Church of saints set against the powers of evil: first Soviet communism, then the civilization of money, sex, and the liberty that enslaves."