frontline: pope john paul II - the millennial pope

pope praying
discussion:  spirituality and faith...What are your thoughts and stories about seeking faith, or losing faith, or finding faith? (Please limit your letter to under 200 words)


Thank you so much for this genuine and generous presentation.

As an African Proverb said it: "The death of an elderly is a stack library in fire."
Just because knowledge was transmitted orally, not in written form.

Today, I could say that Beloved Carol Wojtyla is alive! He is my pope, the one that I lived to know and admired in his Encycles; but did not know that well, for to know a person one should look deep in his past.

Thank you for helping us to knowing the son of Poland, who stood up for my ancestors. Even though lately in his life, I agree with him for taking the time to speak out about this; when he had got to the right position. It is quite wise of him. So we will continue living with him spiritually.

Seynabou Theresa Ndiaye
Cincinnati, Ohio


We did not understand why this pope was argumentative as he was, until we saw your show. This man was sent to us, as a messenger, like a prophet in the Old Testament. Your show has given to us the story of what this pope was saying to us and did not understand until he was dead. Our destiny is to learn how to join with God.

Donald Stock


I am very appreciative of how you told the story of Pope John Paul. It was one of the finest accountings of a human life that I have had the privilege of watching. Your coverage of his vision, passion, and personal warmth as well as his impact upon history was quite comprehensive.

I also thank you for allowing him to represent his own perspective on the various issues he faced during his life while not neglecting to help your viewers understand why so many Catholics, not to mention non-Catholics, have taken issue with some of his stances.

I was especially touched by the explanation you offered for why John Paul failed to appreciate the faith and heroic ministry of such clergymen as Bishop Oscar Romero in Latin America despite the fact that the witness of Bishop Romero (and the numerous other Catholic martyrs there) was clearly just as faithful an expression of the Gospel and the teachings of Vatican II as what John Paul and his fellow clergymen did in Eastern Europe. The programs recounting of his very fruitful acts of repentance and reconciliation with the Jewish People was also very moving.

As is so often the case with us human beings, the piety of this wonderful man was clearly the source of his many great successes as well as his failure to fruitfully engage some of the critical problems the Church faced during his life. I pray that, despite the non-apostolic manner in which they were chosen, the cardinals of John Paul will manage by Gods grace to choose a successor who, while blessed with the likes of John Pauls faith and courage, has an experience of our world and a vision for the Church that will enable him to move beyond the limitations of that dear servant of God now taken from us.

(Please publish my email address if possible)

John-Otto Liljenstolpe
Seattle, WA


Thank you ever so much for such a beautiful and thoughtful presentation - I was totally unable to leave the room while the program was running.

diane rudnick
bakersfield, california


I am a practicing Catholic. I read the bible on a regular basis. I was touched by your documentary on Pope John Paul II. I have purchased this video years ago and I know that you have added new material to it.

What's more profound about this now, and I might add struck a deep cord with me, was the latter commentary on his legacy and strong belief in life. How he perservered through his own sickness for all of the world to see and yet remained constantly clear that life should never be taken for granted that it should be treasured. This Pope, unlike many so-called icons of this day, truly practiced what he preached. Our world is that much more lost without him. He was a constant reminder of why I'm a Catholic. God Bless you and us John Paul.

glenn gomez
laguna niguel, california


The Frontline episode of Pope John Paul was incredible. It shows the complexity, not only of the man, but of the times in which we live. While people on all sides of the discussion share many of his beliefs of on the meaninglessness of modern culture, those same people may disagree on matters of what is moral, and what truly is spiritual. I truly appreciate the complex exploration of such a complex and conflicted man and religion.

Jim Brillon
Anaheim, California


I learned things about the Pope I never knew such as his background which makes his views on the Church and women more understandable. I do not agree with his views on many issues, but I can understand them better. He accomplished a great many things for this world.
Pehaps the next Pope can continue on with the good aspects of Pope John Paul II such as relating to the people while embracing a more liberal view as far as women, birth control, and poor people are concerned.

Mary Anne Hattemer
Los Angeles, CA


John Paul II changed the world. He was successful in confronting and defeating Communism in Eastern Europe.

He has left to us the work of continuing to confront the moral and constitutional evils of legalized abortion and euthanasia, practices which if not outlawed will destroy human rights, and in America, basic constitutional protections as well.

We also need to work to eliminate capital punishment.

Richard Escobales
Buffalo, NY


Thank you for providing insight into the the man and his "message" to the masses.

Danell Tomasella
Lexington, MA


I am pleased that Frontline showed this program and that it tried to show the complexity of the man and yet he comes to us with simple honesty in his faith . I found Pope John Paul II to have a moral center that did not waiver.

We always knew where he stood, which we can not say for other world leaders. The Faith portion of the program was moving. I enjoyed it the second time on the day of his death, and new life with the Lord.

Antoinette Carbone
Miller Place, NY


I am as sad as the next person to hear of the Pope's death and he was a great spiritual person.

However I find that his teachings on life and death are not rooted in the reality of today's world . You just have to look at those poor wretched women in some third world country with 10 children or some poor old soul suffering with no family or proper medical care to help them through the journey to the end of lfe .

maron nassy
new york , new york


I have been consistently disappointed by John Paul II, but admired his faith and witness especially regarding war and the death penalty.

You're program, airing on the day of his death, was so fair, so balanced and so beautifully produced that it puts the Cable/Networks pre-canonization of him to shame.

Thomas Muldoon
Somers, NY


while channel surfing on this windy rainswept sat. evenning I was fortunate to stop at pbs for the show about the Pope.It was a beautiful show about a man of Pure Love and faith,it brought me to tears to hear from people on how they have discovered their faith.

guy danza
bklyn, ny


I lived under communism for the first 26 years of my life. I remember how it felt to read or watch only the party line.

Your program reminds me of the party line we used to get when I studied communism (as a compulsory subject) in college. You were only allowed to think one way. Any other opinions or beliefs were forbidden; they didn't exist. There was (not too subtle) message everywhere that only a religious bigot or a traitor had other opinions.

As a woman, I resent the fact that the American women out there have to listen to complaints of nuns who are upset that they cannot be priests and women who cannot use contraception or have abortion. They are not representing me!!! Where is the presentation of the other side of the issue? Where did you show women happy in their vocation, whatever that may be? Surely if women want to serve God and the church there are endless opportunities. Does that really have to be exclusively the power of consecration and hearing of confessions that will satisfy? And what about avoiding the need for abortion and contraception by using Natural Family Planning? Or are you going to use the usual media line that it is "rhythm" and "Russian Rulette"? Funny, I read somewhere within the last year that China approved of it as one of the "official" means of limiting the size of family. In India and in some developing countries, the variations of the method are taught to illiterate women!! It is only in U.S., the most media savvy, the most "free" the most "informed" country that Natural Family Planning has been a secret. My mother taught it to me from notes that she received from Slovak nuns. These nuns smuggled the information from France to Slovakia in 1960's...If that could be done there, why not here? Talk about liberation of women!!! Women actually are taught to call the shots when to have intercourse!!! God forbid that would happen in U.S.!!! We like to fix our "problems" with pills, however damaging it is to us, women, men, families, as long as enough people will tell us that we are liberated that way.

I will discuss your program with my children and make sure they understand the slant you are putting on your "educational" programming.

Gabriela Sefranek
Champaign, Illinois


I've been turned off to this pope ever since I saw him, at his early visit to the American Eucharistic Congress in Chicago, refuse Holy Communion to a confused man who was holding out his hands as was normal for his diocese; when he finally got that the Pope was insisting that he receive the Eucharist only on his tongue, he was totally crestfallen, but obeyed. That display of authoritanianism plus the ultra conservative pronouncements that he made subsequently over time led made me to just dismiss him.

However, the well-researched and finally-tuned program that Frontline presented made me realize that he was indeed--for reasons of his background, learning and faith--the world spokesman to ask the questions and denounce the appalling evil of our times. We feel it in the depths of our beings and desperately need to continue this dialogue--and to live in the hope he defined.

Ann McLennan
Santa Barbara, CA


really really great documentary.

Please tell Andrea M. that my favorite Catholic hymn is also Emmanuel, so haunting and never heard much.

Congratulations on a very special presentation.

maryann mccaffrey
east hampton, ny


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