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Apr 12, 2024

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Time Now


Television Premiere of New Documentary
On St. John Paul II’s Role
In The Fall of Communism

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – St. John Paul II’s role as a driving force in the fall of communist rule in Central and Eastern Europe is the focus of a new documentary illustrating how the late pope ensured a ‘revolution of conscience’ that was pivotal in the collapse of the Iron Curtain in 1989. The documentary will air on public television across the United States, premiering on June 3.

Narrated by actor Jim Caviezel and featuring original music by renowned composer Joe Kraemer (Mission Impossible: Rogue NationJack Reacher), Liberating a Continent: John Paul II and the Fall of Communism tells this story using rare archival footage and exclusive interviews with several heads of state, historians, foreign policy experts, church leaders and close personal acquaintances of the late pontiff, including George Weigel, papal biographer; Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz of Kraków, John Paul’s longtime assistant; and Richard Allen, Ronald Reagan’s National Security Advisor.

“The forceful spiritual dynamic that John Paul II brought behind the Iron Curtain was absolutely  essential in the fall of communism,” said Carl Anderson, the film’s executive producer. “John Paul II understood that men and women live and die for great ideas,” added Anderson, who worked closely with John Paul II during his service as a White House official under President Ronald Reagan. “John Paul II understood the passion of the people to break free from the chains of communism and, through his actions and words, brought about the rebirth of freedom on the European continent.”

image003The 90-minute film recounts Karol Wojtyła’s growth from an underground seminarian, to his appointment as archbishop of Kraków to his election to the papacy in 1978. As archbishop, Wojtyła developed tools for resistance to communist rule that were grounded in defense of human rights and the reclaiming of Poland’s Catholic identity. This documentary, through interviews with historians and journalists who had access to recently declassified KGB documents, illustrates the vast Soviet campaign to counteract John Paul II’s moral crusade. The film follows the wave of free thought that seized the Soviet bloc following the pope’s epic nine-day pilgrimage to Poland in June 1979.

“By his actions and his words, John Paul II inspired a thirst for freedom that would evolve into the Solidarity movement,” said Anderson. “Without his spiritual support, Solidarity’s success would not have been possible, and without Solidarity, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Revolution of ’89 would never have happened.”

Liberating a Continent: John Paul II and the Fall of Communism is presented nationally by WTTW Chicago and distributed by the National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA), a professional association that serves public television licensees and educational entities in all 50 states. For more information about the film, visit