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2010 | 1 | 87-98
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COMMUNICATION OF SUFFERING. THE LAST PUBLIC SPEECH OF JOHN PAUL II IN ITALIAN PRESS (Komunikacja cierpienia. Wloska prasa o ostatnim publicznym wystapieniu Jana Pawla II)

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The last general audience of John Paul II on March 30th 2005 became a media event with a powerful communicative effect. The Italian press paid a lot of attention to it. The information about it appeared on the first pages of the main papers. The reports were often illustrated by the most spectacular element of the journalist's account, that is pictures of the suffering pope, often in big dimensions. Analysis of this event in Italian press (Corriere della Sera, La Repubblica, La Stampa, Il Messaggero, Il Tempo, Il Sole 24 ore, La Stampa, Il Giornale, Liberazione, Il Foglio, L'Unitá and L'Osservatore Romano) shows that John Paul II was not afraid of meeting the faithful, even at the price of showing them his 'real' face. One more time the pope showed, that his dialog with the world does not only consist of the words he speaks, but also of the whole range of non-verbal means of communication. The general audience of March 30th, 2005 confirmed also that the essence of the ministry of John Paul II lied in expressing himself in a powerful and moving way. Even those, who beforehand saw him as an actor of big media events, realized that Karol Wojtyla was 'acting' himself. The last public speech of the pope revealed his message to the world, which did not strengthen the verbal communication, even though it was equally convincing and clear. It was the message of suffering, courage, struggle, the desire not to hide one's weakness, the self-sacrificing effort to overcome one's physical limitations. It was the message of silence, which spoke for itself. In the last Apostolic Letter The Rapid development the pope explains, that 'the communication between God and humanity has thus reached its perfection in the Word made flesh' and 'the Incarnate Word has left us an example of how to communicate with the Father and with humanity, whether in moments of silence and recollection, or in preaching in every place and in every way'. The pope is convinced that precisely for this reason 'we can ask the Lord to help us to understand how to communicate with God and with other human beings through the marvelous communications media'. John Paul II remained faithful to this understanding of communication until the very end.
  • Maciej Szczepaniak, Uniwersytet im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu, Wydzial Teologiczny, ul. Wieniawskiego 1, 61-712 Poznan
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