Review: National Shrine Celebrates St. John Paul II as a Freedom Fighter

Too few remember the pope's opposition to Polish building regulation.


Pope John Paul II is known for his opposition to Soviet communism. Less remembered is his quiet resistance to Poland's wartime Nazi occupiers, when he attended an underground seminary and acted in a secret theater group.

Even more forgotten is his fight against oppressive building regulation. When the postwar Polish communist regime built a model city so perfect it didn't include a church, then-Archbishop Karol Wojtyla fought for years to get the permissions necessary to build one.

Those are just a few of the papal "deep cuts" you'll learn at the Saint John Paul II National Shrine in Washington, D.C., where the pope's papers, personal effects, and lots of archival footage of his life are on display, with a strong emphasis on John Paul II's work defending human freedom in a century where it was constantly under threat.