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New book details how Pope John Paul II practiced mortification

Catholic World News - January 27, 2010

A new book on the life of Pope John Paul II confirms that the late Pontiff sometimes beat himself with a small belt, practicing “the discipline” that is a traditional form of mortification. He also sometimes slept on a bare floor, according to the book by Msgr. Slawomir Oder, the postulator for his cause of beatification. “It is clear the aspect of penitence was present in the life of John Paul II,” Msgr. Oder said at a press conference announcing the publication of his work.

The new book, entitled Why He Is a Saint, also confirms that the late Pontiff prepared a letter of resignation, to take effect if he became unable to carry out his responsibilities. On the other hand, as CWN reported yesterday, Msgr. Oder said that John Paul II rejected the idea that he might resign simply because of advancing age and continue living as a “Pope Emeritus.”

The book reveals that in 1981, Vatican officials were aware of plans by the leftists Red Brigades to kidnap the Pontiff. When he was shot in St. Peter’s Square by Mehmet Ali Agca, Msgr. Oder reports, Pope John Paul thought at first that the assassination attempt was connected with the Red Brigade plot.

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