Thursday 17 August 2017

Pope's friendships with women no argument against celibacy

Pope John Paul II: ‘A celibate man, like a married man, can have close friendships with members of the opposite sex and keep his vows, both by the letter and the spirit of those vows.’ Photo: CNS photo/Grzegorz Galazka
Pope John Paul II: ‘A celibate man, like a married man, can have close friendships with members of the opposite sex and keep his vows, both by the letter and the spirit of those vows.’ Photo: CNS photo/Grzegorz Galazka
David Quinn

David Quinn

Much more interesting than our dull election campaign is the 'revelation' that Pope John Paul II had a close friendship for more than 30 years with a married Polish academic by the name of Anna-Teresa Tymienecka. This story touches on sex and love and men and women. How does your average election campaign compare with that?

This story is in the news because the BBC's Edward Stourton went to the bother of going to Poland in order to access the papers of Tymienecka, a philosopher, including her private papers. Among her private papers are more than 300 letters to her from Pope John Paul II spanning the period from 1973 (before he became pope) until his death in 2005.

These letters formed the basis of a 'Panorama' documentary broadcast this week. The Pope was obviously very fond of her and she of him but no-one is suggesting that their friendship developed into a sexual relationship.

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