22 January 2014, The Tablet

Polish anger at publication of the diaries John Paul II wanted burned

Private notes and diaries belonging to Pope John Paul II are to be published in Poland, despite a specification in his final will that they should be burned by his former secretary, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz of Krakow.

The chairman of the southern city’s Catholic Znak publishing house, Henryk Wozniakowski, told journalists the 640-page collection, “I am very much in God's hands”, would hit bookshops nationwide on 5 February in a cheap £9 edition.

The decision to edit and publish the material, covering the years 1962-2003, was defended by Cardinal Dziwisz, who said he had rejected the Pope’s request to destroy it because it provided “a key to understanding his spirituality” and what was “most internal within a person – his relationship with God, to others and to himself”.

But the move has been widely criticised in Poland as an act of disloyalty towards the late Pope, who died in April 2005.

Anna Romejko, a theologian at the Catholic University of Lublin, said she was disappointed by Cardinal Dziwisz’s apparent disregard for the wishes of the Pope, who is to be proclaimed a saint in Rome on 27 April.

She added that John Paul II’s way of experiencing the faith were already amply covered by the “huge spiritual inheritance” in his other writings.

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