Anecdotes of Pope John Paul II

THE LIGHTER SIDE OF JOHN PAUL II
 
What is the Pope’s personal life like? There are various anecdotes and tidbits. Most of the items below come from Sean-Patrick Lovette, Vatican Radio’s director for its English edition. He has much to say on the subject, for he has been accompanying John Paul II to the corners of the earth.
 
The Pope’s favorite movie is Gandhi, and he has seen it at least twice. And he really took delight in the Italian movie Life is Beautiful. He occasionally watches television, like the finals of football’s World Cup.
 
The Pontiff continues to enjoy theater and gets companies to perform at the Vatican. One time a circus troupe did a custard pie act, and John Paul laughed so hard he had to wipe off tears from his eyes.
 
He is said to have a good sense of humor and tells jokes to lighten his visitors’ mood during photo sessions.
 
Who is his favorite author? St. John of the Cross. St. John’s writings were the subject of his doctoral dissertation in philosophy.
 
Academic excellence goes back to his childhood days. Newsweek (March 27, 2000) quoted Yosef Beninstock, a Jewish childhood friend and classmate. He was quite frank when he said of Karol Wojtyla, “He was a real genius … I used to copy from him so much.”
 
For breakfast he takes goat’s milk as well as a roll with butter. Lunch is Polish sweet meat and wine. Then for dinner he eats cold cuts and leftovers. His food is cooked by 3 Polish nuns who also grow vegetables in the Vatican area.
 
During one visit to the United States, John Paul did a credible imitation of Jack Benny. Even the cynical New York press lapped it up. Before health problemsbugged him, the Pope was into skiing, hiking, fishing, and swimming. He would sometimes pray the Stations of the Cross while walking uphill before skiing.
 
He may be the only Pontiff whose biography was turned into a comic book. Marvel Comics ran an issue in 1983 presenting the life of Pope John Paul II.