|The year Karol Cardinal Wojtyla became "Pope John Paul II"|
Hundreds of letters and photographs that tell the story of Pope John Paul II's close relationship with a married woman, which lasted more than 30 years, have been shown to the BBC.
The letters to Polish-born American philosopher Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka had been kept away from public view in the National Library of Poland for years.
The documents reveal a rarely seen side of the pontiff, who died in 2005.
There is no suggestion the Pope broke his vow of celibacy.
Of course, he never married. But that bolded statement doesn’t mean he never had sex.
There is a frequent misunderstanding about how the word “celibacy” is used in the Roman Catholic Church. The “vow of celibacy” is not a vow not to have sex; it is a vow not to marry. The old Catholic Encyclopedia makes the distinction this way:
The vow of chastity forbids all voluntary sexual pleasure, whether interior or exterior: thus its object is identical with the obligations which the virtue of chastity imposes outside the marriage state.
Strictly speaking, it differs (though in ordinary language the expressions may be synonymous) from the vow of celibacy (or abstinence from marriage), …
The violation of the vow of chastity is always a sin against religion; it constitutes also a sacrilege in a person who has received Holy orders, or in a religious, because each of these persons has been consecrated to God by his vow: his vow forms part of the public worship of the Church.
A person who, in defiance of his solemn vow, attempts to contract marriage, incurs the excommunication reserved to the bishop by the Constitution "Apostolicae Sedis".
That is a big difference. “Secular” priests (contrasted with those who join religious orders) don’t take vows of “poverty, chastity, and obedience”. They do however take vows of “celibacy”. A priest who has sex with a woman, or sodomy with a man, can confess the incident and be done with it. A priest who marries is in a whole different world of legal trouble with “the Church”.
Enter this story about Karol Cardinal Wojtyla, who later became known as “Pope John Paul II”.
“Pope John Paul letters reveal ‘intense’ friendship with woman”. The folks at Rorate Caeli tweeted that link with the message “The IMMENSE dangers of Express-Canonization”.
Of course, we all know that “Pope John Paul II”, who died in 2005, was “fast-tracked” into Sainthood, and was canonized by “Pope Francis” in 2014.
The Rorate folks are suggesting that the “fast track” was just simply too fast, and some important things were missed. Such as this “friendship”, for which there is now hard evidence in the form of letters and photographs.
Of course, the canonization committee provided the usual Roman Catholic explanation for the failure to incorporate these letters and photos into the process: “It’s not our fault”. They said:
The process of saint-making is usually long and very costly, but John Paul II was fast-tracked to sainthood in just nine years.
Normally the Vatican asks to see all public and private writings when considering a candidate for sainthood, but the BBC has not been able to confirm whether the letters were seen.
The Congregation for the Causes of Saints said it is up to individual Catholics to decide whether to send in documents.
"All our duties were done," it told the BBC in a statement. "All private documents, sent by faithful as a response to the edict, and documents found in important archives were studied."
The article concludes, “The National Library of Poland disputes that this was a unique relationship. It says it was one of many warm friendships the Pope enjoyed throughout his life.”