This week, Pope Francis I is visiting the United States, with stops in Washington, DC, New York City, and Philadelphia. In honor of His Holiness’ visit, we are highlighting a “holy trinity” of books about the Papacy and Popes, especially Pope St. John Paul II and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. From helping to end the Cold War to resisting the oppression of the Nazis and the Communists, these books show how Catholic faith guided and molded the lives of the Popes.
1) The Cold War was not ended, as liberals say, by internal factors and Gorbachev alone. Instead, Western anti-communists, including President Ronald Reagan, Pope St. John Paul II and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, helped bring down the Iron Curtain with ideology and a strong foreign policy. John O’Sullivan’s The President, The Pope and The Prime Minister highlights how these three leaders gave the West the resolve to stop Communism.
2) Pope St. John Paul II rose from being a bishop in a Poland under totalitarian rule to being the Pope who helped bring down the Warsaw Pact. George Weigel’s unofficial biography of Pope St. John Paul II, Witness to Hope is a catholic description of his Catholic life, from his childhood to his early career onwards to his Papacy, including his assassination and his 1979 speech in Poland. The books shows, with detail, how the man born Karol Wotjyla became a Pope — and a saint.
3) Pope Emeritus’ Benedict XVI’s memoir about his first 50 years on Earth — Milestones — offer a glimpse at his life and theological development. From being forced into the Hitler Youth to his entry into the Church hierarchy, Milestones helps explain how Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI became who he is today.