Item #: 0808-4
St Pauls Price: $16.95 $3.99 ends 12/31/2021


The Mea Culpas of John Paul II

Author: Luigi Accattoli
Copyright: 1998
First Printed: 01-16-1998

This exceptional book was originally published in Italy in 1997. At that time John Thavis, Rome Bureau Chief for Catholic News Service, noted that “after nineteen years in the public eye, new discoveries about Pope John Paul II’s pontificate might seem highly unlikely. But an Italian journalist recently put his finger on a hidden theme of this papacy, a theme destined to take on crucial importance as the Church prepares for the year 2000.

“When the Pope outlined his plans for the jubilee year 2000 in 1994, he called on the Church to make a critical self-evaluation of its actions over the past centuries. The Pope’s decision intrigued Luigi Accattoli, who wondered why a Polish-born Pontiff known for his staunch defense of the Church and its institutions would initiate a critical review of Church behavior. He began researching speeches and made his surprising discovery, that Pope John Paul II had publicly admitted Church culpability 94 times, on topics ranging from the Inquisition to the treatment of women.”

When a Pope Asks Forgiveness contains Accattoli’s impressive research and the complete texts of John Paul’s “mea culpa” addresses to date. This timely book invites the reader to enter into an examination of conscience leading to the reconciliation of the human family for the Third Millennium.

About the Author: Luigi Accattoli has been Vatican correspondent for the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera for sixteen years.

About the Translator: Jordan Aumann, OP, is an American Dominican based in Washington, D.C. He has authored and translated several books published by Alba House, New York.

Book: 281 pages
ISBN-10: 0-8189-0808-4
ISBN-13: 978-0-8189-0808-8
Prod. Code: 0808-4

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"A remarkable book that deserves a wider readership than it is likely to get.... Particularly valuable is the book's inclusion of original documents in which John Paul II has no less than ninety-four times acknowledged that -- regarding racism, anti-Semitism, the crusades, war, divisions between Christians, and the treatment of women, among other things -- the faithful, including ecclesiastics at the highest level, have been unfaithful.... Some Catholics think the present Pope has 'gone too far' in asking forgiveness, while others will apparently not be satisfied until a Pope condemns the Church itself. What is certain is that no other church or religious community, never mind secular institution, has so candidly, repeatedly and voluntarily accepted responsibility for its failings. It is the kind of thing made possible by an unshakable communal confidence in the gospel of forgiveness." --Richard John Neuhaus in First Things, November 1998


"... certainly a major step in the right direction." --Patrick McCloskey, O.F.M., St. Anthony Messenger, June 1998  


"This book is must reading for all involved in or seeking peace and justice. The reading flows easily enough, though the message may at times be uncomfortable and disturbing. The pope's example and words are encouraging as they spell out the steps taken and yet to be taken as the Church prepares to enter the next millennium." --Pastoral Life, May 1998


"These are wise thoughts, well worth reading word for word. They deal with the Church's attitude toward the Crusades, dictatorships, war and peace, religious wars, the Indians, Islam, Luther, even the Mafia. Accattoli provides background information, history, the thoughts of bishops and cardinals, and surrounds us with the atmosphere of the Church in transformation. Most of all he informs us of the Church's desire to be less burdened by the weight of history, 'better reconciled with the other Christian communities, and with a bond of friendship with every religion and with all men of good will.' [This book] is a celebration of the rich and glorious meaning of humility." --The Book Reader 1998


"Setting the Record Straight: This is a very interesting new book by Italian journalist, Luigi Accattoli. Based on the papal outline for the Jubilee Year 2000, it includes a critical self-evaluation by the Church of its actions over past centuries. The author catalogues 94 instances of these cited by Pope John Paul II. Part I covers 'Historical and Ecumenical Precedents' (changes in liturgical prayers, etc.), while Part II examines 21 major prouncements by Pope John Paul II (Crusades, Galileo, the Inquisition, Racism, etc.). With bibliography." --Crux of the News, March 2, 1998 


"[In this] provocative new book by Luigi Accattoli, [the author points out that] Pope John Paul's intent is never to grovel, or to second-guess Church leaders of past eras. He often asks for mutual forgiveness, and his evocation of historical wrongdoing is typically brief, to-the-point and aimed at moving on -- a process he sometimes calls the 'healing of memories.' Accattoli traces the pope's approach to an interesting treatise written in 1965 by the late Swiss theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar who urged the post-Vatican II Church to make a 'full confession' of past misdeeds. The pope greatly admired von Balthasar and appears to have followed his advice to the letter." --John Thavis,Pittsburgh Catholic, June 27, 1997

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