Events » Comments
Opinion makers
Zbigniew Brzezinski - former National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter
Dear Ms.,
I am greatly impressed by your work about John Paul II... its form and content are incredibly creative - at the same time, they are a sign of faithful love and a grasp of these traits of His personality which remain a signpost to eternity for everyone who had the chance to meet Him.
Zbigniew Brzezinski
Zbigniew Brzeziński, photo: JP2 Love ©


José Carreras - Spanish tenor, gained international acclaim as an opera singer
It is well known just how magnificent the spiritual guide of Pope John Paul II has been. Having had the enormous privilege of knowing him personally, I was captivated by his huge personality, his embracing charisma and his intimacy. When in his company it was impossible not to be absorbed and engaged by his intense blue stare.  
José Carreras, photo: Forum ©


Władysław Bartoszewski - politician, historian, Secretary of State, Minister of Foreign Affairs
It was the evening of electing a new pope and our Cardinal from Cracow remarked: 'I made quick notes regarding my personal impression. News can be surprising, bewildering – and this had something remarkable in it, a sign of light and of hope; it is one of the happiest moments in my entire life, and maybe in the lives of many of us. An historic event, full of gratitude and joy, with historical significance I cannot fully comprehend but I think it may be greater than we believe.'
From those notes emerge, next to happiness, a feeling which is was then common to millions of Poles: hope. The fact that John Paul II was a Pole was always of a minor importance to me, but the kind of Pole he is – that was much more important. He is the embodiment  of the very best of Polish tradition, intelligence and tolerance, with the memory of his own life experiences and expressive sense of his own identity – he was simply Karol Wojtyla from Wadowice. It is my belief that is the reason why Redemptor hominis (Latin for ‘The Redeemer of Man') was so significant in the 1979. Today I find echo of this voice in Memory and Identity.
Władysław Bartoszewski, photo: Judyta Papp ©


Stanley A. Weiss - Founding Chairman, Business Executives for National Security.
And, I’m a fan of Pope Francis and think John Paul II did an extraordinary job.
What I meant to say was when Mohammad Khatami became President of Iran he talked about having a 'dialogue among civilizations'. So everyone talked about having a dialogue.
When I met with the hardline head of the Iranian Chamber of Commerce, he told me ';I don’t want to talk about dialogue. I want to talk business.' I said, 'Great. I’m a businessman. Let’s talk business'. To which he replied, 'Why did you overthrow Mosaddegh?'
Stanley A. Weiss archives

Marek Belka - former President of the National Bank of Poland
My last meeting with John Paul II took place in October 2004 in the form of a private audience. The Pope was already very ill at that time. He struggled to speak. He asked short questions. We met the day after I had signed the European Constitution. Not many people know this, but the Pope was the only person who publicly thanked me for signing this document. He was extremely interested in what was going on Poland. I do not want to sound cheap but, after the meeting, I had the feeling that I had spoken to an extraordinary man, a deeply intellectual patriot. Despite his conservative beliefs, he was open to other cultures, including Jewish and Islamic.
We are probably not aware of what brand the Pope was for Poland. Thanks to him we made up for the previous 200 years in terms of world reputation; millions of people became aware of the Polish nation. Once, I asked the Chancellor of Germany, Gerhard Schröder about his meeting with the Holy Father. He is a Lutheran and, I think, not a very religious one. He told me that he had met the Pope on several occasions and always had the feeling of being in the presence of holiness and that it was out of the ordinary. I cannot say that I had this same kind of feeling as Schröder, but I could not help comparing them. It is obvious that the Pope was able to attract many people. He emanated warmth. What I remember most from of John Paul II's pontificate is his first pilgrimage to Poland in 1979. I was abroad at that time. Undoubtedly, this visit has had an impact on the future of Poland. He arrived and told us the simplest thing: 'You are strong and you have nothing to be afraid of.' And we felt that. I also took part in the organization of the Polish diplomats' journey to the Pope's funeral. It was not an easy undertaking due to Lech Walesa's hesitation regarding his participation. The funeral really moved me, just like every other Polish person, I assume. There were several symbolic moments, like the opening and closing of the book placed on John Paul II's coffin. St. Peter's Square became a Polish one - everyone could see it was a great time for the Polish people. Something ended back then.
President Marek Belka


Prof. dr. hab. Andrzej Zoll – Judge and President of the Constitutional Tribunal, Ombudsman
We can find a lot of terms relating to the person of John Paul II that aim to emphasize the importance of works from His diverse activities. I would like to add one more thing to these terms - Ombudsman of the World. There is no other man who has done so much for the protection of human rights during the last decades of the 20th century and the first years of the 21st century as Pope John Paul II. We can say, then, that he has built a doctrine of human rights founded on the inherent and inalienable dignity of every human being. According to this doctrine, human rights are not granted, especially not by the will of the government. Human rights are related to the human nature and the public authority should be obliged to respect and protect them. These rights cannot be dependent on a person’s status in a given society. For me, as a person dealing with criminal law, John Paul II’s statements addressed to prisoners and the authority responsible for the prison system, enclosed in the Message for the Jubilee in the prisons, dated 09-07-2000, have a strong importance. The Pope reminded that 'the public authorities, which deprive a human being of its personal freedom in accordance with the law, as if putting the human being’s lifespan into a longer or shorter bracket, they should know that they have no power over the time of an imprisoned man'. This time remains available to the prisoner and may be used in a different ways. Appealing to the authorities, Pope John Paul II wrote: 'Abandoning actions to improve the situation of the prisoners would be equivalent with reducing a prison sentence to a simple form of social retaliation, which can only arouse hatred in the prisoner.’ In this address and many other statements made by John Paul II is contained a penitentiary program, as of yet hardly noticed by politicians.   
Prof. dr hab. Andrzej Zoll, poto: Judyta Papp ©


Janusz Glowacki - Polish-American author and screenwriter
Lech Walesa is one of the most famous Poles in the world next to John Paul II, but if the Polish people were to choose a Pope, then they probably would have chosen someone else, since this country is like that.  
Janusz Głowacki, photo: Judyta Papp ©


The Most Rev. Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis - Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East
Pope John Paul II held all people close to his heart. That is why he lived in people's hearts. I will never forget his visit to Egypt in 2000, when the Egyptians welcomed him chanting: 'John Paul II - we love you', and he responded saying: 'John Paul II loves you too'.  
The Most Rev. Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis

Rev. Adam Boniecki - Editor-in-Chief of Tygodnik Powszechny
There will always be sycophants, onlookers, skeptics and critics not approving the beatification of John Paul II. They will say, 'He should be judged by history, and not be beatified right away'. However, there will always be those who came to watch the beatification, those who constituted the crowd of one and a half million devoted. By no means ignorant simpletons, nor church bigots, but youngsters, adults and the elderly, both educated and ordinary ones. They have no need for miracles, nor for explanations of this beatification. They simply know. That is why they made this seemingly absurd effort of a journey, of badly-slept nights and standing for hours during the Holy Mass. Millions of people around the world read the sign that was John Paul II - the witness to faith. Not only his words, but mostly the person that he was, answered the human hearts' yearning for love, goodness, beauty... God. This beatification will be remembered by history as a great sign of faith, because everything that happened does not apply to any other category. Dear sycophants, critics and onlookers, you are wrong. John Paul II has not been forgotten. He still touches people's hearts. His mission still bears fruit. Is there any other way to explain what happened in Rome on that day?  
Rev. Adam Boniecki, photo: Judyta Papp ©

Janina Ochojska - Polish humanitarian activist, founder of the Polish Humanitarian Organisation
I believe that every person living a normal life and doing their job can have a positive influence on the world through very simple things. They must only be aware. Building this awareness is one of our very important tasks. Actually, it is thanks to this that we can do so much. Because this awareness in Poland has changed significantly and, luckily, keeps changing. If we realize what is the cause of the world's problems, such as lack of access to water or food, we can introduce such changes in our lives that, in time, the situation around the world will change. And this time is determined by the number of people who are aware of this.



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