Nine Days That Changed the World (2010) Movie Script

[ Monks Chanting ]
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crowds cheering in background]
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[Crowds cheering faintly in background
/ solemn music ]
We all remember
that Stalin famously asked
at some point during the second World War:
How many divisions has the Pope?
Well, he got his answer in June '79:
More than Stalin could imagine.
Many more divisions than
Stalin could imagine.
Newt Gingrich narrates:
Perhaps at no time in the 20th century,
had one man so influenced a nation.
Gingrich - It sparked a great movement of
human liberation throughout eastern Europe.
Woman narrator - A revolution
of conscience
that confronted the lies of
Marxism and Leninism.
It led to the freedom of millions.
Gingrich - Many contributed to the defeat
of Soviet Communism,
but it was Pope John Paul II who
arguably had the greatest impact.
[ Mellow, inspirational music plays ]
John Paul II, in a singular way,
embodied the human triumphs, tragedies,
adventures of the second
half of the 20th century.
As no one else did.
The man who stood for peace.
The man who preached against war.
The man who preached for
individual freedom.
And..his message was not just to the
Poles, but to the other people
repressed by the Communist, Atheist
regime. that you, too, should have hope.
And you, too, should have
the strength of your faith.
And you too have
possibilities to become free.
The election of a Pole as Pope,
was for many, many, many
Poles, a tremendous validation of
their experience of the 20th century.
This a country that had
suffered enormously.
And, finally, here was
something "good" happening.
So, the whole of Poland,
the whole of Eastern Europe,
the whole of the world, could see,
in a way, the real ruler of Poland.
The man who had the hearts
of the Poles on his side
was the leader of the Catholic Church.
And the Communists were just
simply a bureaucratic facade
and one that looked increasingly weak.
In June of 1979,
Pope John Paul II would return
to his homeland: Poland.
His 9-day pilgrimage
would change the world.
Born Karol Wojtya in 1920,
his encounter with Nazism and Communism
Would shape his lifelong
opposition to evil.
Pope John Paul says
that even in the depths of
Marxist Communism and in Naziism,
two systems that he lived
under and suffered through,
he said "Even there, God was bringing
good out of these great evils."
He was so convinced that God is so powerful
that he is able to turn Evil on its head.
That he believed that even in
these very dark moments of history,
God was not absent. That God
was bringing good out of these things.
If we only have the faith to see it.
To understand what
what John Paul IIs historic
trip would mean for Poland,
and the world,
we must remember the unique
history of this country.
And how it influenced the
young Karol Wojtya.
We are talking about this country.
You really cannot understand this country
without Jesus Christ.
Without Christianity.
That was something fundamental.
That was something which
deeply, radically changed
the way of thinking of the
majority of the society.
And, in Poland, it's
an identification with
the crucified Christ.
Because Poland has so often been conquered.
And so often what you'd labored
for generations to build,
was torn down and taken by others.
And so you are constantly being emptied.
My father served in World War II
with a free Polish officer, and
the Polish officer said to him one time,
"I'm glad that your
President Roosevelt talks
about Four Freedoms. It is very inspiring.
But, Poland's never really
needed more than two:
Freedom from Russia
and freedom from Germany".
And that Polish officer's quip
sums up a great deal of Polish history.
During Stalin's time there
was police terror.
Afterwards, it was rather this everyday
greyness of life without hope.
Just survival level.
Just survive.
So, basically, from the
end of the 18th century
up to the 1950s,
every 30 years,
the nation was losing its best people.
Who were being killed. Who were being
deported. Who were being exterminated.
So the memory of this is
extremely deep in the nation.
Gentle guitar music
Karol Wojtya was born in
the small town of Wadowice
in southern Poland.
He grew up in a modest apartment
across from the local church.
He grew up there with his widower father.
His mother died before he was 9 years old.
And an older brother, a doctor,
died when he was 12 years old.
So the family was: the father,
a retired military officer,
and young Karol Wojtya
He was a brilliant student.
He was, by his own testimony,
obsessed with the theater.
He was a great sportsman.
Hiking, skiing, swimming.
He was a remarkable young man,
whose many gifts and talents
were somehow integrated by his faith.
From very early on in his life, he was
a youngster of deep, Catholic piety.
The church in Poland is
traditionally known to be Marian.
So, he grew up in the Polish
church with this tradition of
devotion to Mary. With May devotions
being sung, with the rosary.
And, basically, what's essential
in the devotions of Mary,
is the life of faith.
Mary is a woman who
lives out her life in faith.
Open to the mystery
of God leading her life.
Monks chanting
And, in an attempt to read his
life in the light of the Mystery of God,
which is happening in his life,
he would tie the experiences of his life
with Mary. Seeing his life
as a pilgrimage of faith.
When, some sense, he's led by the hand,
by the gentle feminine hand of Mary
whose leading towards the
mystery of God.
The son of the president of
Wadowices Jewish community,
Jerry Kruger, was a
close friend of Wojtya.
Wadowice was a town 20% Jewish.
It had a long history of civility,
tolerance, decent
inter-religious relationships.
As the pressure of the 1930s increased,
that civility began to fray.
Particularly in Krakow,
when Wojtya goes to the
Jagiellon University in 1938.
He experiences forms of anti-Antisemitism that
he regarded as despicable and revolting.
In Krakow, Wojtya studies
literature and philosophy.
A year later, in 1939,
Germany invades Poland.
The Nazis arrest professors and
close the university in Krakow.
Compulsory labor is ordered
for all adults
and for all Jewish males age 14 to 16.
Concentration camps are opened.
To avoid arrest, Wojtya works
in a stone quarry, and later,
at a chemical plant.
During the war, Wojtya helps form
an underground theater company
called the Rhapsodic Theater.
Rhapsodic Theater was aimed at
keeping alive the memory of Polish culture,
at a time when the German occupation
was determined to eradicate that culture.
To kill Poland from the
head down, if you will.
The idea of the Rhapsodic Theater is
something incredible.
Namely it is an idea that
you can fight with your enemy
with a word.
With a meaning of a word.
With significance of a word.
So, from that experience, I think
he came to the conviction
that the word of truth spoken
sharply, clearly, forcefully enough,
had the ability to cut
through the static
of the world's lies in
a singular way.
And that was a conviction that
he would emply to great effect
later in his life.
In 1941, Wojtya's father dies.
He later writes at age 20,
he was alone in the world.
Having lost all the people he loved.
Karol Wojtya's pilgrimage to the
priesthood was an interesting one.
As a young man, many of
his friends and teachers
thought that he was a natural candidate
for the Catholic priesthood.
He did not think that.
He imagined his life unfolding as
a Christian layman.
In the theater. Perhaps later as
a teacher of drama and
Polish philology.
I think it was the experience of the war.
An experience that he once
described to me as
humiliation at the hands of evil,
that began to intensify
his reflection on what it was
that God wanted him to do
with his life.
So, in the fall of 1942,
he approaches Archbishop Sapieha,
the heroic leader of the Catholic
Church in Krakow,
and is accepted as a clandestine
candidate for the priesthood.
August, 1944. The Polish
underground's attempt
to liberate Poland from
German occupation,
known as the 'Warsaw Uprising',
is crushed.
Over 200,000 Poles die.
It is very difficult for
Americans to imagine
the suffering of Poland
during the second world war.
One fifth of the Polish
population died
between 1939 and 1945.
Poland was also the site of
many of the extermination camps
of the Holocaust.
So, this kind of radical
experience of evil
had a profound affect
on Poland.
Poles began to describe the
second world war as
"the war we lost twice".
First, in 1939 to the Germans,
and then in 1945 to the Soviet Union.
The one institution that came out
of that horrible experience
more or less in-tact, was the
Catholic Church.
And that set a foundation
on which much of the drama of
the next 40 years would be played out.
The struggle of the Catholic Church
with Communism in Poland
was not a question of
ebbing and flowing.
It was "all-war-all-the-time".
I remember that in the office of
my parents, for example,
it was a pharmacy, there was always
a crucifix hanging on the wall.
And I remember that one day
the official representatives of the
regime went to my father and said
"You have to take it off".
And finally, he had to do it.
There was an entire department
of the Polish Secret Police
dedicated to what was called
"disintegration activities"
against the Catholic Church.
Now, the Catholic Church in Poland
was extremely fortunate
to have in this period, a leader
of extroidinary competence.
Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski.
Who, from 1947 on, was the visible face
of Catholic resistance to
Communism in Poland.
Wyszynski spent 3 years under
house arrest from 1953 to 1956.
On his return to Warsaw in 1956,
he launched a 9-year "Great Novena"
of preparation for the millenium of
Polish Christianity in 1966.
Which evetually re-catechized
the whole country.
Nine years in which all of Poland,
became more deeply
rooted in its Catholic faith.
Everything was geared according to
the Marxist/Leninist idealogy.
Wyszynski was saying "We
have a thousand years
of Christianity empowering (???)
something much more,
much deeper that the fact
that the regime could
calculate up to 30 years
of its existence.
So this was giving a sense
of dignity and a sense of
self-worth to the people and
strengthening, also, the Catholic faith.
That the Catholic faith is
rooted in the nation.
It was Cardinal Wyszynski who informed
Wojtya in 1958, of his appointment as
Auxilary Bishop of Krakow.
In the 1950s, the Communists built
a city without a church
and called it a "worker's Paradise".
Yet the people didn't want
a city without God.
Again and again, they erected
crosses. And each time,
the dictatorship took them down.
The city was called "Nova Huta"
or "New Steelworks".
Designed as a model, Communist city.
And obstacles which were thrown
on building a church were fantastic.
And, it was Wojtya, Bishop,
and then Cardinal of Krakow,
who was responsible
for this long, steady,
very carefully maneuvered "push"
for building a church.
And that whole experience
of contending with Communism
for the soul of the city
was a very apt metaphor for the
whole Catholic struggle with Communism.
And, indeed the whole Polish struggle
for the truth of Poland's identity
during the entire Communist period.
During celebrations of Poland's
Mellenium of Christianity,
the Communist regime had
the Black Madonna arrested.
So threatening was this national
symbol of resistance.
But, I mean, can you imagine, well, if
the government tells that the
Black Madonna is arrested.
But the reaction is just the opposite.
You have millions going to the Black
Madonna on May the 3rd
in Jasna Gra. You had
millions of people there.
In 1967, Archbishop Wojtya
is elevated to Cardinal.
Utilizing his skills as a philosopher,
actor, poet, and theologian,
his sermons reach deep into
the heart of the Polish people.
He defends human rights and
freedom of expression.
Whatever you take his message,
he goes, he starts with the word "Love".
That you can solve everything in this
world through one word. That's "Love".
And that's very biblical.
In December of 1970, rising
food prices trigger strikes.
In Gadansk, dozens of workers
are killed by the regime.
Setting the stage for nearly
two decades of revolution.
It's fairly clear that there was
deep, ingrained discontent
in the Polish population.
And it was a matter of time
before that erupted again in
some form.
In October of 1978, Cardinal Wojtya
travels to Rome
to elect a successor to St. Peter.
Pope John Paul I has died
after only 33 days in office.
On October 16, white smoke signals
that a new Pope has been elected.
The cardinals' selection sends
shockwaves around the world.
They have elected the first non-Italian
Pope in over 450 years,
and, one from Poland: A Communist country
with an Atheist government.
But their new Pope is not
the Polish Primate and
senior church official,
Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski.
It's Cardinal Karol Wojtya.
Everybody was phoning everybody!
That, you know, we have our Pope.
That's absolutely unbelieveable after
more than 400 years of Italian Popes.
So, that was an incredible surge
of hope with this news.
And, don't forget one thing:
Of course it is a great thing that
we have a Polish Pope there,
But, the Cardinals who elected Wojtya,
elected him as a Cardinal theologian.
Because he is a deep person.
Very competent.
And he got elected as a
theologian, as an intellectual.
Well, that he was a Pole from
a Communist country
is secondary here. No, he
got elected because he
was thought to be the best
person at the moment.
He was known to be
an intellectual,
but we had no doubt that
it was Wyszynski who
was the leader of the
church [in Poland].
And, suddenly, Wojtya becomes Pope
and it turns out that he knows languages,
that he knows how to
manage the Roman Curia,
that he can appear in various countries,
that he has a talent, that he is
prepared for the papacy.
And we were surprised. But, we
had him here, we didn't know
that he had these talents.
And this is a sign of
his greatness.
That he knew how to keep himself
in the second place,
behind Wyszynski.
Because he knew this was decisive
for the life of the Church.
That there would be no
internal strife, internal conflict.
In his first Mass at
St. Peter's Square,
Pope John Paul II
declared to the faithful:
"Be not afraid!"
A message that would resonate
throughout his papacy.
Unlike the dictatorships
that dominated eastern Europe,
the new Pope preached the saving
power of charity and truth.
And the first thing he says,
in his first speech,
"Don't be afraid".
So this meant that people were
living, basically, in fear.
And people come back home
and start talking
to their families,
to their friends.
At work. At school.
And it turns out that
Who's afraid? It's the Communists
who are afraid now.
But the people
stop being afraid.
And this liberation from fear
was a great psychological step
towards the renewal of
the entire society.
When Cardinal Wyszynski comes to kneel
at the new Pope's feet,
as is tradition, John Paul II
unexepectedly embraces him.
In his first encyclical,
Redemptor Hominis [The Redeemer of Man],
Pope John Paul II provides the
key to understanding his papacy.
He says that a fuller understanding
of Man can only be found
through Jesus Christ.
He outlines a defense
of human rights.
And questions Atheism
that is programmed, organized
and structured as a political system.
A direct challenge to life
under communism.
In January of 1979,
the Pope announces he will return
to his home country.
To commemorate the 900th anniversary
of the Matyrdom of St. Stanislaus.
The Patron Saint of Poland, who was
murdered by order of the king
in 1079.
Well, for the Communist system,
it was a very difficult situation.
Because refuse coming
of the Polish Pope to Poland
would be a disaster on the
propaganda levels.
The authorities in the Kremlin,
the men in the Politburo,
rang up the Polish Communists and
said "Don't do it!".
Breshnev himself got on the phone
and said,
"You're taking to big a risk!
We don't want the Pope to come."
And their reply was, really,
"Well has to come."
The Polish people just would
not tolerate the Polish government
not allowing a Polish Pope
to visit Poland.
I mean, the idea of keeping out the Pope
whose name was Karol Wojtya?
No, it was absurd.
They knew it and they convinced
the people in the Kremlin.
But, both sides knew that they were
taking a tremendous risk.
There was a massive effort
by the secret police
to penetrate the Church's
planning for this event.
And, he outfoxed the Soviets because
they didn't want him to come back
in May of '79 because that was the
anniversary of St. Stanislaus.
And, so they finally said, "Okay,
we'll give up two days in May
for nine days in June.
On June 2nd, 1979, the Pope arrives
in Warsaw.
Where Cardinal Wyszynski and hundreds
of thousands gather at the airport
and line the streets to welcome him.
The nine days of John
Paul II in June, 1979,
were nine days on which the history of
the 20th century turned
in a dramatic way.
One third of the country saw him live.
Virtually everyone saw him or
heard him on television or radio.
Within hours of his arrival, the Communist
leadership was deeply troubled.
Pope John Paul II was
challenging their regime.
To Communist Party leader Edward Gierek,
the Pope calmly asserts
that Poland has the right to the formation
of its own culture and civilization.
It was a statement tearing into the
very heart of the Marxist/Leninist lie.
At the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier,
which survived devastating attacks
by both the Nazis and the Soviets,
the Pope pays tribute to
those who fought for freedom.
When he arrived here in
Warsaw's Victory Square,
the crowd began to chant
"We Want God".
A message that would echo
all the way to Moscow.
And suddenly we have,
on Polish television,
Mass being celebrated
and the Pope is saying
that there is no aspect of our lives
that Christ cannot enter.
And the people burst
out in applause.
I was there, on the Victory Square
on the 2nd of June, '79.
When Pope John Paul II emphasized
that Chirst is the ultimate reference.
He's the ultimate emperor.
People started to sing
Christus vincit, Christus regnat, Christus imperat
A well-known song.
Which says that The Christ wins
and The Christ reigns.
And when they finished,
they started clapping again.
And then, John Paul II could have
gone on with his text.
But, he was waiting there,
standing with his cross on,
waiting until the
applause would end.
And the interval was
that of 14 minutes.
He knew how people were
repressed by their fear,
and how they needed this
emotional liberation.
And that interval of
14 minutes in his speech
was the liberation from the fears.
And, giving a sense of dignity,
and an opening of the
assertive emotions
and the capacity to
be responsbile for ourselves.
Not only individually, but for
our social life, for our national life,
for our political life,
for our religious life.
All this was coming to the fore
in this explosion of applause.
The feeling of power,
that we are together,
we are together with someone
who is very powerful
not only in the religious sense,
but also in the political sense.
Somone who is recognized
by the whole world,
was something that you
cannot describe.
That really raises your spirit
to unbelievable heights.
Now, the word which is used in Polish
we could say "this soil",
we could say "this land".
So, this was a reference
not of the entire cosmos,
but a prayer that the Holy Spirit
would come and change
the life of this country, of this nation,
of this people.
That was an appeal.
Change Poland and the spirit
with be with you.
That was a clear message
that was taken by us.
I would say it was like in America:
"We the People",
the beginning of American Constitution.
In Poland, we had this feeling.
This experience of recovering
our self-confdence.
As millions united with our Pope
against the Communists.
But they were the minority,
we were the majority.
We were the people.
3 million Poles witnessed the
extraordinary events in Warsaw.
Sensing that these gatherings would
only grow over the 9 days,
The state attempted to control
the media coverage.
There was not a single
photo or panorama
of how many people were there.
So, that was such a blatant lie,
such a paranoid attitude.
So that, you know, by such primitive
and completely absurd means,
they wanted to convey a message
that, I don't know, he was a alone?
Or, I don't know what.
The Polish media covered
it in a bizarre way.
Showing little, old ladies and nuns
on television, but never the Pope.
I mean, someone said afterwards
that the Polish-Communist television
coverage of this was like
coverage of a soccer game
when you sowed everything
except the ball.
So, by the end of the
first 2 days in Warsaw,
he's in charge.
They are no longer in charge.
And, for the next week, he is
the de facto leader of the country.
On June 3, Pentecost, the Pope
arrives at Gniezno to more jubilant crowds.
There he calls it "Providential"
that the Holy Spirit has chosen
a Slavic Pope at this moment in history.
For the third day it was obvious
that the entire nation
was embracing the Pope
and his message of
faith, national pride
and freedom.
Here at Jasna Gra in
Poland's holiest site, John Paul II
paid tribute to the Black Madonna,
the heart of the Polish nation.
When the fortress at Jasna Gra
was attacked in the 15th century,
The Black Madonna survived,
Despite taking two saber
slashes to her right cheek.
Her invinciblity became legendary.
Now, the Polish Pope was uniting
her unbreakable spirit
to a future battle.
And, the crowd was just vast.
Nobody had ever seen a crowd like
that before in Poland.
And they recognized it, for the first
time it bcame apparent to them,
that there are more of us
than there are of them.
On June 6, after triumphant receptions
in Warsaw, Gniezno and Czstochowa,
the Pope's helicopter arrives in Krakow.
Wojtya's home for 40 years.
Journalist compare the moment to a modern-day
spirit descending from the heavens.
After an address to clergy at
Wawel Cathedral
John Paul II visits the site of
one of the greatest evils in history.
John Paul II became the first
Pope to visit Auschwitz.
The Nazi concentration camp where over
a million jews were murdered.
The symbol of evil on Earth,
it was here that human dignity
was so horribly desecrated.
That night, pilgrims from as far away
as Hungary arrive at Nowy Targ.
A town in the southern mountain
region, beloved by John Paul II.
By morning, over
1 million have gathered.
The idea of a pilgrimage is not something
even specifically Christian.
It's now and also outside
But in the 1970s, there was
a great expansion
of this [uninteligible] during the
Pontificate of John Paul II.
Of this tradition.
So, the Pope picked this up as his
personal pilgrimage.
That he had to go to the places which
were important for his own spiritual life
and which were important
for the nation.
John Paul II believed that the very
expression of humanity is religion.
Religion was really the fullment [sic]
of man's greatest destiny.
Called to in communion with his creator. To
know God. To know why he is here on Earth.
And so he believed that when
religious liberty is cut,
the way its was for example, in
Atheistic Communism,
then Man loses touch with who
he is as a person.
Back in Krakow, the Pope continues
to foster hope and courage.
As the regime later notes.
He appears deeply moved by
the events of the past few days.
Meanwhile, thousands of students gather
nearby at St. Michael's Church at Skaka,
the site of St. Stanislaus' matyrdom.
It was an electric moment, it
could have been a moment of
explosive emotion.
In which kids lost control.
And, of course, the secret police
and Communist authorities
were looking for an excuse
to reassert their power,
even if in a brutal way.
Abandoning his prepared remarks, Pope
John Paul entertains the crowd well
into the night with humor and his
memories of his life in the church.
The students chant,
"Stay with us!".
Many hold up wooden crosses.
And he went back to residence
where he was living.
His former residence as
Archbishop of Krakow.
With tears in his eyes.
He saw that passion and knew
that it had to be channeled,
in a non-violent way,
if the vistory that was being
constructed over Communism,
was not to be jeapordized.
In his last appearance, before a jubilant
crowd of more than 2 million people,
Pope John Paul II declared the day
a turning point for the nation.
The battle for the future of
Poland had begun.
Sensing the struggles ahead,
he told his fellow Poles,
Have faith in Christ.
And be not afraid.
But the words, "Not be afraid", yes,
gives us a new, how to say,
That, maybe, we have a kind
of power inside.
And that we have [should] use this power
to build something.
Not to use the power against somebody,
but to build something new.
On the new basis,
on the new fundament.
And I think that it was
very, very important.
The Bonia Krakowksi is a kind
of huge public meadow
in Krakow. It is the site of
many great public meetings.
A day of intense emotion
in which he
asks them, begs them, as he put it,
not to lose touch with their
cultural, religious, national roots.
And in which they give
him the kind of farewell
that can only be imagined in novels.
He had touched the hearts of
people in an extraordinary way.
And, what people commented on afterwards
in terms of the effects of this,
was how orderly people were.
I mean, all of these things could
have turned into scuffles,
or even riots.
And there was this
tremendous sense of order.
It's the kind of order
that comes out of an
intuitive feeling among
people of solidarity.
Wew are in this together. We each
have a responsibility to each other
to behave in a mature
and serious way.
So, 14 months before the immergence
of the Solidarity movement,
John Paul II has created
the experience of
Solidarity during the
nine days of June, 1979.
By mid-June, the Pope is back in Rome
Taking walks in the Vatican gardens.
But back in his homeland,
everything has changed.
Well, it was the beginning of the end.
Because the Poles took heart that
nothing could happen to them
without it being maginified by
the voice of the Pope.
It was impossible to work
in the normal way.
Had a special importance because
we didn't know exactly what
would happen after the visit,
but we expected that
something must happen.
That summer, the Polish regime attempts to
erase any evidence of the Pope's visit.
But would could not be
extinguished was the
spiritual change and the
desire for liberation.
The willingness to confront the regime
is propelled by a horrible economy,
food and energy shortages,
and disgruntled workers.
By the summer of 1980,
labor strikes sweep Poland.
In August of 1980,
Lech Wasa,
an unemployed electrician, who had
earlier joined illegal trade unions,
to protest worker conditions,
scales the walls of the
Gdansk Shipyard
to demand fair wages
and to denounce the firing of a
shipyard crane operator,
Anna Walentynowicz.
It was the Pope's message
not to have an armed revolution
in the part of the world.
And this revolution, peaceful revolution,
in all eastern Europe,
I think goes back to the Pope's message
of Love and peaceful means.
The power of the Papacy
was never more visible.
and the Soviets learned this
to their dismay.
That he could turn their
empire inside-out.
With the nation
in paralysis,
Edward Gierek promises reform.
But it is too late.
Workers throughout the nation
agree to end their strikes
only after being guaranteed the right
to form independent trade unions,
and the right to strike in the future.
A concession unpresidented in
the history of Communism.
With the charismatic
Lech Wasa as its leader,
Solidarity, the first independent trade
union in a communist country, is born.
One thing that distinguishes
it from other movements
is that this is a
working-class movement.
It's harder to tar Solidarity
as "capitalist tools "
When they are workers.
It's the most conspicuous kind of
challenge to the success of the
communist orthodoxy when
the working class itself
is trying to overthrow the system.
And it caught on like wildfire.
And the estimate is
often used that,
within a couple of months,
10 million Poles
had signed up.
And the state-run "official"
unions withered.
I mean, they were clearly considered
bogus creations of an
illegitimate system and
Solidarity was considered the
"real" Worker's Movement.
Well, Moscow recognized
it, I think, very early.
Breshnev was still, while
aging, still very much alive.
And he was a tough guy,
Leonid Breshnev.
And, I think, they thought
very severely about
whether they should move in with tanks.
Whether they should supress this
growing movement with force.
The Pope was invaluable to
President Reagan,
to our government,
in our endeavor to
to get a "beach head", a
wedge into the Soviet
foothold that they had in
eastern Europe and Poland.
And the confluence of John Paul II
and Ronald Reagan,
it was like it was providential.
That they came together
at the same time.
Well, I think they were
very close as human beings.
Ronald Reagan reacted
viscerally to people.
It's no wonder to me that Ronald
Reagan really liked this man,
not just the head of the
Roman Catholic Church.
And they did form an alliance.
Although it was not a public one.
In which, they both
dedicated themselves to
helping each other
in this anti-Communist
[Shocked, panicked yelling and screaming]
But the Pope's confrontation with Communism
was, perhaps, not without consequence.
[panicked screaming continues]
Many believe, including an
Italian parlimentary commission,
that the Soviet Union orchestrated the 1981
assassination attempt against the Pope
for his support of Poland's
Solidarity movement.
There's been
great investigations. Far
as I am aware of, there's
been no smoking gun, but a
good deal of circumstantial
evidence to, you know, implicate
the Bulgarian Secret Service.
Which, of course, didn't
do anything, you know,
without the knowledge of
the Soviets and the KGB.
What there's no question of, is that the
Solidarity movement's success dramatized
the danger that the
Pope represented
to the Soviet system and
the were well aware of it.
Although the history on this is
not, um, crystal clear,
I think that the likelihood
that this was Russian-directed
to the Bulgarian Intelligence Service was
extraordinarily high.
Bulgarian Intelligence
basically worked for the KGB
at the time, and that they
would undertake, on their own,
to assassinate the Pope,
is almost unimaginable.
In December of 1981, the
regime declares martial law.
Thousands are arrested.
Including Solidarity leader,
Lech Wasa.
But two years later, in 1983,
when the Pope returns to Poland,
it is General Jaruzelski who looks
visibly nervous and increasingly weak.
Millions would join the
movement for freedom.
But it was the Pope's
first visit in 1979,
that was the detonator.
As Communist General Jaruzelski
later admitted.
Hip, hip, hoorah,
hoorah, hoohrah!
What began in Poland would spread
throughout Communist eastern Europe.
The Iron Curtain was
about to break.
On June 12th, 1987,
Both President Reagan and Pope John Paul II
give speeches in eastern Europe.
Though many remember Reagan calling on
Gorbachev to "Tear down this wall!",
Few remember his closing words in
front of the Brandenberg Gate:
Years ago, before the East Germans
began rebuilding their churches,
they erected a secular structure.
The television tower at Alexander Platz.
Virtually ever since,
the authorities have
been working to correct
what they view is the
tower's one major flaw.
Treating the glass sphere at the top with
paints and chemicals of every kind.
Yet, even today,
when the sun strikes that sphere,
that sphere that towers
over all Berlin,
the light
makes the sign of the Cross.
Yes, across Europe ths wall will fall.
For it cannot withstand Faith.
It cannot withstand Truth.
The wall cannot withstand Freedom.
250 miles away, in Gdansk,
Pope John Paul II honors the
heroic defenders of Westerplatte.
Where 180 Polish soldiers
held off 3,000 German
forces for a week
during the first battle of World War II.
His homily is specifically intended
for Poland's youth.
In dozens of sermons, addresses,
impromptu remarks, he played
a virtual infinty of variations
on one theme.
And the theme was:
You are not who they saw you are.
Let me remind you who you are.
You're a people formed by a
distinctive history and culture.
And if you own that again,
if you make that your own again,
you will have tools of resistance
to this repression
that the tyrants cannot meet.
In 1989, the revolutions
brought down the Berlin Wall,
long the symbol of Soviet oppression.
But, for Poland, their date of
liberation preceeded Berlin.
On June 4, 1989,
Solidarity candidates won major
victories. And by September,
had formed the first non-Communist led
government in the Soviet Eastern Bloc.
So, for us, Berlin Wall is not so symbolic,
as it is for the rest of the world,
as the end of communism.
For us, 4th of June, 1989, is the date.
And it happens to be just 10 years
after the first pilgrimage.
Which may have some significance.
At least, it has for me.
The Church, the Holy See,
probably doesn't the credit
that they should, historically.
For bringing about the
demise of Communism, and
the Soviet Union, and
the Iron Curtain, but,
that doesn't bother the Church.
They don't do theses things for "credit".
"Credit" is not that important to
the Holy See. Results are.
In all, Pope John Paul II made
9 pilgrimages to his homeland.
But his message of "Be not afraid" was one
he took to over 120 countries
during his papacy.
Drawing some of the largest
crowds in recorded history.
[jubilant crowd cheering]
John Paul II was the first Pope to
visit Ireland, Mexico, and Egypt.
With the help of his childhood
friend, Jerzy Kluger,
the Vatican established formal,
diplomatic ties with Israel.
He later became the first Pope to
visit the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
John Paull II denounced anti-semitism
as a sin against God and humanity.
And, he met with Holocaust survivors
at Yad Vashem.
One, for the second time.
Mrs. Edith Trirer, born in Poland,
During the was she was
sent to the labor camp
where she remained until the Liberation.
After the war, she was
found by a young priest
who carried her to the train station
to join other survivors.
This priest later became
the Pope, John Paul II.
Now, the regime took down the cross
that had been erected for the Papal
Mass in Warsaw on June 2, 1979,
by 10:00 on the night of June 2, 1979.
Yet, 30 years later, on the 30th
anniversary of those events,
the leading civic and religious
authorities in the country
came together to dedicate a permanent
memorial cross in the center of Warsaw
To the moment when John Paul
II began the liberation of his
people through the power of
faith and moral conviction.
The revolutions of 1989
brought freedom to
millions of people in
central and eastern Europe.
The defeat of Communism
was a combined effort of
political, economic, and
religious influences,
and a confluence of extraordinary
events and personalities.
Yet, freedom is not without challenges.
And, if democracy is built not on truth,
but if it's built on moral relativism,
it will crash as well.
Because democracy can only function
where people live up to the
comnvictions that they have.
Where people are clear about
human identity,
about human finality. About what is
goodness, what is truth.
What does the word
"secularism" really mean?
"Secularism" comes from the Latin
"saecula", which means "the century".
It means a lifespan.
"Secularism" means looking
at our life as if all
we've got is 70, 80, 90
years and that is it.
In other words, it's a very Earth-centered,
very mundane sort of philosophy.
Whereas a transcendent philosophy opens up
beyond this life, there is more to it.
It opens up to eternal
realities, to eternal truths.
And also the possiblity of immortality.
And it changes our perspective on the
importance of what we are doing on this Earth
If we can look beyond that.
[ monks chanting/ ethereal religious singing ]
[ monks chanting/ ethereal religious singing ]
In the week after John Paul II died,
3 million people came to Rome.
Effectively doubling the city's population.
Many of them were young people.
Many of those young people knew
that they were not gonna get
within a half-a-mile of
the funeral service itself.
And yet they felt
they had to be there.
They had to say goodbye in person.
They had to pay their respects
to a man who had summoned them
to lead lives of moral heroism.
[ monks chanting/ ethereal religious singing ]
[ ethereal religious singing / Campanone bell tolling ]
So, at the end of his life, as at the
beginning of his Pontificate,
during those nine days of June, 1979,
he displayed a remarkable capacity
to create human community.
To facilitate an experience
of human solidarity
in which people simply behaved
in a more noble and decent way.
[ monks chanting/
ethereal religious singing ]
There were so many moving
moments during John Paul's
funeral, but one which
was really iconic was -
the book of the Gospels was
placed open on the coffin,
and the Cardinals and Bishops were coming up
to pay their respects, kissing the coffin.
and, all-of-a-sudden, this
very strong wind kicked up
and the pages started
turning and fluttering,
as if the Holy Spirit was there.
[ monks chanting/
ethereal religious singing ]
Throughout the 2000-year
history of the papacy,
only 2 Popes served
longer than John Paul II.
From his humble roots in Krakow,
he became the leader
of a billion Catholics.
The most recognized,
and, possibly, the most influential man of our lifetime.
Oh, I think his name will
live for centuries.
You know, there are only 260-some Popes.
I mean, there aren't that many.
And, if people look at him as one of the
2 or 3 greatest, which they do,
It's gonna be very hard for any other
Pope to come up to his mark,
and in so many different fields.
So, the message of
John Paul II is far greater
than it's cultural, historical
location within the Polish context.
In Poland, he was
received as such,
and remembered somewhat as
a monarch in Polish recent history.
But his message is much deeper.
And it is applicable in other
contexts in other countries.
Poland's challenge,
within the country, is not
to keep looking in the rear-view mirror,
At these remarkable
events of 1979, 1989,
but to take the
message of John Paul II:
That the dignity of the human person,
our capacity to know and choose the "good",
and look through the windshield,
look through the front window.
And carve a path into the future
that is worthy of the
great struggle of 1979.
Captions by Heavy D. God Bless!