Memory and Identity

Memory and Identity is the last book written by Pope John Paul II and published in 2005.

The work consists of 26 chapters, each opening with a short narrative paragraph, sometimes including one or more questions. The rest of the chapter consists of the Pope's answers or reactions to the opening paragraph.

The chapters are organized into five sections and an epilogue. The sections discuss his views on the issues of: the nature and limitations of evil; the relationship between freedom and responsibility; the nature of nationalism in the context of history and culture; the current social state of affairs in Europe; the virtues and weaknesses of democracy. The epilogue is a first hand account of the assassination attempt on him on 13 May 1981.

It also mentions the importance of the Thomistic philosophy and theology of the prominent doctor of the Catholic Church St. Thomas Aquinas to come to a deeper understanding of the Pope's personalist (phenomenological) presentation of Humanae Vitae in his Theology of the Body catechesis, which he thought had its limitations.[1] He writes:

If we wish to speak rationally about good and evil, we have to return to St. Thomas Aquinas, that is, to the philosophy of being. With the phenomenological method, for example, we can study experiences of morality, religion, or simply what it is to be human, and draw from them a significant enrichment of our knowledge. Yet we must not forget that all these analyses implicitly presuppose the reality of the Absolute Being and also the reality of being human, that is, being a creature. If we do not set out from such 'realist' presuppositions, we end up in a vacuum.[2]