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Pope's new book describes confrontations with communists

In a soon-to-be-published book about his 20 years as a bishop in Poland, Pope John Paul II tells of almost daily confrontations with communist authorities and describes his efforts to adopt a new and more open style of pastoral ministry.

The book, a 200-page personal reflection written last year, will be published in Italian on 18 May, the pope's 84th birthday. Its probable English title will be, Get Up, Let Us Go, a phrase taken from the Gospel account of Christ's last encounter with his Apostles.

Details of the new volume were released at a press conference in Rome March on Wednesday by Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls, and top officials of the Mondadori publishing house, which has acquired global rights to the book.

Navarro-Valls said the pope, in an introduction, describes the work as a collection of "memories and reflections" rather than a chronological account. It begins in 1958, when he learned about his episcopal appointment during a canoe trip in the Polish mountains, and covers the period up to his election as pope in 1978.

Mondadori hopes it will become a best seller, perhaps more popular than the pope's 1994 book, Crossing the Threshold of Hope, which has sold some 20 million copies in 50 editions. Mondadori published that book, too.

Navarro-Valls said the new book is sprinkled with personal details and humour. The revelations are sometimes simple: "I've always like to sing," the pontiff mentions at one point.

"The style is direct, not artificial. I think the pope made a special effort to write in a way that could be understood by the greatest number of people," the papal spokesman said.

Mondadori in in the process of engaging agents to publish the book in English-speaking countries.

In new book, pope describes confrontations with communist authorities (Catholic News Service 24/3/04)

Pope to continue trips abroad (Reuters 26/3/04)
Pope's new book bound to be another bestseller (Reuters 24/3/04)
Pope's new book out on birthday (The Advertiser 25/3/04)
Pope to publish Polish memoirs (The Guardian 25/3/04)
"Get up. Let us go!": new book by pope ( 25/3/04)
John Paul II's New Book Due Out in May (Zenit 24/3/04)

26 Mar 2004