VIDEO: New Book Makes Startling Claims About Pope John Paul II

Jan. 27 2010, Published 10:18 a.m. ET

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We’ve heard stories about Angelina Jolie, Lindsay Lohan, and even Rosie O’Donnell intentionally hurting themselves – now comes a shocking new report that Pope John Paul II also inflicted pain on himself.

According a new book released Tuesday called Why He's a Saint, Pope John Paul II whipped himself with a belt in the pursuit of religious perfection.

"He had in his wardrobe, a type of trouser belt which he would use to whip himself," the book's author Monsignor Slawomir Oder said, according to

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"As some members of his close entourage in Poland and in the Vatican were able to hear with their own ears," according to the book, "John Paul flagellated himself. In his armoire, amid all the vestments and hanging on a hanger, was a belt which he used as a whip and which he always brought to Castel Gandolfo (his summertime home)."

The self-whipping is regarded as act of penitence, a practice the late Pope felt would inch him closer to Christian perfection. He also spent long nights sleeping on a bare floor for the same purpose, according to the book.

The book aims at making the case for sainthood for the beloved late religious figure, who died in 2005 after 26 years leading the Catholic Church.



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