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Tuesday 20 February 2018

Pope John Paul's personal notes to be published

Pope John Paul II in 2004
Pope John Paul II in 2004

POPE John Paul II's secretary "did not have the courage" to burn all of the pontiff's notes after his death, and is now having some of them published, he said yesterday.

The book, 'Very Much in God's Hands. Personal Notes 1962-2003', comes out on February 5 in Poland, where the pope is still a much-loved figure. It contains religious meditations that Karol Wojtyla recorded between July 1962, when he was a bishop in Poland, and March 2003, when he was pope.

Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz told a news conference that in preserving some of the notes he was motivated by the "despair of historians" when the letters of Pope Pius XII were burned after his death, as he had wished.

In his last will, John Paul commissioned Cardinal Dziwisz, his personal secretary and closest aide of almost 40 years, to burn his personal notes. Instead, Cardinal Dziwisz kept them and is having them published before John Paul is declared a saint on April 27.


In his notes, the pope "reveals a part of his soul, of his meeting with God, contemplation and piety and that is the greatest value", Cardinal Dziwisz said.

He said he burned "those letters and notes that required burning", but said it would have been a crime to burn all the notes which give insight into the pope's soul.

"In keeping them I respected his will," he insisted.

At first, Pope John Paul made notes only in Polish, but later also in Italian and Latin with Greek and Spanish inclusions, according to Henryk Wozniakowski, head of the Catholic publishers Znak.

The book's editor, Agnieszka Rudziewicz, said the notes are an "extraordinary record of a spiritual path" and a record of John Paul's "self-development and road to sainthood".

Irish Independent

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