Saint John Paul II said that a “democracy” disconnected from truth becomes a “thinly disguised totalitarianism” where, among other things, basic rights like the right to life and religious liberty are subverted.

The word democracy is thrown around so much these days in support of this or that agenda, that one can only laud the truth and clarity and timeliness of John Paul’s statement.

Karol Wojtyla was a wise and heroic figure even before he became Pope John Paul II. There have been countless books and biographies about the newly-canonised saint, but the most enlightening and enthralling, for me at any rate, is the book simply entitled “Stories of Karol – the Unknown Life of John Paul II”, translated by Peter Heinegg from the original Italian of Gian Franco Svidercoschi.

The book chronicles the schooldays of the future Pope, his family life, his vocation and the theological and intellectual training that stood him in such good stead as he prepared the ground for the deconstruction of the old Soviet Union and the re-construction and re-unification of nations within Europe and eastern Europe.

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