James Felak on John Paul II and Communism
Date: June 27th, 2010
What role did John Paul II play in helping to destabilize communism in Poland and the Eastern Bloc? James Felak, professor of history at the University of Washington, discusses his research on the life of John Paul II and how his experience growing up in Poland during World War II and the Soviet-linked regime conditioned his attitudes towards communism. We cover the advancement of Jozef Wojytyla’s through the ranks of the Polish Church, his influence at Vatican Council II, and whether he could be considered a “restorationist” pope. Prof. Felak provides interesting details on John Paul II’s three major visits to Poland and how the leaders of the Soviet Union viewed this incredibly popular pontiff. At the end of the podcast, Tony Gill presses Prof. Felak on an interesting counterfactual: Would communism have collapsed when it did if Wojytyla never became pope? Recorded: April 21, 2010
Prof. James Felak’s website.
After Hitler, Before Stalin by James Felak.
Private Truths, Public Lies by Timur Kuran.
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