The Divine Plan - Intercollegiate Studies Institute

The Divine Plan

John Paul II, Ronald Reagan, and the Dramatic End of the Cold War

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Two extraordinary leaders. One singular bond.

Two men with seemingly little in common: a Catholic pope from Poland and a Protestant president from America’s heartland.

But John Paul II and Ronald Reagan bonded after they nearly died from assassination attempts a mere six weeks apart. Together they committed to confronting the great evil of the twentieth century: Soviet ­Communism.

This wasn’t their plan. They saw it as the Divine Plan.


Now a major motion picture—in theaters November 6

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“John Paul II and Ronald Reagan both understood that they were preserved through this suffering for a high purpose. And I don’t think you’ll understand either one of them without understanding that.”

—Bishop Robert Barron in The Divine Plan


Just six weeks apart in the spring of 1981, Pope John Paul II and President ­Ronald Reagan took bullets from would-be assassins. 

Few realized at the time how close both men came to dying. 

Surviving these near-death experiences created a singular bond between the pope and the president that ­historians have failed to appreciate. 

When John Paul II and Reagan met only a year later, they confided to each other a shared conviction: that God had spared their lives for a ­reason. 

That reason? To defeat Communism. 

In private, Reagan had a name for this: “The DP”—the Divine Plan.


*     *     *

It has become fashionable to see the collapse of the Soviet empire as inevitable.


In this riveting book, bestselling author Paul Kengor and writer-­director Robert Orlando show what it took to end the Cold War: leaders who refused to accept that hundreds of ­millions must suffer under totalitarian ­Communism.

And no leaders proved more important than the pope and the president.

Two men who seemed to have little in common developed an extraordinary bond—including a spiritual bond between the Catholic pope and Protestant president. And their shared core convictions drove them to confront Communism.

To tell the full story of the dramatic closing act of the Cold War, Kengor and Orlando draw on their exhaustive research and exclusive interviews with more than a dozen experts, including well-known historians Douglas Brinkley, H. W. Brands, Anne Applebaum, Stephen Kotkin, John O’Sullivan, and Craig Shirley; the leading biographer of John Paul II, George Weigel; close Reagan advisers Richard V. Allen and James Rosebush; and Cardinal Timothy Dolan and Bishop Robert Barron.

You can’t understand Pope John Paul II and President Ronald Reagan—or how the Cold War came to such a swift and peaceful end—without understanding how much faith they put in the Divine Plan.


About the Authors

Paul Kengor, PhD, is the New York Times bestselling author of more than a dozen books, including A Pope and a President, God and Ronald Reagan, and Dupes. He serves as professor of political science at Grove City College and chief academic fellow at the college’s Institute for Faith and Freedom.

Robert Orlando is an award-winning writer and filmmaker. The founder of Nexus Media, he has been involved in the production, development, or release of more than a dozen film and documentary projects, including Apostle Paul: A Polite Bribe and Silence Patton, released by Sony Pictures. Orlando wrote and directed the documentary The Divine Plan.


Don’t miss the Divine Plan motion picture!

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Praise for The Divine Plan

“The Divine Plan is an inspiring account of the friendship between Pope John Paul II and President Ronald Reagan. The authors chart the secret alliance between Reagan and Pope John Paul as they worked together to bring down Soviet communism—what Reagan called ‘the evil empire.’ . . . I found myself deeply moved and inspired by this book.” —The Stream

“The story of that alliance [between Reagan and John Paul II] is told superbly. . . . The case for the hand of God directly ordering those events and the intersecting lives of Ronald Reagan and Karol Wojtyla is very compelling. From humble beginnings, both rose to the most important leadership positions on earth. Both men were nearly killed by would-be assassins’ bullets—and just months apart. Kengor and Orlando write that when historians shy away from the spiritual bond between these two men and their entwined destinies, they ignore the fact that ‘both John Paul II and Reagan firmly believed in the Divine Plan and felt sure that they had been called to play their roles in it.’ ” —The Catholic Thing

Praise for Robert Orlando’s documentary film The Divine Plan

“I want every person to go see this—parents, grandparents, and especially millennials. . . . This is a must-see film.” —Mike Huckabee

“A wonderful new documentary . . . The Divine Plan is a reminder of the type of leadership our country sorely needs.” —Townhall

“Recommended to anyone interested in the history of the Cold War and all who doubt the power of faith to move world events.” —The Daily Wire

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