[Paleopsych] Reuters: New Pope Book Says Communism Was 'Necessary Evil'
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Sun Oct 17 00:23:19 UTC 2004
New Pope Book Says Communism Was 'Necessary Evil'
Thu Oct 7, 6:24 AM ET
By Philip Pullella
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Communism was a "necessary evil" that God
allowed to happen in the 20th century in order to create opportunities
for good after its demise, Pope John Paul
says in his new book.
"Memory and Identity," which is due to be published early next year,
is the ailing 84-year-old pontiff's latest and perhaps last book
intended for a mass circulation audience. All of his previous books
have been international bestsellers.
In one chapter, the pope, who lived through both Nazism and Communism
in his native Poland, reflects on the meaning of evil in life and in
"I have personally experienced the reality of the 'ideologies of
evil'. It remains indelibly fixed in my memory," he says in the book,
which is a series of conversations he had in Polish with fellow
philosophers in the summer of 1993.
Excerpts of the book, which was announced Wednesday at the Frankfurt
Book Fair, were made available by the Italian publisher Rizzoli.
The pope, who has been credited with helping bring about the fall of
Communism after his shock election in 1978, reveals that even an
optimist like him had moments of pessimism during his life under
"To me it was quite clear that Communism would last much longer than
Nazism had done. For how long? It was hard to predict," he writes.
"There was a sense that this evil was in some way necessary for the
world and for mankind. It can happen, in fact, that in certain
particular human situations, evil is revealed as somehow useful
inasmuch as it creates opportunities for good."
Many historians believe it was his support for Poland's free trade
union Solidarity after he became pope in 1978 that helped the union go
on to form the East Bloc's first free government.
The pope, whom Jews have credited with improving Catholic relations
with them more than any pontiff in history, also reflects on Nazism,
which he calls a "bestiality."
"The Lord God allowed Nazism 12 years of existence ... evidently this
was the limit imposed by Divine Providence upon that sort of folly,"
"The full extent of the evil that was raging through Europe was not
seen by everyone, not even by those of us who were living at the
epicenter. We were totally swallowed up in a great eruption of evil,"
"Both the Nazis during the war and, later, the Communists in Eastern
Europe, tried to hide what they were doing from public opinion. For a
long time, the West did not want to believe in the extermination of
the Jews," he writes.
The pope's royalties from "Memory and Identity" will go to charity as
have his previous titles.
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