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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 March, 2004, 16:12 GMT
Pope writes second autobiography
By Frances Kennedy
In Rome

long serving pope
The Pope finished his work despite encroaching Parkinson's disease
A second autobiography written by Pope John Paul II is to be published on his 84th birthday in May, the Vatican has announced.

The Pope's previous autobiography, covering his youth and priesthood, sold millions of copies worldwide.

The new work starts from the period when he was ordained as a bishop.

Despite encroaching Parkinson's Disease and a gruelling schedule, the Pope managed to complete the work last year, mainly during his summer break.

Rumours that there was a new book in the making have surfaced sporadically in Rome, but the final confirmation came on Wednesday.


The 200-page autobiography will be a sort of sequel to the Pope's earlier "Gift and Mystery".

Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro Valls said the Pontiff dictated some of the pages, but also wrote some in his native language.

He called it "a book of memories and reflections", beginning from when priest Karol Wojtyla was called to be a bishop in Poland in 1958.

Mr Navarro Valls said it contained previously unknown episodes from the Pope's earlier years and flashes of humour.

A prolific author, John Paul II's works have sold millions of copies around the world.

Italy's Mondadori has been awarded the publishing rights and will sell them on to editors in other markets.

Profits from the sales of what is expected to be a worldwide bestseller will go to charities chosen by the Pope.


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