St. John Paul II greets throngs of Poles waiting for a glimpse of their native son at the monastery of Jasna Gora in Czestochowa during his 1979 trip to Poland. CNS photo/Chris Niedenthal

Film highlights John Paul II alliance with Reagan

  • July 12, 2019

WASHINGTON -- Forty years after his first pilgrimage to Poland, a film and book has been released exploring St. John Paul II’s alliance with “deep spiritual bond” with U.S. President Ronald Reagan.

While the two world leaders didn’t share the same religious faith — Reagan was a Protestant — they did “share the same moral convictions that led them to confront atheistic communism,” say the authors of the documentary The Divine Plan.

Senior White House officials gathered June 21 with leaders of various faith groups to commemorate the 40th anniversary of JPII’s first pilgrimage to Poland with a screening of the film set to be released worldwide Nov. 9.

The film by Robert Orlando, an award-winning writer and filmmaker, is based on a book of the same title that he co-wrote with Paul Kengor, a New York Times best-selling author and political science professor.

On June 2, 1979, St. John Paul celebrated a historic Mass in Warsaw and began a nine-day visit to his home country. During the Mass, the pope prayed God would send down His Spirit to renew Poland, which was then under communist domination.

Joe Grogan, U.S. director of the Domestic Policy Council, said Reagan and St. John Paul had a “remarkable partnership.”

“These two great leaders brought about the historic collapse of the Soviet Union and the miraculously peaceful end to the Cold War,” he said.

As Poland’s native son, St. John Paul had a key role in the demise of European communism. For years he criticized the moral bankruptcy of the system, to applause in the West. His visits to his homeland helped light the fire of reform, which led to the first non-communist government in the Soviet bloc.

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