The Wisdom of Pope John Paul II (1920-2005):
Quotes compiled by Margaret Odrowaz-Sypniewski


"Authentic love is not a vague sentiment or a blind passion. It is an inner attitude that involves the whole human being. It is looking at others, not to use them but to serve them. It is the ability to rejoice with those who are rejoicing and to suffer with those who are suffering. It is sharing what one possesses so that no one may continue to be deprived of what he needs. Love, in a word, is the gift of self."

February 13, 1994, Angelus Prayer in Vatican City.


"Man cannot live without love. He remains a being that is imcomprehensible to himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in it."

Redemptor Hominua (The Redeemer of Man), Vatican City, 1979.


"Genuine love ... is demanding. But its beauty lies precisely in the demands it makes. Only those able to make demands on themselves in the name of love can then demand love from others."

Message to Young People in Camaguey, Cuba, 1998.



"The family, the great workshop of love, is the first school, indeed, a lasting school where people are not taught to love with barren ideas, but with the incisive power of experience. May every family truly rediscover its own vocation to love!"

February 13, 1994, Angelus Prayer, Vatican City.


"The fostering of authentic and mature communication between persons within the family is the first and irreplaceable school of social life; and an example and stimulus for the broader community relationships marked by respect, justice, dialogue and love"

Familiaris Consortio (On the Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World) Vatican City 1981.



"Forgiveness demonstrates the presence in the world of the love which is more powerful than sin. Forgiveness is also the fundamental condition for reconciliation, not only in the relationship of God with man, but also in relationships between people. A world from which forgiveness was eliminated would be nothing but a world of cold and unfeeling justice, in the name of which each person would claim his or her own rights vis-a-vis others."

Dives in Misericordia (Rich in Mercy), Vatican City, 1980.



"Revelation teaches us that the power to decide what is good and what is evil does not belong to man, but to God alone. Man is certainly free, inasmuch as he can understand and accept God's commands. And he possesses an extremely far-reaching freedom, since he can eat "of every tree of the garden." But his freedom is not unlimited: it must halt before the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil," for it is called to accept the moral law given by God. In fact, human freedom finds its authentic and complex fullfillment precisely in the acceptance of that law. God, who alone is good, knows perfectly what is good for man, and by virtue of his very love proposes this good to man in the commandments."

Veritatis Splendor (The Splendor of Truth), Vatican City, 1993.



"Freedom is not the ability to do anything we want, whenever we want. Rather, freedom is the ability to live responsibly the truth of our relationship with God and one another."

Address to Youth, St. Louis, Missouri, 1999.



"Power is respnsibility: it is service, not privilege. Its exercise is morally justifiable when it is used for the good of all, when it is sensitive to the needs of the poor and defenseless."

Evening Prayer, St Louis, Missouri, 1999.



"There is a need for politicians, both men and women, who profoundly love their own people and wish to serve rather than be served. There can be no place for intimidation and domination of the poor and the weak, for arbitrary exclusion of individuals and groups from political life, for the misuse of authority or the abuse of power."

Homily, Onitsha, Nigeria, 1998.


Pope John Paul II His Life and His Family.

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Grabia, Andrew. "A Study of the Genealogical Lines of the Wojtyla Family" from Rodziny. Volume III, No 2.(June 1981). Rodziny is the journal of the Polish Genealogical Society of America.

Legrand, Catherine and Jacques. John Paul II. London: Dorling Kindersley, 2000.

Levi, Monsigner Virgilio and Christine Allison. John Paul II. New York: William Morrow and Company, 1999.

Walsh, editor; Michael J. Lives of the Popes. London: Slamander Books, Ltd., 1998.

Weigel, George. Witness to Hope. New York: Clift Street Books, 2001.

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