cover image The Genius of John Paul II: The Great Pope's Moral Wisdom

The Genius of John Paul II: The Great Pope's Moral Wisdom

Richard A. Spinello, . . Sheed & Ward, $22.95 (237pp) ISBN 978-1-58051-206-0

Though beloved for his warmth and charismatic personality, Pope John Paul II was often portrayed in popular media as rigid and narrow-minded when it came to his pronouncements on moral issues. Spinello, director of ethics programs for the Carroll School of Management at Boston College, fiercely challenges that characterization in this overview of the late pope's moral teachings. Spinello explains that John Paul's views are founded on the Bible and the "living tradition" of the Catholic faith, including the early church fathers as well as the more recent writings of the Second Vatican Council. They are also shaped by philosophy, particularly the work of Thomas Aquinas. Spinello goes on to outline those views, often contrasting them with those of dissenting Catholic voices. Readers who want more than the sound-byte version of John Paul's moral positions and are willing to dig deeper into the underpinnings of the late pope's thinking will find Spinello's work both thoughtful and thorough. (Feb.)