In 1978, John Paul II became the first non Italian pope in nearly 5 centuries, and at the time, the youngest man to accede to Saint Peter’s throne. To many around the world, he was a truly transformative pope and his popularity is, barely eclipsed today still by that of Pope Francis who canonised him in 2014.
Timed for the 40th anniversary in 2018 of the election John Paul II, this documentary will revisit his papacy, examine his accomplishments and reveal how they have overshadowed the many failures. For John Paul II was also an infuriating, centralizing and conservative pope, who censored any deviation from the doctrine and ignored the revolutionary changes that were taking place in the world around him… except when they fitted his purpose. “The Pontiff” is a journey through three continents that will take us from Solidarity’s Poland to the archives of the CIA, from the missions in Nairobi to Blackfriar’s Bridge in London and from St Peter’s Square to the Cathedral of San Salvador. Each step on that journey will help us understand, perhaps for the first time fully, one of the most iconic and probably controversial figures in recent Church history.