In Western countries in the process of dechristianization, the long pontificate of Pope John Paul II (1978-2005) had an impact beyond just Catholics. Many were grateful to him for having awakened their hope. This episode of Secrets of History, dedicated to the first non-Italian pope in modern history, opens with the dynamic story of the attempted assassination of the head of the Catholic Church, on May 13, 1981, in Saint Peter’s Square , and the pontiff’s thanksgiving at Fatima (Portugal), assured “that a maternal hand”, that of the Virgin Mary, had deflected the deadly bullet.
The journey of young Karol Wojtyła, his charismatic personality are faithfully rendered. The long documentary, punctuated by reports of uneven interest on the places he frequented, is more interested in the man than the thinker and the believer. His positions on sexual morality, often misunderstood, his blindness regarding sexual violence in the Church are discussed. But neither his ambiguous attitude towards the dictatorships of Latin America, nor his severity towards many theologians are not mentioned. John Paul II was beatified just five years after his death.