Jewish Journal

Pope John Paul II would flog himself

by Brad A. Greenberg

January 26, 2010 | 4:11 pm

Pope John Paul II doesn’t get much play on this blog. But news from a new book by a Monsignor Slawomir Oder that the pontiff used to flagellate himself to empathize with Jesus’ suffering is cause enough:

The book, which was published Tuesday, reveals that even when he was not ill, he inflicted pain on himself, known in Christianity as mortification, so as to feel closer to God.

“In Krakow as in the Vatican, Karol Wojtyla flagellated himself,” Oder writes in the book, citing testimony from people in the late pope’s close entourage while he was bishop in his native Poland and after he was elected pope in 1978.

“In his closet, among his vestments, there was hung on a clothes hanger a particular kind of belt for pants, which he used as a whip,” Oder writes.

Read more here.

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