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How John Paul II ended communism Print E-mail
By Anne Applebaum   
Tuesday, 26 January 2010
Marxism, as it was practiced in Eastern Europe, was a cult of progress. We are destroying the past in order to build the future, the communist leaders explained: We are razing the buildings, eradicating the traditions and collectivizing the land to make a new kind of society and to shape a new kind of citizen. But when the pope came to Poland, he talked not just of God but also of history. During his trips, he commemorated the 1,000th anniversary of the death of Saint Adalbert, the 600th anniversary of Polands oldest university or the 40th anniversary of the Warsaw ghetto uprising. I once heard him speak at length on the life of Sister Kinga, a 13th-century nun. This was deliberate. “Fidelity to roots does not mean a mechanical copying of the patterns of the past,” he said in one of his Polish speeches: “Fidelity to roots is always creative, ready to descend into the depths, open to new challenges.”
 
I dont mean here to play down the popes spirituality. But it so happens that John Pauls particular way of expressing his faith – publicly, openly, and with many cultural and historical references – was explosive in countries whose regimes tried to control both culture and history, along with everything else.
 

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