MORE“4” “2”DAY
death:  02 APR 2005
     birth: 18 MAY 1920
v. 7.60
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Testament (full text)
^ Died on 02 April 2005;
Born on 18 May 1920:
Karol Józef Wojtyla
, Pole who grew up to be a Catholic priest, ordained on 01 November 1946, consecrated a bishop on 28 September 1958, appointed archbishop of Krakow on 13 January 1964, made a cardinal on 26 June 1967, and elected the 264th pope on 16 October 1978, who took the name John Paul II.
     Born in Wadowice, Poland , he was the first non-Italian pope in 455 years and the first ever from a Slavic country. His crusades against political oppression have been widely praised, and his trips abroad, 90 by the year 2000, have attracted enormous crowds (some of the largest ever assembled). With these trips, John Paul has covered a distance far greater than that traveled by all other popes combined. They have been an outward sign of the efforts at global bridge-building between nations and between religions that have been central to his pontificate. The journeys also played a role in the final years of the Cold War, when his nonviolent activism spurred movements that contributed to the peaceful dissolution of the communist Soviet Union in 1989.
      John Paul's constant efforts to reach out to people of other religions, most notably Jews and Muslims, culminated in a dramatic trip to the Holy Land in March 2000. His teachings on personal and sexual morality, however, have caused controversy, and Eastern Orthodox leaders have remained cool to his repeated entreaties to mend their 1000-year schism with Rome. His Catholic critics add that while reinforcing world peace, he has neither reversed the general decline in vocations and church attendance nor allowed an expected increase in the authority of bishops. His critics aside, John Paul has sought to help Catholics and the world avoid new violence.
     As a child in Wadowice, Poland, he was called “Lolek,” a nickname for Karol which would stay with him as an adult. The first two decades of his life coincided with the only period of independence that Poland would know between 1772 and 1989. It began with Marshal Józef Pilsudski's defeat of the Soviet Red Army in 1920 and ended with the German invasion in 1939. Wojtyla thus grew up experiencing national freedom but also understanding its vulnerability.
      During this period, Wadowice's population comprised about 8000 Catholics and 2000 Jews. 25 km to the northwest is the town Oswiecim, where in 1940 the Nazis would build the Auschwitz death camp. But during Wojtyla's boyhood, there is said to have been relatively little anti-Semitism in Wadowice, and Jews were integrated into town life.
      Wojtyla's mother, Emilia Kaczorowska, was convent educated and religiously observant. His father, Karol Senior, was a lieutenant in the Polish army. Described as well-mannered, intelligent, tireless, honest, and just, he would be the dominant influence in the future pope's young life.
      When Wojtyla was eight years old, his mother died of what doctors described as an infection of the heart and kidneys. A few years later, his older brother, by then a physician, died of scarlet fever contracted from a patient. Acquaintances remember the 12-year-old boy accepting the news with the remark “Such was God's will.” Despite these hardships, Wojtyla was an outgoing youth, though always with a serious side. He was a natural lead in school plays and is reported to have helped school friends with their homework without allowing them to copy his. He excelled in school, played soccer, and under his father's guidance lived a disciplined, routinely religious life.
      After graduating as class valedictorian, Wojtyla had one promising year of college life at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków (1938–1939). There he completed “Renaissance Psalter,” his first (unpublished) book of poetry, engaged in amateur dramatics, and passed his qualifying exams for further studies in Polish literature. His formal studies ended abruptly when Adolph Hitler's forces invaded Poland on 01 September 1939. In addition to Jews, professors, priests, and other cultural and political leaders were deported to concentration camps by the Nazis, who considered the Slavs one of the inferior races.
      Lolek and his father, who was now in poor health, fled with thousands to the east, but after learning that the Russians had also invaded Poland, father and son soon returned to the tiny Kraków apartment they had shared. Wojtyla then continued his studies in the university's clandestine classes. For the next four years, in order to avoid Nazi arrest and deportation into forced labor, he worked for Solvay, a chemical manufacturer considered by the Nazis to be essential to the war effort. His work, which involved such tasks as breaking rocks in a quarry, laying track, shoveling limestone, setting dynamite charges, and tending machinery, would make him the only pope in modern times to have been a laborer.
click to zoom in[painting by Mike Jaroszko, click it to zoom in >]
      At this time Wojtyla began to write nationalistic plays and joined the Rhapsodic Theater, an underground resistance group that aimed to keep Polish culture and morale alive through poetry and dramatic performances. Around him, he witnessed the gathering of the region's Jews into the Kraków ghetto and their deportation to Auschwitz. In the midst of these horrors, he had a seminal religious experience under the influence of Jan Tyranowski, a tailor who conducted a youth ministry for the local church. Tyranowski introduced him to the teachings of Saint John of the Cross, a Carmelite Spanish mystic who held that redemption could be gained through suffering and a “spirituality of abandonment.” Tyranowski's work with young people helped convince Wojtyla that the church, even more than a renewed Polish theatre, might help improve the world.
      On the evening of 18 February 1941, Lolek came home from the quarry to discover that his father had died alone. He prayed by the body all night. At some point in the next 18 months, he decided to enter the priesthood and by the autumn of 1942 had been accepted into illegal seminary classes run by Kraków's aristocratic and skillfully defiant Cardinal Archbishop, Prince Adam Sapieha [14 May 1867 – 21 Jul 1951]. For two years, still working in the chemical plant, Wojtyla led a double life. In August 1944, Hitler demolished Poland's capital, Warsaw. Nazi troops then swept through Kraków seizing all able-bodied teenage boys and men. Wojtyla waited unnoticed behind the doors of his basement apartment. The next day, he was hidden by Sapieha in the archbishop's palace where he remained for the rest of the war disguised as a cleric; Sapieha sought the help of chemical plant managers to make his promising seminarian disappear from German lists of missing personnel.
      In 1945 the German occupation was replaced by the Soviet occupation. On 01 November 1946, Karol Wojtyla was ordained by Sapieha into the Catholic priesthood. He left Poland for two years of study in Rome, where he completed his first doctorate, an examination of the theology of Saint John of the Cross. He also visited other western European countries and became interested in the “worker-priest” movement.
      In the summer of 1948, Wojtyla returned to Poland as assistant pastor in the village of Niegowic. Within a year his superiors, recognizing his intellectual energies, moved him to a student chaplaincy in Kraków's St. Florian's parish and launched him on an academic career. He studied, wrote, and lectured in philosophy and social and sexual ethics. Over the next decade, Wojtyla completed a second doctorate, taught at the Jagiellonian University, and eventually achieved a full professorship at the Catholic University of Lublin.
      The young priest continued to write poetry, published anonymously, on a variety of religious, social, and personal themes. He also became the spiritual leader and mentor of a circle of young friends whom he joined on kayaking and camping trips. Together, they celebrated mass in the open, which was forbidden by the communist regime. He also taught privately that Catholicism, not communism, offered true fulfillment and protection of rights. Experiences with these friends would contribute to the ideas in his first book of nonfiction, Love and Responsibility (originally published in Polish, 1960), an exploration of the several graces available in conjugal sexual relationships. It was considered radical by many Poles who felt their church had previously asked them to regard sex as being solely for the purpose of procreation.
      Church leaders were impressed by Wojtyla's ability to operate a vigorous pastorate in spite of communist restrictions. On 04 July 1958, Pope Pius XII appointed him an auxiliary bishop of Kraków. In the early 1960s, at the Second Vatican Council, Wojtyla impressed the Curia prelates to such a degree that halfway through the council, on 30 December 1963, Pope Paul VI named Wojtyla Archbishop of Kraków.
      The Vatican Council served as a virtual primer for the papacy by introducing the young bishop to church concerns ranging from religious freedom and the role of the laity to the church's relations with other religions and with the secular world. After the council's conclusion in 1965, Wojtyla was appointed to Pope Paul VI's Commission for the Study of Problems of the Family, Population, and Birth Rate. His work appears to have influenced Humanae vitae (1968), Paul VI's encyclical rejecting artificial contraception. Paul VI's ban on artificial contraception became one of the most disobeyed Catholic teachings. Even some conservative bishops say privately that they disagree with it and that on this issue Wojtyla may have made basic theological mistakes.
     At age 47, Wojtyla was made a cardinal on 28 June 1967. As the cardinal archbishop of Kraków, he worked closely with Poland's powerful primate cardinal, Stefan Wyszynski [03 Aug 1901 – 28 May 1981], archbishop of Warsaw, who declared that Christianity not Communism was the true protector of the poor and oppressed.
      During this time, Wojtyla insisted that a church be built in Kraków's new industrial suburb, Nowa Huta. He planted a cross in the field where the church was to stand and defied communist authorities by holding masses there. He also applied for permission to hold traditional religious processions in the streets, though he was often turned down. The authorities finally relented; Wojtyla consecrated Nowa Huta's new Ark Church in 1977.
      The Communist authorities forced Wojtyla to develop a public style that would eventually work against them: denied use of the media, he and fellow church leaders traveled ceaselessly among the people and grew skilled at communicating with crowds large and small. This ability with crowds would have great impact on global television when he became pope.
      In his persistent dealings with the atheist Communists, Wojtyla was conscious of working in the tradition of Polish defenders of Christendom and freedom such as John III Sobieski [17 Aug 1629 – 17 Jun 1696], General Tadeusz Kosciuszko [04 Feb 1746 – 15 Oct 1817], and Pilsudski [05 Dec 1867 – 12 May 1935]. He also revered the martyr saints who had unified Poland in the face of foreign domination, and he publicly compared Poland's patron saint, Stanislaw [1030 – 11 Apr 1079], to Saint Peter [–64], calling him “a patron of moral order in our motherland.”
      In 1976 Cardinal Wojtyla was invited by Pope Paul VI to preach the annual Lenten sermons in the Vatican. His “Meditations,” later published as A Sign of Contradiction (originally published in Italian, 1978), explored Catholicism's moral stance amid a corrupted world (including a totalitarian East and a libertine West) which tries to reject it.
      After Paul VI died, the College of Cardinals, divided between two powerful Italians, chose Albino Luciani from Venice. However, 34 days after his election, Pope John Paul I [17 Oct 1912 – 28 Sep 1978] died. Upon learning of the new pontiff's death, Wojtyla penned his last published poem, “Stanislaw.” It portrays the saint's martyrdom and religion as wellsprings of Polish nationhood. Describing Poland as “The land of hard-won unity... torn on the maps of the world,” Wojtyla also evoked the tradition of Poland as “the Christ of nations” whose suffering saves the world. He told friends he wrote the poem as a way of paying his debt to Kraków.
      When 111 cardinals entered the second conclave that gathered in 1978 to elect a new pope, the world did not know that Wojtyla had received votes in the first conclave, nor that he was aware of a movement to elect him which, if strong enough, would mean his departure from Kraków. He was in some ways a perfect compromise candidate for the College of Cardinals, who knew the next pope would have to hold together a divided church. Liberal interpretations of religious life that followed the Second Vatican Council had created rifts and defections; religious conservatives were digging in, claiming the council had betrayed the church.
     The conclave was divided between two particularly strong candidates: Giuseppe Siri, the conservative Archbishop of Genoa, and Giovanni Benelli, the liberal Archbishop of Florence and close associate of Pope John Paul I. In early ballots Benelli came within nine votes of victory. However Wojtyla secured election as the compromise candidate, in part through the support of liberal cardinals like Franz König and conservatives who had previously supported Siri.
      Wojtyla appeared to be conservative in church discipline but progressive in his acceptance of Vatican Council reforms. The cardinals also hoped his youthfulness would attract young people to the church. Still, Wojtyla's election on the conclave's eighth ballot, at the end of its second full day, astonished a world that had not seen a non-Italian pope since Adrian VI (who reigned 1522–1523).
      On 22 October 1978, Wojtyla was installed as John Paul II, the 264th bishop of Rome and the vicar (the representative on earth, according to the church) of Christ. In taking this name, which his predecessor said honored the two popes of the Second Vatican Council, John Paul signaled his intention to continue with that council's reforms.
      From the moment of his inauguration, in which his homily repeated the refrain “Be not afraid!”, John Paul presented an exuberant image that would be amplified by his travels abroad. Parading his message through many cultures and speaking in many languages, the vigorous and handsome 58-year-old John Paul II quickly became a media icon. The new pope and his Vatican officials, who saw themselves in a global competition for souls with the officially atheist Soviet Union, seized the opportunity to isolate the Soviets through a worldwide touring campaign for universal human rights that insisted on national and religious freedom.
     John Paul's potent mixture of religion and politics, and its deep roots in Poland, became evident in the first year of his pontificate and was dramatized for the world in his first four trips abroad.
      He went first to Mexico (January 1979), where he reaffirmed for the bishops of Latin America (leaders of half the world's Catholics) that politics—especially in the context of human rights, personal dignity, and religious freedom—is an area of human life in which priests as well as laity must be involved. He also attracted what has been called the largest crowd ever assembled—some five million people by one estimate. This activist message, coming from a man who was drawing crowds and TV audiences far greater than any political leader could dream of attracting, prompted many governments to upgrade their Vatican embassies.
      His second trip (June 1979) took him home to communist Poland, where he told crowds that their Catholic faith dictated that they had no right not to be free. Poles said later that they discovered their own political strength by seeing each other in those immense but orderly crowds, and that this made possible their subsequent defiance of the communist regimes in Poland and Moscow. John Paul's actions and speeches also served as models for the Polish priests who would prosecute his campaigns in the country after he returned to Rome.
      John Paul's third trip (October 1979) took him to Ireland, where he condemned all violence, and to the United States, where he was given a Wall Street ticker tape parade and massive media coverage as crowds greeted him in six US cities. People in the US discovered in the process, to the chagrin of some, that this anti-communist pope also had serious disagreements with the West, including aspects of US capitalism. At Yankee Stadium he decried the neglect of the poor, by the rich in the United States and in other wealthy countries, and he denounced the practice by prosperous nations of depleting the natural resources of poorer ones. His condemnation of abortion and his confrontation with Catholic nuns who wanted a greater role for women in the church evoked sharp criticism from some quarters but demonstrated to all a strong will and a personality unafraid to proclaim unpopular views.
      His fourth trip was to Turkey (November 1979) to visit the titular head of the Eastern Orthodox churches, which include most of the state-allied churches of what was then the Soviet Union. It put Soviet leaders on notice that he aimed to pressure them through the congregations across eastern Europe. There is little sign that this hoped-for eastern arm of his anti-Soviet campaign ever materialized, but for the Soviet government it was an unsettling threat.
      During travels over the next 10 years, John Paul encircled the Soviet Union with his messages of religious freedom, national independence, and human rights. He irritated the Kremlin with declarations that all of Europe should be reunited through its common Christian heritage; he even led an international colloquium in 1981 titled “The Common Christian Roots of the European Nations.”
      Some Vatican bureaucratic clergy said privately that the new pope was traveling too much, giving a triumphalist face to Catholicism when he should have been concentrating on rebuilding the church from behind his desk in the Vatican. When asked about this on one of the early papal flights, John Paul responded, “Yes, I agree! I am traveling too much. But sometimes it is necessary to do something of what is too much!” Even his vacations, skiing and hiking, amplified his activist image, revealing an athleticism unprecedented in the modern papacy.
      John Paul appeared to embody the tenets of his own book of philosophy, The Acting Person (originally published in Polish, 1969), which states that actions, not thoughts or statements, define what a person stands for. John Paul clearly took an activist approach to his papacy, rather than passively stating beliefs and principles from within the Vatican. In the process, he raised the political expectations of huge crowds in many countries, thereby increasing his apparent threat to Soviet leaders.
      John Paul ordered all priests to cease participating in secular party politics. This was done not to weaken Catholicism's political impact but to unify the church and strengthen its moral authority. He wanted Catholic social doctrine, much of it developed from Pope Leo XIII's seminal encyclical on worker's rights, Rerum novarum (1891), to be delivered with the singular authority of Rome, unaltered by local politics.
      When not traveling, John Paul supported Poland's Solidarity movement from the Vatican. As the movement gained strength, he often used his influence as pope to impress upon Poles the need to remain nonviolent and to advance slowly so that the communist regime would have little excuse to impose martial law or dismantle the Solidarity trade union.
      This strategy was thrown into sudden crisis when John Paul was shot and nearly killed by Turkish assassin Mehmet Ali Agca [09 Jan 1958~], on 13 May 1981. In Poland at this time, Primate Cardinal Wyszynski lay dying of cancer. The sudden prospect of losing both its spiritual leaders unsettled the Solidarity movement. Official investigators determined that Agca's assassination attempt was almost certainly a conspiracy but have never proved who sponsored it. Throughout the 1980s, however, it was widely believed that the Soviets had been behind the attempt in the hope of demoralizing the Solidarity movement. This popular belief probably helped to diminish the Soviet Union's moral authority at the time.
      Seven months after the assassination attempt, Poland's General Wojciech Jaruzelski [06 Jul 1923~] declared martial law and arrested thousands of Solidarity activists, but the movement's networks were by then so deeply established that, encouraged by the pope's rapid recovery and his further visits to Poland, Solidarity was able to persevere. In 1989 the Communists asked for negotiations with the trade union. This was followed within months by the dissolution of the Soviet bloc and, eventually, the collapse of the USSR. In December 1989 Mikhail Gorbachev [02 Mar 1931~] became the first Soviet premier to visit the Vatican.
      Visits from John Paul also weakened several dictatorships and juntas, including those of Brazil's João Baptista de Oliveira Figueiredo [15 Jan 1918 – 24 Dec 1999], the Philippines' Ferdinand E. Marcos [11 Sep 1917 – 28 Sep 1989], Haiti's Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier [03 Jul 1951~], Paraguay's Alfredo Stroessner [03 Nov 1912~], Chile's Augusto Pinochet [25 Nov 1915~] and even Chun Doo Hwan [18 Jan 1931~] of non-Catholic South Korea. After papal visits, each of these leaders had relinquished his rule within (at most) a few years, and though it is difficult to ascribe a direct cause-and-effect relationship in every case, it is clear that the papal visits and John Paul's messages raised expectations among the people of these countries and decreased the likelihood that these governments could endure indefinitely without significant change.
      His intervention during the first year of his pontificate is also credited with having prevented a war between Chile and Argentina over disputed territory. Not all his diplomatic efforts have succeeded, however. His criticism of some US policies, including his condemnation of the 1991 Gulf War and of US embargoes against Iraq and Cuba, had little visible effect. On the other hand, he and his Vatican emissaries have served since the early 1990s as third-party moderators between the Cuban and US governments, especially following his joyfully received visit to Cuba in 1998.
     Despite his geopolitical success in many countries, John Paul is generally faulted for a miscalculation concerning the church in Latin America. Fearing that the region's Catholic ecclesial base communities were too closely allied with Soviet Communism, John Paul withdrew support for them to a degree that likely increased the defections of many Latin American Catholics to Evangelical Protestant movements.
     In the wake of the fall of Soviet communism, John Paul inveighed at times against excesses that can accompany political freedom. In Poland he criticized the appearance of Western-style materialism, pornography, and state support for abortion. During other travels abroad, he used the term “culture of death” to encompass the practice of abortion and euthanasia, the indifference to suffering he said may stem from unbridled capitalism and consumerism, and the belief, which he says can be encouraged by electronic technologies, that people can manipulate their own happiness.
     In 1995, with the Cold War over, John Paul summarized his geopolitical campaigns in an address to the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) on its 50th anniversary by saying he was trying to help the world evolve from “a century of violent coercion” to “a century of persuasion.” He said the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights (10 Dec 1948) had been crucial to the success of what he called “the nonviolent revolutions of 1989” (the peaceful overthrow of communism) but that the UN now had another great task: the creation of a declaration of rights for individual nations and groups—including by implication religious groups. This message signaled a shift away from his focus on international political realignment to a concern with improving relations between the world's religions.
      In 1986 John Paul had invited leaders of all major religions to Assisi, Italy, for a universal prayer service for world peace. It was scorned by the ultraconservatives of several religions, including his own. The traditionalist French Catholic archbishop Marcel Lefebvre [29 Nov 1905 – 25 Mar 1991] called the pope's action a “scandal” and betrayal of “the one true faith.” He also cited it as one of the main reasons he consecrated his own bishops (without papal approval) in 1988, an act he knew would result in his excommunication and create the first formal schism in the Catholic church since the Second Vatican Council.
      By the mid-1990s, John Paul was able to orchestrate some dramatic acts of interreligious reconciliation, especially with the two other faiths that stem from Abraham: Judaism and Islam. He had worked to improve relations with these two faiths from the start of his pontificate with frequent meetings that garnered little public attention. By the year 2000, his substantive meetings with Muslim leaders numbered more than 45, far more than those of all previous popes together. They included his sponsorship of the “Colloquium on Holiness in Christianity and Islam” in Rome in 1984 and his 1985 address (at the invitation of King Hassan II [09 Jul 1929 – 23 Jul 1999]) to 80'000 Muslims in Morocco. These efforts culminated in February 2000 with history's first meeting between a pope and Sunni Islam's highest religious authority, the Sheikh al-Azhar, at the sheikh's office in Cairo.
      Crucial to John Paul's approach to the other religions was his unprecedented campaign to involve Catholics in general apologies for the sins of Catholics against others over the last two millennia. In 1994 he proposed to his cardinals that they do this by the year 2000 to make a fresh start in the new millennium. Despite some resistance, he persevered with frequent apologies, both during his travels and from within the Vatican, for the past brutalities and injustices of racism, violence, and prejudice, including those committed during the Crusades and against indigenous peoples, women, suspected heretics, non-Catholic Christians, Muslims, and Jews.
      John Paul has apparently felt a special responsibility, rooted in his personal experience near the center of the Nazi Holocaust, to use his influence as pope to help end nearly 2000 years of distrust between Christians and Jews. From the start of his pontificate, he cultivated personal contacts with Jewish leaders and continued to assert, as he had in Poland, the notion that the Jews are, for Christians, “our elder brothers in faith.” Moreover, he declared anti-Semitism a sin. In 1986 he became the first pontiff ever to enter the Synagogue of Rome. By 1993 he had pushed the Vatican to recognize the state of Israel, overriding objections of Vatican officials who worried about the consequences for Christian minorities in Arab countries. In 1994 he invited Rome's Jewish community and survivors of Hitler's death camps to a Holocaust memorial Passover concert inside the Vatican. On the controversial question of Pope Pius XII's actions and silence during World War II, John Paul has not criticized him but asserted that Pius acted with deep conscience in a terrible situation, though by contrast John Paul himself has been constantly and loudly critical of human rights violations everywhere. In 1998 the Vatican document We Remember: A Reflection on the ‘Shoah' reviewed various aspects of Catholic anti-Jewish prejudice that contributed to the Holocaust.
      In March 2000 in Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak welcomed John Paul to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial with the words “Blessed are you in Israel.” Three days later, John Paul met with Muslim leaders at the Al-Aqsa Mosque and then prayed alone at the Western Wall. Into the wall he placed a printed message committing to “genuine brotherhood with the People of the Covenant.” These deliberate gestures were favorably received by most Israelis, and the country's minister for communications stated that “a 2000-year-old account is now closed.”
      During his long pontificate, John Paul has directed the rewriting of several major church texts whose influence among Catholics is likely to be long-lasting. These include the new Code of Canon Law (issued in 1983, its first revision since 1917), the new Code of Canons for the Eastern Catholic Churches (1990), and the Reform of the Roman Curia (1988). In 1992 he promulgated the new Catechism of the Catholic Church, the first revision in more than four centuries.
      His efforts to improve relations with other Christian churches led to a highly personalized encyclical entitled Ut unum sint (1995). It reviews 30 years of ecumenical relations that included the first visits by any pope to Canterbury Cathedral and to Lutheran churches in Germany and Sweden. This encyclical's invitation to non-Catholic churches to join John Paul in rethinking the role of the papacy in world Christianity had by the turn of the century sparked new ecumenical discussions.
      Prominent among John Paul's frequent efforts to adjust Catholic theology and thinking to the new age of science and technology is his encyclical Fides et ratio (1998), which argues the importance of reason in the development of any meaningful faith. It also reflects the pope's high regard for his own Pontifical Academy of Sciences, an organization he has used to keep up with scientific advances. In commissioning a review of the 1633 Inquisition of Galileo [15 Feb 1564 – 08 Jan 1642], he asserted that Catholicism must not deny good science. This review led to a Vatican statement in 1984 that “Church officials had erred in condemning Galileo” and was followed by John Paul's declaration that Galileo had been “imprudently opposed” by the Church.
      John Paul's attitude toward science, like his stance on professional journalism, has always been to admire and encourage its search for truth; the danger, according to him, comes not in finding truth but in misusing it in ways that may degrade anyone's dignity. That he saw no basic contradiction between the findings of modern science and biblical accounts of the Creation was made clear in a series of homilies John Paul delivered during his first year as pope, published as Original Unity of Man and Woman (1981). In them he stated that some stories in Genesis, including those of Adam and Eve, are to be understood as inspired metaphor.
      John Paul is also the first pope to link the protection of the environment firmly to Catholic theology. In June 1999 in Zamosc, Poland, John Paul declared that destruction of the environment “can be a grave sin” and “a sign of real contempt for man.” John Paul based this statement on the Genesis assertion that God saw His entire creation as good and on his own belief that “In Christ, man re-reads his original call to ‘subdue' the earth, which is the continuation of God's work rather than the unbridled exploitation of creation.”
     From the beginning of his papacy, John Paul has spoken out on a wide array of highly contentious issues, engendering praise from some camps, condemnation from others. He has denounced abortion, premarital sex, and homosexual practices (though not homosexual inclination). He has continually rebuffed new pleas for priests to be allowed to marry and blocked women from entering the priesthood, though he has often spoken out for full equality for women in other realms of life. He has also given notable support to conservative Catholic organizations, including the sometimes controversial Opus Dei, a highly disciplined group that has made pioneering efforts to involve laity in the service of Catholicism. Because of his long pontificate, the majority of bishops and cardinals with whom he has served were appointed by him, and many of them espouse approaches and ideals similar to his.
      John Paul has had his adversaries, however, even within the Catholic church. In 2000, he centralized ecclesiastical and theological control over Catholic educational institutions around the world, the sort of administrative tactic that has led some churchmen to describe him as more of an autocrat than the collegial moderator they believe the Second Vatican Council called for in the papacy. John Paul's administrative style has generally been not to micromanage but to delegate, which has allowed him to concentrate his efforts on selected issues to achieve greater impact. Nevertheless, he has interfered more than his immediate predecessors in the internal affairs of several groups within the church, including the election of the head of the Jesuit order.
      His critics argue that this intervention is part of the same rigid authoritarianism that has also led the pope to proscribe the teaching of some dissident Catholic theologians. Early in his papacy, John Paul censured Hans Küng for arguing that the Catholic church was wrong to invoke papal infallibility to declare binding doctrine.
      Some of John Paul's critics also charge that his failure to reverse the decline in vocations and church attendance is due partly to his epochal insistence on individual human rights and religious and national freedom. They argue that these campaigns have implied a more human-centered theology than was dominant before the Second Vatican Council; despite its political impact, critics charge, the pope's emphasis on human rights has failed to evoke the religious allure of a more traditionally “Christ-centered” approach to the world. His defenders counter that John Paul's unique brand of humanistic Catholicism has been based upon the person and inspiration of Christ, a model the pope cited in his inaugural homily by asserting that human beings, if redeemed in Christ, could be greater than they ever imagined. In this light, John Paul's attempts to solve some of the humanitarian crises of the late 20th century could be justified by the Catholic notion that as the vicar of Christ it is his duty to help alleviate the world's physical suffering and violence.
      His prelates continued to debate whether his activist and geopolitical strategies, regardless of their effectiveness, may have hurt the church by using it too politically or by obscuring its spiritual mission. John Paul's supporters, both in the clergy and among the laity, insisted that because he has based his activism firmly in nonviolence and the sacred inviolability of the individual, his campaigns have only helped the church by showing that its essential values, advanced with commitment and courage, can improve the world.
      Since the early 1990s, the once robust John Paul was increasingly slowed by Parkinson disease and by a series of operations that included a hip replacement in 1994. Nonetheless, he kept a rigorous schedule, insisting that his visible suffering is part of his ministry. To aides urging him to slow down he reportedly said simply, “Sid crollo, crollo.” He ignored talk of his resignation (several popes have resigned, the last being Gregory XII in 1415) and has led the Church through the Jubilee year 2000 and into the new millennium. Even in old age he continued to attract enormous crowds; four million were estimated to have greeted him at a mass in Manila in 1995.
      Whatever unresolved problems John Paul II may have left for the popes succeeding him, longevity and circumstance allowed him a degree of personal affirmation rare in the lives of prominent leaders. He lived to see some of his major successes written firmly into history, and he was celebrated by his countrymen who, along with others around the world, have ranked him among the great Polish defenders of Christendom and national independence. In 1999, on his eighth trip to Poland as pontiff, he visited his hometown of Wadowice, where, though struggling against parkinsonism, he joked with the crowd about his boyhood there and accepted the townspeople's thanks for the freedom and prosperity he had done so much to help them win.
at audience 23 Feb 2005      Whatever his impact, John Paul II was essentially the first globally oriented pope; his election in 1978 coincided with the arrival of routine worldwide, instantaneous audiovisual communications, and many of his major efforts, geopolitical, interfaith, and intra-Catholic, were intended to adjust, though not change, the essential tenets of Catholicism for an open, interconnected world in which nations and religions have to live in daily contact with one another. Hoping to strengthen the Catholic faith in many cultures, John Paul published unprecedented papal meditations about the other faiths and canonized many more Catholic saints, drawn from a broader geographical and occupational spectrum, than have any of his predecessors. In 2000, he canonized 87 Chinese believers and 33 European missionaries to China, but China's Communist government was fiercely critical, saying those canonized had been “imperialist spies.”
[Ailing John Paul II at general audience from his private apartment, 23 February 2005 >]
      Among Christians, his bridge-building efforts appear to have had limited success. Leaders of most Eastern Orthodox churches have remained suspicious of his approaches. His overtures to other Christian churches and communities have broken some new ground but produced no dramatic transformations, though they may have laid foundations for future reconciliations.
      His effect within Catholicism remains unclear. From the start of his papacy, John Paul has tried to reassert a sense of religious challenge and discipline by making firm declarations about personal morality and the religious life. Yet this effort has not reversed a dramatic decline in vocations to the priesthood and sisterhood, nor has it improved church attendance in many Catholic countries. The cardinals who elected him asked that he end the sense of confusion among many Catholics that seemed to stem from reforms of the Second Vatican Council, but there is no consensus that he has.
     By the time of John Paul II's death, his pontificate, among the longest in papal history, was generally recognized to have improved the global prestige of the papacy and of Catholicism, and thus possibly to have laid a foundation for future revival within his church. Critics charge that his pontifical writings have been often unfocused and too prolific. His supporters insist, however, that his encyclicals and other assertions are simply so numerous, varied, and farsighted that it will take years for the great depth and scale of his effect on Catholicism to be understood.
Pope John Paul II's daily routine:
Rising at 05:30, the Pope went straight to his chapel for an hour of private prayer. At 07:30 he celebrated Mass, with breakfast at 08:30. At breakfasts and at virtually all meals, the Pope had guests. From 09:30 to 11:00, the Pope wrote, working on addresses he had to give or encyclicals or letters. At 11:00, the Pope began his official appointments, until lunch at 13:30. After lunch, a ten minute nap followed by a walk in the Vatican gardens. Typically, he prayed the rosary while walking. At 15:00 his secretary gave the Pope a pouch with official business that needed attention. By late afternoon, his appointments began again. Dinner was at 19:30. By 21:00 the Pope again had a pouch of documents from his secretary. By 23:00 he was in bed.

Official biography
John Paul II praying

 On an 18 May:

2003 On this his 83rd birthday, Pope John Paul II canonizes as saints: Józef Sebastian Pelczar [17 Jan 1842 – 28 March 1924], Bishop of Przemysl, Poland, and founder of the Zgromadzenie Sluzebnic Najswietszego Serca Jezusowego. Sister Maria Urszula od Jezusa (Julia Ledóchowska) [1865 – 29 May 1939], a Polish Ursuline religious who founded the offshoot congregation of the Urszulanki od N. Serca Jezusa Konajacego. Her sister Maria Teresa (beatified in 1975) founded the future Sodalicje sw.Piotra Klawera and was beatified in 1975. Her younger brother Wlodzimierz became the Prefect General of the Jesuits.
Maria De Mattias [04 Feb 1805 – 20 Aug 1866] who founded the Congregazione delle Suore Adoratrici del Sangue di Cristo on 04 March 1834, which, during her lifetime, expanded to some 70 communities, mostly in central Italy. Virginia Centurione Bracelli [02 April 1587 – 15 Dec 1651], of Genoa, who, on 10 Dec 1602, was made to marry Gaspare Grimaldi Bracelli, a dissolute gambler who died on 13 January 1607, after which she dedicated the rest of her life to God and to the service of the poor.
This brings the number of saints which John Paul II has canonized up to the 25th year of his pontificate, to 473, more than any other Pope.

Encyclicals (with study tool)

Other Writings

[<<< Polish original — Official Italian translation >>>]
Testament z dnia 6.III.1979.
(i dodatki pózniejsze)

W Imie Trójcy Przenajswietszej. Amen.

«Czuwajcie, bo nie wiecie, kiedy Pan wasz przybedzie» (por. Mt 24, 42) – te slowa przypominaja mi ostateczne wezwanie, które nastapi wówczas, kiedy Pan zechce. Pragne za nim podazyc i pragne, aby wszystko, co sklada sie na moje ziemskie zycie, przygotowalo mnie do tej chwili. Nie wiem, kiedy ona nastapi, ale tak jak wszystko, równiez i te chwile oddaja w rece Matki mojego Mistrza: totus Tuus.W tych samych rekach matczynych zostawiam wszystko i Wszystkich, z którymi zwiazalo mnie moje zycie i moje powolanie. W tych Rekach zostawiam nade wszystko Kosciól, a takze mój Naród i cala ludzkosc. Wszystkim dziekuje. Wszystkich prosze o przebaczenie. Prosze takze o modlitwe, aby Milosierdzie Boze okazalo sie wieksze od mojej slabosci i niegodnosci.

Il testamento del 6.3.1979
(e le aggiunte successive)

Totus Tuus ego sum

Nel Nome della Santissima Trinità. Amen.

"Vegliate, perché non sapete in quale giorno il Signore vostro verrà" (cf. Mt 24, 42) – queste parole mi ricordano l’ultima chiamata, che avverrà nel momento in cui il Signore vorrà. Desidero seguirLo e desidero che tutto ciò che fa parte della mia vita terrena mi prepari a questo momento. Non so quando esso verrà, ma come tutto, anche questo momento depongo nelle mani della Madre del mio Maestro: Totus Tuus. Nelle stesse mani materne lascio tutto e Tutti coloro con i quali mi ha collegato la mia vita e la mia vocazione. In queste Mani lascio soprattutto la Chiesa, e anche la mia Nazione e tutta l’umanità. Ringrazio tutti. A tutti chiedo perdono. Chiedo anche la preghiera, affinché la Misericordia di Dio si mostri più grande della mia debolezza e indegnità.

W czasie rekolekcji przeczytalem raz jeszcze testament Ojca Swietego Pawla VI. Lektura ta sklonila mnie do napisania niniejszego testamentu.

Nie pozostawiam po sobie wlasnosci, która nalezaloby zadysponowac. Rzeczy codziennego uzytku, którymi sie poslugiwalem, prosze rozdac wedle uznania. Notatki osobiste spalic. Prosze, azeby nad tymi sprawami czuwal Ks. Stanislaw, któremu dziekuje za tyloletnia wyrozumiala wspólprace i pomoc. Wszystkie zas inne podziekowania zostawiam w sercu przed Bogiem Samym, bo trudno je tu wyrazic.

Durante gli esercizi spirituali ho riletto il testamento del Santo Padre Paolo VI. Questa lettura mi ha spinto a scrivere il presente testamento.

Non lascio dietro di me alcuna proprietà di cui sia necessario disporre. Quanto alle cose di uso quotidiano che mi servivano, chiedo di distribuirle come apparirà opportuno. Gli appunti personali siano bruciati. Chiedo che su questo vigili don Stanislao, che ringrazio per la collaborazione e l’aiuto così prolungato negli anni e così comprensivo. Tutti gli altri ringraziamenti invece, li lascio nel cuore davanti a Dio stesso, perché è difficile esprimerli.

Co do pogrzebu, powtarzam te same dyspozycje, jakie wydal Ojciec Swiety Pawel VI. (dodatek na marginesie: Grób w ziemi, bez sarkofagu. 13.III.1992). O miejscu niech zdecyduje Kolegium Kardynalskie i Rodacy.

«Apud Dominum Misericordia et copiosa apud Eum redemptio»

Jan Pawel pp. II

Rzym, 6.III.1979.

Po smierci prosze o Msze Swiete i modlitwy.


Per quanto riguarda il funerale, ripeto le stesse disposizioni, che ha dato il Santo Padre Paolo VI. (qui nota al margine: il sepolcro nella terra, non in un sarcofago, 13.3.92).

"apud Dominum misericordia
et copiosa apud Eum redemptio"

Giovanni Paolo PP. II

Roma, 6.III.1979

Dopo la morte chiedo Sante Messe e preghiere



Wyrazam najglebsza ufnosc, ze przy calej mojej slabosci Pan udzieli mi kazdej laski potrzebnej, aby sprostac wedle Jego Woli wszelkim zadaniom, doswiadczeniom i cierpieniom, jakich zechce zazadac od swego slugi w ciagu zycia. Ufam tez, ze nie dopusci, abym kiedykolwiek przez jakies swoje postepowanie: slowa, dzialanie lub zaniedbanie dzialan, mógl sprzeniewierzyc sie moim obowiazkom na tej swietej Piotrowej Stolicy.


Foglio senza data:

Esprimo la più profonda fiducia che, malgrado tutta la mia debolezza, il Signore mi concederà ogni grazia necessaria per affrontare secondo la Sua volontà qualsiasi compito, prova e sofferenza che vorrà richiedere dal Suo servo, nel corso della vita. Ho anche fiducia che non permetterà mai che, mediante qualche mio atteggiamento: parole, opere o omissioni, possa tradire i miei obblighi in questa santa Sede Petrina.


24.II. – 1. III.1980.

Równiez w ciagu tych rekolekcji rozwazalem prawde o Chrystusowym kaplanstwie w perspektywie owego Przejscia, jakim dla kazdego z nas jest chwila jego smierci. Rozstania sie z tym swiatem – aby narodzic sie dla innego, dla swiata przyszlego, którego znakiem decydujacym, wymownym jest dla nas Zmartwychwstanie Chrystusa.


24.II – 1.III.1980

Anche durante questi esercizi spirituali ho riflettuto sulla verità del Sacerdozio di Cristo nella prospettiva di quel Transito che per ognuno di noi è il momento della propria morte. Del congedo da questo mondo – per nascere all’altro, al mondo futuro, segno eloquente (aggiunto sopra: decisivo) è per noi la Risurrezione di Cristo.

Odczytalem wiec zeszloroczny zapis mojego testamentu, dokonany równiez w czasie rekolekcji – porównalem go z testamentem mojego wielkiego Poprzednika i Ojca Pawla VI, z tym wspanialym swiadectwem o smierci chrzescijanina i papieza – oraz odnowilem w sobie swiadomosc spraw, do których sporzadzony przeze mnie (w sposób raczej prowizoryczny) ów zapis z 6.III.1979 sie odnosi.

Ho letto dunque la registrazione del mio testamento dell’ultimo anno, fatta anch’essa durante gli esercizi spirituali – l’ho paragonata con il testamento del mio grande Predecessore e Padre Paolo VI, con quella sublime testimonianza sulla morte di un cristiano e di un papa – e ho rinnovato in me la coscienza delle questioni, alle quali si riferisce la registrazione del 6.III. 1979 preparata da me (in modo piuttosto provvisorio).

Dzisiaj pragne do niego dodac tylko tyle, ze z mozliwoscia smierci kazdy zawsze musi sie liczyc. I zawsze musi byc przygotowany do tego, ze stanie przed Panem i Sedzia – a zarazem Odkupicielem i Ojcem. Wiec i ja licze sie z tym nieustannie, powierzajac ów decydujacy moment Matce Chrystusa i Kosciola – Matce mojej nadziei. Oggi desidero aggiungere ad essa solo questo, che ognuno deve tener presente la prospettiva della morte. E deve esser pronto a presentarsi davanti al Signore e al Giudice – e contemporaneamente Redentore e Padre. Allora anche io prendo in considerazione questo continuamente, affidando quel momento decisivo alla Madre di Cristo e della Chiesa – alla Madre della mia speranza.

Czasy, w których zyjemy, sa niewymownie trudne i niespokojne. Trudna takze i nabrzmiala wlasciwa dla tych czasów próba – stala sie droga Kosciola, zarówno Wiernych jak i Pasterzy. W niektórych krajach, (jak np. w tym, o którym czytalem w czasie rekolekcji), Kosciól znajduje sie w okresie takiego przesladowania, które w niczym nie ustepuje pierwszym stuleciom, raczej je przewyzsza co do stopnia bezwzglednosci i nienawisci. Sanguis Martyrum – semen Christianorum. A prócz tego – tylu ludzi ginie niewinnie, chocby i w tym kraju, w którym zyjemy...

I tempi, nei quali viviamo, sono indicibilmente difficili e inquieti. Difficile e tesa è diventata anche la via della Chiesa, prova caratteristica di questi tempi – tanto per i Fedeli, quanto per i Pastori. In alcuni Paesi (come p.e. in quello di cui ho letto durante gli esercizi spirituali), la Chiesa si trova in un periodo di persecuzione tale, da non essere inferiore a quelle dei primi secoli, anzi li supera per il grado della spietatezza e dell’odio. Sanguis martyrum – semen christianorum. E oltre questo – tante persone scompaiono innocentemente, anche in questo Paese in cui viviamo…

Pragne raz jeszcze calkowicie zdac sie na Wole Pana. On Sam zdecyduje, kiedy i jak mam zakonczyc moje ziemskie zycie i pasterzowanie. W zyciu i smierci Totus Tuus przez Niepokalana. Przyjmujac juz teraz te smierc, ufam, ze Chrystus da mi laske owego ostatniego Przejscia czyli Paschy. Ufam tez, ze uczyni ja pozyteczna dla tej najwiekszej sprawy, której staram sie sluzyc: dla zbawienia ludzi, dla ocalenia rodziny ludzkiej, a w niej wszystkich narodów i ludów (wsród nich serce w szczególny sposób sie zwraca do mojej ziemskiej Ojczyzny), dla osób, które szczególnie mi powierzyl – dla sprawy Kosciola, dla chwaly Boga Samego.

Niczego wiecej nie pragne dopisac do tego, co napisalem przed rokiem – tylko wyrazic owa gotowosc i ufnosc zarazem, do jakiej niniejsze rekolekcje ponownie mnie usposobily.

Jan Pawel pp. II

Desidero ancora una volta totalmente affidarmi alla grazia del Signore. Egli stesso deciderà quando e come devo finire la mia vita terrena e il ministero pastorale. Nella vita e nella morte Totus Tuus mediante l’Immacolata. Accettando già ora questa morte, spero che il Cristo mi dia la grazia per l’ultimo passaggio, cioè la [mia] Pasqua. Spero anche che la renda utile anche per questa più importante causa alla quale cerco di servire: la salvezza degli uomini, la salvaguardia della famiglia umana, e in essa di tutte le nazioni e dei popoli (tra essi mi rivolgo anche in modo particolare alla mia Patria terrena), utile per le persone che in modo particolare mi ha affidato, per la questione della Chiesa, per la gloria dello stesso Dio.

Non desidero aggiungere niente a quello che ho scritto un anno fa – solo esprimere questa prontezza e contemporaneamente questa fiducia, alla quale i presenti esercizi spirituali di nuovo mi hanno disposto.

Giovanni Paolo II



W ciagu tegorocznych rekolekcji przeczytalem (kilkakrotnie) tekst testamentu z 6.III.1979. Chociaz nadal uwazam go za prowizoryczny (nie ostateczny), pozostawiam go w tej formie, w jakiej istnieje. Niczego (na razie) nie zmieniam, ani tez niczego nie dodaje, gdy chodzi o dyspozycje w nim zawarte.

Zamach na moje zycie z 13.V.1981 w pewien sposób potwierdzil slusznosc slów zapisanych w czasie rekolekcji z 1980 r. (24.II – 1.III).

Tym glebiej czuje, ze znajduje sie calkowicie w Bozych Rekach – i pozostaje nadal do dyspozycji mojego Pana, powierzajac sie Mu w Jego Niepokalanej Matce (Totus Tuus).

Jan Pawel pp. II

* * *

Totus Tuus ego sum


Nel corso degli esercizi spirituali di quest’anno ho letto (più volte) il testo del testamento del 6.III.1979. Malgrado che tuttora lo consideri come provvisorio (non definitivo), lo lascio nella forma nella quale esiste. Non cambio (per ora) niente, e neppure aggiungo, per quanto riguarda le disposizioni in esso contenute.

L’attentato alla mia vita il 13.V.1981 in qualche modo ha confermato l’esattezza delle parole scritte nel periodo degli esercizi spirituali del 1980 (24.II – 1.III)

Tanto più profondamente sento che mi trovo totalmente nelle Mani di Dio – e resto continuamente a disposizione del mio Signore, affidandomi a Lui nella Sua Immacolata Madre (Totus Tuus)

Giovanni Paolo PP. II



Ps. W zwiazku z ostatnim zdaniem testamentu z 6.III.1979 (: O miejscu m.inn.pogrzebu) «niech zdecyduje Kolegium Kardynalskie i Rodacy» - wyjasniam, ze mam na mysli Metropolite Krakowskiego lub Rade Glówna Episkopatu Polski – Kolegium Kardynalskie zas prosze, aby ewentualnym prosbom w miare moznosci uczynili zadosc.



In connessione con l’ultima frase del mio testamento del 6.III 1979 (: "Sul luogo /il luogo cioè del funerale/ decida il Collegio Cardinalizio e i Connazionali") – chiarisco che ho in mente: il metropolita di Cracovia o il Consiglio Generale dell’Episcopato della Polonia – al Collegio Cardinalizio chiedo intanto di soddisfare in quanto possibile le eventuali domande dei su elencati.


1.III.1985 (w czasie rekolekcji):

Jeszcze – co do zwrotu «Kolegium Kardynalskie i Rodacy»: «Kolegium Kardynalskie» nie ma zadnego obowiazku pytac w tej sprawie «Rodaków», moze jednak to uczynic, jesli z jakichs powodów uzna za stosowne.



1.III.1985 (nel corso degli esercizi spirituali).

Ancora – per quanto riguarda l’espressione "Collegio Cardinalizio e i Connazionali": il "Collegio Cardinalizio" non ha nessun obbligo di interpellare su questo argomento "i Connazionali"; può tuttavia farlo, se per qualche motivo lo riterrà giusto.


Rekolekcje jubileuszowego roku 2000


(do testamentu)

1. Kiedy w dniu 16.pazdziernika 1978 konklawe kardynalów wybralo Jana Pawla II, Prymas Polski kard. Stefan Wyszynski powiedzial do mnie: «zadaniem nowego papieza bedzie wprowadzic Kosciól w Trzecie Tysiaclecie». Nie wiem, czy przytaczam to zdanie doslownie, ale taki z pewnoscia byl sens tego, co wówczas uslyszalem. Wypowiedzial je zas Czlowiek, który przeszedl do historii jako Prymas Tysiaclecia. Wielki Prymas. Bylem swiadkiem Jego poslannictwa, Jego heroicznego zawierzenia. Jego zmagan i Jego zwyciestwa. «Zwyciestwo, kiedy przyjdzie, bedzie to zwyciestwo przez Maryje» - zwykl byl powtarzac Prymas Tysiaclecia slowa swego Poprzednika kard. Augusta Hlonda.

Gli esercizi spirituali dell’anno giubilare 2000


[per il testamento]

1. Quando nel giorno 16 ottobre 1978 il conclave dei cardinali scelse Giovanni Paolo II, il Primate della Polonia Card. Stefan Wyszynski mi disse: "Il compito del nuovo papa sarà di introdurre la Chiesa nel Terzo Millennio". Non so se ripeto esattamente la frase, ma almeno tale era il senso di ciò che allora sentii. Lo disse l’Uomo che è passato alla storia come Primate del Millennio. Un grande Primate. Sono stato testimone della sua missione, del Suo totale affidamento. Delle Sue lotte: della Sua vittoria. "La vittoria, quando avverrà, sarà una vittoria mediante Maria" – queste parole del suo Predecessore, il card. August Hlond, soleva ripetere il Primate del Millennio.

W ten sposób zostalem poniekad przygotowany do zadania, które w dniu 16. pazdziernika 1978 r. stanelo przede mna. W chwili, kiedy pisze te slowa jubileuszowy Rok 2000 stal sie juz rzeczywistoscia, która trwa. W nocy 24 grudnia 1999 r. zostala otwarta symboliczna Brama Wielkiego Jubileuszu w Bazylice sw. Piotra, z kolei u sw. Jana na Lateranie, u Matki Bozej Wiekszej (S.Maria Maggiore) – w Nowy Rok, a w dniu 19 stycznia Brama Bazyliki sw. Pawla «za murami». To ostatnie wydarzenie ze wzgledu na swój ekumeniczny charakter szczególnie zapisalo sie w pamieci.

In questo modo sono stato in qualche maniera preparato al compito che il giorno 16 ottobre 1978 si è presentato davanti a me. Nel momento in cui scrivo queste parole, l’Anno giubilare del 2000 è già una realtà in atto. La notte del 24 dicembre 1999 è stata aperta la simbolica Porta del Grande Giubileo nella Basilica di San Pietro, in seguito quella di San Giovanni in Laterano, poi di Santa Maria Maggiore – a capodanno, e il giorno 19 gennaio la Porta della Basilica di San Paolo "fuori le mura". Quest’ultimo avvenimento, per via del suo carattere ecumenico, è restato impresso nella memoria in modo particolare.

2. W miare jak Rok Jubileuszowy 2000 posuwa sie naprzód, z dnia na dzien i z miesiaca na miesiac, zamyka sie za nami dwudziesty wiek, a otwiera wiek dwudziesty pierwszy. Z wyroków Opatrznosci dane mi bylo zyc w tym trudnym stuleciu, które odchodzi do przeszlosci, a w roku, w którym wiek mego zycia dosiega lat osiemdziesieciu («octogesima adveniens»), nalezy pytac, czy nie czas powtórzyc za biblijnym Symeonem «Nunc dimittis»?

2. A misura che l’Anno Giubilare 2000 va avanti, di giorno in giorno si chiude dietro di noi il secolo ventesimo e si apre il secolo ventunesimo. Secondo i disegni della Provvidenza mi è stato dato di vivere nel difficile secolo che se ne sta andando nel passato, e ora nell’anno in cui l’età della mia vita giunge agli anni ottanta ("octogesima adveniens"), bisogna domandarsi se non sia il tempo di ripetere con il biblico Simeone "Nunc dimittis".

W dniu 13. maja 1981 r., w dniu zamachu na Papieza podczas audiencji na placu sw. Piotra, Opatrznosc Boza w sposób cudowny ocalila mnie od smierci. Ten, który jest jedynym Panem Zycia i smierci, sam mi do zycie przedluzyl, niejako podarowal na nowo. Odtad ono jeszcze bardziej do Niego nalezy. Ufam, ze On Sam pozwoli mi rozpoznac, dokad mam pelnic te posluge, do której mnie wezwal w dniu 16.pazdziernika 1978. Prosze Go, azeby raczyl mnie odwolac wówczas, kiedy Sam zechce. «W zyciu i smierci do Pana nalezymy ... Panscy jestesmy» (por. Rz 14, 8). Ufam tez, ze dokad dane mi bedzie spelniac Piotrowa posluge w Kosciele, Milosierdzie Boze zechce uzyczac mi sil do tej poslugi nieodzownych.

Nel giorno del 13 maggio 1981, il giorno dell’attentato al Papa durante l’udienza generale in Piazza San Pietro, la Divina Provvidenza mi ha salvato in modo miracoloso dalla morte. Colui che è unico Signore della vita e della morte Lui stesso mi ha prolungato questa vita, in un certo modo me l’ha donata di nuovo. Da questo momento essa ancora di più appartiene a Lui. Spero che Egli mi aiuterà a riconoscere fino a quando devo continuare questo servizio, al quale mi ha chiamato nel giorno 16 ottobre 1978. Gli chiedo di volermi richiamare quando Egli stesso vorrà. "Nella vita e nella morte apparteniamo al Signore… siamo del Signore" (cf. Rm 14, 8). Spero anche che fino a quando mi sarà donato di compiere il servizio Petrino nella Chiesa, la Misericordia di Dio voglia prestarmi le forze necessarie per questo servizio.

3. Jak co roku podczas rekolekcji odczytalem mój testament z dnia 6.III.1979. Dyspozycje w nim zawarte w dalszym ciagu podtrzymuje. To, co wówczas a takze w czasie kolejnych rekolekcji zostalo dopisane, stanowi odzwierciedlenie trudnej i napietej sytuacji ogólnej, która cechowala lata osiemdziesiate. Od jesieni roku 1989 sytuacja ta ulegla zmianie. Ostatnie dziesieciolecie ubieglego stulecia wolne bylo od dawniejszych napiec, co nie znaczy, ze nie przynioslo z soba nowych problemów i trudnosci. Niech beda dzieki Bozej Opatrznosci w sposób szczególny za to, ze okres tzw. «zimnej wojny» zakonczyl sie bez zbrojnego konfliktu nuklearnego, którego niebezpieczenstwo w minionym okresie wisialo nad swiatem.

3. Come ogni anno durante gli esercizi spirituali ho letto il mio testamento del 6.III.1979. Continuo a mantenere le disposizioni contenute in esso. Quello che allora, e anche durante i successivi esercizi spirituali è stato aggiunto costituisce un riflesso della difficile e tesa situazione generale, che ha marcato gli anni ottanta. Dall’autunno dell’anno 1989 questa situazione è cambiata. L’ultimo decennio del secolo passato è stato libero dalle precedenti tensioni; ciò non significa che non abbia portato con sé nuovi problemi e difficoltà. In modo particolare sia lode alla Provvidenza Divina per questo, che il periodo della così detta "guerra fredda" è finito senza il violento conflitto nucleare, di cui pesava sul mondo il pericolo nel periodo precedente.

4. Stojac na progu trzeciego tysiaclecia «in medio Ecclesiae», pragne raz jeszcze wyrazic wdziecznosc Duchowi Swietemu za wielki dar Soboru Watykanskiego II, którego wraz z calym Kosciolem – a w szczególnosci z calym Episkopatem – czuje sie dluznikiem. Jestem przekonany, ze dlugo jeszcze dane bedzie nowym pokoleniom czerpac z tych bogactw, jakimi ten Sobór XX wieku nas obdarowal. Jako Biskup, który uczestniczyl w soborowym wydarzeniu od pierwszego do ostatniego dnia, pragne powierzyc to wielkie dziedzictwo wszystkim, którzy do jego realizacji sa i beda w przyszlosci powolani. Sam zas dziekuje Wiecznemu Pasterzowi za to, ze pozwolil mi tej wielkiej sprawie sluzyc w ciagu wszystkich lat mego pontyfikatu.

4. Stando sulla soglia del terzo millennio "in medio Ecclesiae", desidero ancora una volta esprimere gratitudine allo Spirito Santo per il grande dono del Concilio Vaticano II, al quale insieme con l’intera Chiesa – e soprattutto con l’intero episcopato – mi sento debitore. Sono convinto che ancora a lungo sarà dato alle nuove generazioni di attingere alle ricchezze che questo Concilio del XX secolo ci ha elargito. Come vescovo che ha partecipato all’evento conciliare dal primo all’ultimo giorno, desidero affidare questo grande patrimonio a tutti coloro che sono e saranno in futuro chiamati a realizzarlo. Per parte mia ringrazio l’eterno Pastore che mi ha permesso di servire questa grandissima causa nel corso di tutti gli anni del mio pontificato.

«In medio Ecclesiae» ... od najmlodszych lat biskupiego powolania – wlasnie dzieki Soborowi – dane mi bylo doswiadczyc braterskiej wspólnoty Episkopatu. Jako kaplan Archidiecezji Krakowskiej doswiadczylem, czym jest braterska wspólnota prezbyterium – Sobór zas otworzyl nowy wymiar tego doswiadczenia.

"In medio Ecclesiae"… dai primi anni del servizio vescovile – appunto grazie al Concilio – mi è stato dato di sperimentare la fraterna comunione dell’Episcopato. Come sacerdote dell’Arcidiocesi di Cracovia avevo sperimentato che cosa fosse la fraterna comunione del presbiterio – il Concilio ha aperto una nuova dimensione di questa esperienza.

5. Ilez osób winien bym tutaj wymienic? Chyba juz wiekszosc z nich Pan Bóg powolal do Siebie – Tych, którzy jeszcze znajduja sie po tej stronie, niech slowa tego testamentu przypomna, wszystkich i wszedzie, gdziekolwiek sie znajduja.

5. Quante persone dovrei qui elencare! Probabilmente il Signore Dio ha chiamato a Sé la maggioranza di esse – quanto a coloro che ancora si trovano da questa parte, le parole di questo testamento li ricordino, tutti e dappertutto, dovunque si trovino.

W ciagu dwudziestu z góra lat spelniania Piotrowej poslugi «in medio Ecclesiae» doznalem zyczliwej i jakze owocnej wspólpracy wielu Ksiezy Kardynalów, Arcybiskupów i Biskupów, wielu kaplanów, wielu osób zakonnych – Braci i Sióstr – wreszcie bardzo wielu osób swieckich, ze srodowiska kurialnego, ze strony wikariatu Diecezji Rzymskiej oraz spoza tych srodowisk.

Nel corso di più di vent’anni da cui svolgo il servizio Petrino "in medio Ecclesiae" ho sperimentato la benevola e quanto mai feconda collaborazione di tanti Cardinali, Arcivescovi e Vescovi, tanti sacerdoti, tante persone consacrate – Fratelli e Sorelle – infine di tantissime persone laiche, nell’ambiente curiale, nel Vicariato della Diocesi di Roma, nonché fuori di questi ambienti.

Jakze nie ogarnac wdzieczna pamiecia wszystkich na swiecie Episkopatów, z którymi spotykalem sie w rytmie odwiedzin «ad limina Apostolorum»? Jakze nie pamietac tylu Braci chrzescijan – nie katolików? A rabina Rzymu? i tylu innych przedstawicieli religii pozachrzescijanskich? A ilu przedstawicieli swiata kultury, nauki, polityki, srodków przekazu?

Come non abbracciare con grata memoria tutti gli Episcopati nel mondo, con i quali mi sono incontrato nel succedersi delle visite "ad limina Apostolorum"! Come non ricordare anche tanti Fratelli cristiani – non cattolici! E il rabbino di Roma e così numerosi rappresentanti delle religioni non cristiane! E quanti rappresentanti del mondo della cultura, della scienza, della politica, dei mezzi di comunicazione sociale!

6. W miare, jak zbliza sie kres mego ziemskiego zycia, wracam pamiecia do jego poczatku, do moich Rodziców, Brata i Siostry (której nie znalem, bo zmarla przed moim narodzeniem), do wadowickiej parafii, gdzie zostalem ochrzczony, do tego miasta mojej mlodosci, do rówiesników, kolezanek i kolegów ze szkoly podstawowej, z gimnazjum, z uniwersytetu, do czasów okupacji, gdy pracowalem jako robotnik, a potem do parafii w Niegowici, i krakowskiej sw. Floriana, do duszpasterstwa akademickiego, do srodowiska ... do wielu srodowisk ... w Krakowie, w Rzymie ... do osób, które Pan mi szczególnie powierzyl –

wszystkim pragne powiedziec jedno: «Bóg Wam zaplac»!

«In manus Tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum meum».



6. A misura che si avvicina il limite della mia vita terrena ritorno con la memoria all’inizio, ai miei Genitori, al Fratello e alla Sorella (che non ho conosciuto, perché morì prima della mia nascita), alla parrocchia di Wadowice, dove sono stato battezzato, a quella città del mio amore, ai coetanei, compagne e compagni della scuola elementare, del ginnasio, dell’università, fino ai tempi dell’occupazione, quando lavorai come operaio, e in seguito alla parrocchia di Niegowie, a quella cracoviana di S. Floriano, alla pastorale degli accademici, all’ambiente… a tutti gli ambienti… a Cracovia e a Roma… alle persone che in modo speciale mi sono state affidate dal Signore.

A tutti voglio dire uno sola cosa: "Dio vi ricompensi"

"In manus Tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum meum"



updated Saturday 21-Jul-2007 20:02 UT
Previous updates:
v.5.40 Sunday 08-May-2005 20:41 UT
Thursday 24-Feb-2005 15:55 UT

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