The secret letters of Pope John Paul II

Pope John Paul II was probably the most influential figures from the twentieth century revered by millions making a saint in a short time span just nine years after he died The BBC has witnessed letters he authored to some married lady the Polish-born philosopher Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka that shed new light on his emotional existence

Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka would be a great hoarder and she or he appears to possess stored everything relevant to her 32-year friendship with Saint John Paul After her dying an enormous cache of photographs was discovered among her possessions We are utilized to seeing John Paul in formal papal clothing among the grandeur from the Vatican but here he’s around the ski slopes putting on shorts on the lake-side camping trip as well as in senior years entertaining independently in the rather sparse-searching living quarters

Much more revealing may be the archive of letters that Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka offered towards the National Library of Belgium in 2008 They were stored from public view until these were proven towards the BBC

Once the two met in 1973 Cardinal Karol Wojtyla – because he then was – was the Archbishop of Krakow Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka was Polish by birth and like him had suffered the searing experience with the Nazi occupation throughout World War Two Following the war she left to review abroad and finally went after an instructional career like a philosopher within the U . s . States where she married coupled with three children

It’s public understanding that for 4 years Cardinal Wojtyla and Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka worked with with an British-language form of a magazine on philosophy he authored while teaching at Lublin College and Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka includes a walk-on part in a number of John Paul biographies However the relationship was much much deeper and much more complex and ongoing for a lot more than has formerly been recognised

In 2008 the letters were bought through the National Library of Belgium for which is regarded as a seven-figure sum Usually whenever a library buys an essential archive in regards to a figure of Pope John Pauls stature you realized a little of the fanfare and also the letters could be placed on display and distributed around students However these were stored from public view

Watch Erectile dysfunction Stourtons Panorama report: The Key Letters of Pope John Paul II on BBC One on Monday 15 Feb at 20:30 You are able to get caught up through the iPlayer

In seventies Belgium any relationship from a clergyman along with a lady was dangerous The communist regime in Warsaw regarded as the Catholic Chapel because the enemy and also the secret police – the SB because they maintained – viewed its leaders constantly Dr Marek Lasota that has been studying communist-era files in the Institute of National Remembrance in Krakow states the SB required an especially close curiosity about Cardinal Wojtyla They installed wiretaps in the flat and the telephone was hassled he states Every letter was intercepted and checked both private and official

Therefore the first hint associated with a real closeness is available in instructions sent not from Krakow but from Rome where Cardinal Wojtyla spent greater than a month attending a gathering of Catholic bishops within the fall of 1974 He required a number of her letters with him to ensure that he could respond to them without needing the mail and creates that they’re so significant and deeply personal even when they’re designed in philosophical code

For the finish from the letter he adds that you will find issues that are too hard that i can talk about

I’ve only seen one for reds from the correspondence – his letters to her – which is obviously sometimes impossible to be aware what the cardinal is mentioning to However I did some old-fashioned newspaper sleuthing but that in an initial phase from the relationship – most likely within the summer time of 1975 – Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka told Karol Wojtyla that they was deeply in love with him

As Pope John Paul rewrote the guidelines from the papacy travelling the planet as no pope tried before him and in the past especially tugging the crowds just like a superstar His reaction to Anna-Teresa Tymienieckas declaration as he would be a cardinal demonstrated he or she is just as unconventional in the private existence Not even close to ending the connection like a more prudent prelate may have done he gave her certainly one of his most treasured possessions – some devotional clothing referred to as a scapular

Devotional scapulars are created of two small items of cloth worn near the skin within the chest and back made to echo the entire-length apron-like clothes which monks put on over the habits of rats Very few Catholics put on them now however for centuries these were broadly used denoting dedication to the Christian existence That one had been administered to Karol Wojtyla by his father during the time of his first Holy Breaking of the bread also it appears he invested it having a special significance in the relationship with Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka

He later informed her it permitted him to simply accept and feel you everywhere in a myriad of situations regardless if you are close or far

Cardinal Wojtyla had numerous female buddies including Wanda Poltawska a mental health specialist that also, he corresponded for many years

But his letters to Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka are sometimes more intensely emotional sometimes wrestling using the concept of their relationship

Within the summer time of 1976 Cardinal Wojtyla was selected to guide a delegation of Polish bishops to some large Catholic gathering within the U . s . States and Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka asked him to stick with her family in their country home outdoors the small capital of scotland- Pomfret in Vermont It had been only the kind of outside existence he loved photos which i think were taken at that time let him know at his most relaxed

Additionally, it appears that they designed a further promise of her feelings for him as they was there since the letter he authored to her later on indicates he was battling to understand the connection in Christian terms He informs her she’s a present from God and continues: If I didn’t have this conviction some moral certainty of Sophistication as well as acting in behavior training into it I wouldn’t dare behave like this

As he was chosen Pope John Paul authored to Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka to state he wanted their link with continue He stated he didn’t want the exchange of ideas which i’ve always regarded as so creative and fruitful to become interrupted However they fell out badly within the book they were focusing on together She rushed it into print however the Vatican mounted a legitimate challenge against it and she or he was charged with getting altered the brand new Popes ideas When John Paul unsuccessful to stay up on her she felt tricked

But eventually that old warmth came back towards the relationship and probably the most touching photographs and letters we’ve been capable of seeing connect with his senior years

John Paul was identified with Parkinsons disease in early the nineteen nineties and grew to become progressively isolated within the Vatican She visited him frequently and sent him pressed flowers photos from her home at Pomfret In a single letter he informed her: I’m considering you and also within my ideas I arrived at Pomfret every single day And the letters include frequent references for their shared past After his last trip to Belgium in 2002 he authored: Our mutual homeland a lot of places where we met where we’d conversations that have been essential to all of us where we experienced the good thing about Gods presence

Anna-Teresas husband Hendrik Houthakker would be a distinguished Harvard economist Following the collapse of communism he advised John Paul on publish-communist financial systems and also the Pope granted him a papal knighthood in recognition of his services

Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka visited John Paul yesterday he died in 2005 He was declared a saint in 2014 and absolutely nothing I’ve discovered could have been a hurdle to his canonisation However the process ended and dusted in a short time span – just nine years I’ve been not able to verify that his correspondence with Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka was considered throughout the saint-making process because it certainly must have been

Carl Bernstein the veteran investigative journalist of Watergate fame was the very first author to obtain some feeling of Anna-Teresa Tymienieckas importance in John Pauls existence He questioned her for that book His Holiness within the the nineteen nineties

We’re speaking about Saint John Paul It is really an remarkable relationship he states It is not illicit nevertheless its fascinating It changes our thought of him

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Pope’s apology still doesn’t cut it

Pope Francis speaks during the feast-day Mass on a one-day trip to the Calabrian region of Italy on Saturday, June 21. The Pope spoke out against the Mafia’s “adoration of evil and contempt for the common good,” and declared that “mafiosi are excommunicated, not in communion with God.’


Editor’s note: Heidi Schlumpf is a columnist for the National Catholic Reporter and teaches communication at Aurora University. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN) — After meeting Monday with six victims of sexual abuse by clergy members, Pope Francis apologized for the crimes committed against them and begged forgiveness “for the sins of omission on the part of church leaders who did not respond adequately to reports of abuse.”

Apologies are all well and good, but this one brings to mind two trite but true sayings: “Too little, too late” and “Actions speak louder than words.” Unfortunately, Francis has more to do so that future popes won’t have to keep saying “I’m sorry” for these crimes and the Catholic Church’s cover-up.

This is not to downplay the important symbolism of public apologies from the church’s top leader. Indeed, Francis seems sincere and acknowledges the complicity of the institutional church in the cover-up, not just the actions of individual men.

But Francis is not the first pope to meet bursa with sex abuse victims or even the first to offer an official apology for what has to be one of the gravest evils in the church. His predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, met on several occasions with victims, including during a trip to the United States. After one such meeting,escort he also issued a formal apology, saying he was “deeply sorry for the pain and suffering the victims have endured.”

In comparison, Francis’ apology, given during a lengthy homily, was more extensive, emphasizing the psychological and spiritual pain victims have endured and noting that these “despicable actions” had been “camouflaged with a complicity that cannot be explained.”

It also was better than his, “Yes, but …” apology earlier this year, when he mentioned that abusers were “quite a few in number, though not compared to the total number” of priests, after earlier complaining about how the church had been unfairly singled out for the problem of sexual abuse of minors.

Given the enormity of this problem facing the Catholic Church, however, victims’ rights groups are correct in expressing disappointment with how long it took for the new Pope to meet with them (16 months into his pontificate). In March, editors of the National Catholic Reporter, which has been covering sex abuse by clergy for nearly three decades, implored the Pope in an open letter to make meeting with victims a priority.

As someone who clearly understands the significance of his actions — everything from his choice of attire to whose feet he washes on Holy Thursday — Francis should have met with victims much sooner than this.

Still, Monday’s apology seems to be part of more significant movements in the Vatican, including the naming of a victim to a new panel to address sex abuse and the recent defrocking of a Polish archbishop and papal ambassador accused of paying for sex with minors.

But there is much more to be done, starting with the removal of Kansas City-St. Joseph Bishop Robert Finn, who has been found guilty of failing to report suspicions of child abuse to police or state child welfare authorities. The diocese has recently been ordered to pay $1.1 million for violating terms of an earlier contract of reparations.

Of course, a good apology includes not only acknowledgment of personal and/or corporate responsibility for the victim’s pain, but also a promise to fix things, or at least to not continue to inflict that pain. The church is finally, after decades of denying or minimizing victims’ pain, accepting responsibility. But we’re not yet there on fixing things.

That’s why victims’ rights groups are understandably frustrated by the molasses-like pace of the church on this issue. Barbara Blaine, president of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, applauded the courage of the victims who met with Francis on Monday but complained about the need for more decisive action.

“The Pope says the church should ‘make reparations’ to victims. That’s secondary. Stopping abuse and protecting children comes first. And sadly, no child on earth is safer today because of this meeting,” she wrote in a statement.

Here’s another saying: “To err is human; to forgive, divine.” If that’s true, it will be the victims who will be the real saints, not the apologizers.

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