This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
OK
Dublin: 5 °C Monday 18 November, 2019
Advertisement

BBC doc claims John Paul II had 'intense friendship' with married woman

His letters point to intense feelings between the pontiff and the Polish writer.

Image: Associated Press

POPE JOHN PAUL II had a close relationship with a married woman which lasted over 30 years, according to letters which feature in a documentary being shown by the BBC tonight. 

While the documentary does not claim he broke his vow of celibacy with Polish-born philosopher and writer Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka, the tone of some of his letters to her points to intense feelings between them, the broadcaster says.

The two spent camping and skiing holidays together and went on country walks.

In one letter from September 1976, he calls her a “gift from God”.

“My dear Teresa,” he writes. “You write about being torn apart, but I could find no answer to these words.”

Also in September 1976, he writes:

Already last year I was looking for an answer to these words, ‘I belong to you’, and finally, before leaving Poland, I found a way – a scapular.

A scapular is a piece of cloth worn as part of the habit of monastic orders and the then Cardinal Karol Wojtyla gave Tymieniecka his.

“The dimension in which I accept and feel you everywhere in all kinds of situations, when you are close, and when you are far away,” he adds.

350 letters 

Edward Stourton, the senior BBC journalist who made the documentary, said more than 350 letters were found at the National Library of Poland, the first dated in 1973 and the last a few months before his death in 2005.

“I would say there were more than friends but less than lovers,” he said.

One of the fascinating stories that comes out of these letters is of a struggle to contain what was certainly a very intense relationship which mixed emotions and philosophical ideas in proper Christian boundaries.

The BBC has only seen John Paul II’s letters, not Tymieniecka’s side of the correspondence. She died in 2014.

John Paul II was pope from 1978 to 2005 and was made a saint by the Catholic Church after his death.

© – AFP 2016

Read: Viola Beach investigation: Police examine car as probe into indie band’s death begins

Read: Australian police seize €637 million of meth stuffed inside bra inserts

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article
  •  

About the author:

AFP

Read next:

COMMENTS (111)