Tuesday, February 16, 2016

“Pope John Paul II” Photographed in his Underwear With a Woman

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.”


  1. Wow this is very fascinating

    1. Yeah but keep in mind the top photograph is "not inconsistent with" Cardinal Wojtyla NOT having had sexual relations with that woman.

  2. I think that Hallmark movie about John Paul II went into that relationship----at least up to the time that he became Pope. And Pope Benedict actually liked that film!

    1. I didn't see that movie. I'll have to look it up some day.

  3. I'm no fan or defender of Romanism nor Popery, but I do think we should strive for truthfulness as Christians, including being honest about the enemies of Christ like JPII, and the title of this post strikes me as being at least misleading, if not dishonest.

    According to the subtitle Wojtyla wasn't "Pope" in the photograph from which I assume the title was derived, and from what I can see, neither is he in his underwear.

    1. I am illustrating the way that Roman Catholicism uses words as misdirection. If you've read any books by Ratzinger or Wojtyla, written from the time before they were popes, they trumpet on the cover, "Pope Benedict XVI" and "Pope John Paul II". I did have it in quotes. That is the very thing they do all the time.

      Regarding the title, he is in his underwear -- t-shirt, boxers, and sockless slippers -- with his cerical garb draped over his arm. And I took the occasion to again illustrate the difference between a "vow of chastity" and a "vow of celibacy", and how breaking chastity for a priest is breaking celibacy. Almost no one understands those distinctions that Rome breaks, and Rome lets people continue in their misunderstanding.

      Nothing that I've done here is dishonest, and I've illustrated how Rome uses language to create misdirection.

    2. ...and how breaking chastity for a priest is breaking celibacy... should be "and how breaking chastity for a priest is different from breaking celibacy".

  4. Have you never been camping? Do you really have absolutely no clue about how situations like camping end up providing photo ops for someone in the right place at the right time of people dressed oddly or partially dressed or whatever? The woman herself is about as frumpy as can be in the photo, fully dressed down to her long skirt, ugly socks, and flat shoes, and holding some sort of paper or clipboard while she has an earnest convo. with him from an entirely chaste distance, before he has a chance to get dressed.

    The air of salacious gossip in this post is pretty darned bad and verges on defamation of character. You are insinuating, none too subtly, that Karol Wojtyla had sex with the woman in the picture and that the picture is strong evidence thereof.

    As for intense friendships between men and women who are not married to each other, certainly they need to be handled carefully, but they are not ipso facto sinful or contrary to chastity. It may be that it would have been wiser for JPII to have broken off the correspondence, especially if he had reason to believe that it was causing the woman, Teresa, to have wrong feelings for him. But to suggest that they had sex together is to go far, far beyond the evidence. Indeed, it reflects a lack of understanding of the range of possible relationships that people can develop that are perhaps dangerously intense emotionally but not per se sexual.

    In my opinion this post not only fails in Christian terms, it fails in intellectual terms (evidentially), and it also fails in terms of wisdom and experience of human relationships.

    1. Lydia, yes, I was camping many times with my family, and my question to you is, what's a full grown man, a Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church doing outside of his tent in his underwear?

      There are other photos in the article that's linked. If Mme Tymieniecka looks "as frumpy as can be" in the photo you're commenting on, it's clear that she's a very attractive woman in her 1973 photo. "Frumpy" doesn't overcome "in love".

      Do not neglect, either, "they met many times - sometimes with his secretary present, sometimes alone".

      "Photographs which have never been seen before by the public reveal Karol Wojtyla at his most relaxed. He invited Ms Tymieniecka to join him on country walks and skiing holidays - she even joined him on a group camping trip."

      You were talking about "intense friendships between men and women who are not married to each other", but you fail to recognize what this means to someone of his stature in the RCC already in 1978.

      Again, I did not "suggest that they had sex together" -- that is not the only way to have sex -- but more, you claim that my post "fails in intellectual terms (evidently)", but your comment fails at a more fundamental level, that of reading what I actually said.

    2. With that aside, as for the "intellectual" content of the post, were you aware of the distinction that Rome makes between a vow of celibacy and a vow of chastity? (And the distinction of the penalties between sinning against chastity and marriage for a priest?)

      If not, then I have taught you something. I know for a fact that many (even the journalist who wrote the original article) seems not to understand this distinction.

      Further, were you aware that this method of making distinctions exists pretty much "system-wide" through Roman documents, and that it has used this methodology to not only defend its doctrines, but also to defend sex-abusing priests and the bishops who hide them? I've written about that many times and many places.

      Would you suggest that THAT "fails in Christian terms", or should we rather call attention to it, even to the point of imitating it for the benefit of our readership so they can see it in action?

    3. Regarding "salacious gossip" and "defamation of character", perhaps you have not understood the amount of parody that I write with. Look up many of my "Pope Francis" articles, including one that you'll likely find if you scroll down the front page.

      (Notwithstanding what these photographs actually represent to believing Roman Catholics and that the comments “The IMMENSE dangers of Express-Canonization” were from a very conservative and traditionalist blog site).

      Finally, regarding the phrase "Pope John Paul II" in the title -- you did notice that I used it in quotes, and that Roman Catholic publishers are fond of trying to "make hay" on the appointment of a pope by plastering "Pope So-and-So" on older books that these individuals have written. See for example:


      In all, this is post is well within the bounds of "Christian terms" and also "intellectual terms". True wisdom includes a discernment of what's really going on, that there really is no "fear of the Lord" within the Roman system, and that's something that it seems you have failed to discern.

  5. I did not say anything about your using the phrase "Pope John Paul II." Maybe you have me confused with somebody else. I wouldn't waste time on such a trivial point, and I agree with you that one can use the later title for the person earlier in his life.

    Yeah, I know the distinction between vow of celibacy and vow of chastity, and you haven't taught me a thing about that.

    "Again, I did not 'suggest that they had sex together.'"

    Um, yeah, you did. You insinuated it so broadly that one would have to be blind and deaf not to hear it in your post. You have only the most implausible of implausible deniability, in that you didn't come right out and say it, but give me a break. You insult your readers by such a denial.

    "that is not the only way to have sex"

    So what's that supposed to mean? That the pope/cardinal and Teresa T. were each engaging in "solitary vice" while fantasizing about each other?

    If all you mean here is that their relationship was emotionally unwise and inappropriate and that Teresa's husband would have had grounds to object to such a romantic friendship between his wife and another man, I agree with you. But that they regarded it as some kind of Dante-Beatrice thing and hence kept it chaste is what appears to be supported by the evidence, in which case a phrase like "another way to have sex" is absurd and slanderous. "Inappropriate and unwise" and "sexually chaste" are, in fact, compatible.

    "what's a full grown man, a Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church doing outside of his tent in his underwear?"

    In his long, baggy boxers, if that's what they are, or non-underwear shorts (which they may be), and undershirt? Carrying his clothes? Pausing to chat with someone else on the same camping trip, who is fully clothed? Probably getting ready to go for a swim or go to the local shower house. So now we're implying a dress code for Cardinals when they're on a camping trip? And that they are prima facie unchaste if they don't follow it? Sheesh. Maybe you should design bathrobes and propose to the Vatican that it mandate the use of Bugay-designed bathrobes for all cardinals and priests on vacation, on pain of being considered guilty of unchastity if they don't.

    "Do not neglect, either, "they met many times - sometimes with his secretary present, sometimes alone"."

    Golly, how incredibly suspicious. Popes should never be alone with women.

    Again, the evidence seems to show that their relationship was emotionally intense and, particularly on her side, romantic. That sort of thing happens and has happened over _centuries_ without unchastity. That sort of relationship, as portrayed (accurately or not) in literature, is part of the intellectual heritage of the West, with which both of these over-educated people would have been well familiar. I'm quite willing to be judgemental enough and "prudish" enough to say that that sort of relationship should be on the "this is just a story, do not try this at home, folks" list. But it would be stupid to ignore that context and just to make significant-sounding noises about there being "other ways to have sex." Good grief. You come across as humanly and culturally ignorant as well as sheerly Catholic-hating.

    1. Lydia -- you are just a barrel of laughs.

      First of all, again, this is a parody, and it is a parody of an institution that accepts no correction.

      Second, we are not talking about private citizens here, but public figures. Further, you're not taking into account the pure scandal that these photos have already caused to those Roman Catholics who consider this to be "John Paul the Great". I did not say anything that many devout Roman Catholics haven't already thought.

      Yes, there have been stories about "wicked popes" in the past, but here is one developing right before our eyes. I'm trained as a journalist, and aside from this being a parody, this also has *news value*. The irony here is rich.

      Regarding "Catholic-hating" -- There are multiple levels of address here. First, there is the *religion*, which I hate, and the *institution*, which I also believe to be a perpetrator of great evil in our world. Then there are *Catholic apologists*, who like their institution, "accept no correction" -- I address these folks in what I write. (And then there is the educational value, whic you've already said you did not benefit from. I've heard seminary professors get far more significant things wrong in recorded lectures, so there is a need there). And separately, there are the common everyday cultural Catholics, who would not pay much attention to any of this. I have no malice toward any of them. My own mother and many of my other relatives are this type of Catholic. I'm not writing for that audience.

      "Pope John Paul" himself is not a private figure, but a public institution. The representative of centuries'-worth of ignorance and oppression and yes, outright misinformation. Here is how the institution officially treats the truth in public:

      Rome’s Institutionally Sanctioned Lying

      The Official Roman Catholic Policy of Obstruction of Justice

      Golly, how incredibly suspicious. Popes should never be alone with women.

      Good of you to offer your advice. They "accept no correction" anyway -- they'll never listen to you.

      You're a smart woman and I generally like the kinds of things that you say. But your response here is oozing with estrogen. It's a parody, and I'm using parody to point out the hypocrisy of the system.

      Let your husband be on a "group camping trip" and be photographed with an admiring student, and see how your sense of propriety about things is altered.

      You should lighten up.

  6. What a nasty thread, John.

    I checked back to see if you had replied to my previous comment, and I see you've dug in your heels and degenerated into a screech-fest.

    Oh, and about Rome accepting no correction? Pot, meet kettle.

    1. Ooh, CR, CR, it's a wild world, and it's hard to get by, just upon a smile.

      You know I've seen a lot of what the world can do
      And it's breakin' my heart in two
      Because I never wanna see you a sad, girl, don't be a bad girl
      But if you wanna leave, take good care
      Hope you make a lot of nice friends out there
      But just remember there's a lot of bad and beware, beware

      Ooh, baby, baby, it's a wild world
      It's hard to get by just upon a smile
      Ooh, baby, baby, it's a wild world
      And I'll always remember you like a child, girl

      How were you with "Nuclear Bombs on Trump" post, by the way? Now THAT's really taking off the gloves, don't you think?

    2. John, there's nothing wrong with strongly held or strongly worded opinions and beliefs.

      Like most normal grown men I've been personally engaged in face to face dialogue much "stronger" than what you've written here.

      It's just that usually when discussions degenerate to the level I'm seeing in this thread I'm dealing with an arrogant unbeliever, or a self-righteous Pharisee, and of course I don't consider you to be in either of these camps, so I suspect you're probably just blinded by a sinful attitude or disposition.

      Anyway your childish and petulant taunting is unbecoming of a Christian man. Grow up.

    3. Well, nanny-nanny-boo-boo on you too CR.

    4. My real mistake was trying to explain what was going on in the OP. I just re-read it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it.

    5. But I was just trying to be "nice" ...