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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Cardinal Dziwisz Recalls Papal Journey that Brought Down Communism

From Catholic World News

Thirty years to the day after Pope John Paul II (bio - news) concluded his first apostolic journey to Poland-- a journey that marked the beginning of the end of Communism in Eastern Europe-- the June 10 edition of L’Osservatore Romano published a translation of a recent Polish interview with Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz of Krakow, the Pontiff’s personal secretary, who called the pilgrimage Pope John Paul’s most important trip.

The Polish authorities, Cardinal Dziwisz recounted, had blocked a visit of Pope Paul VI to Poland. When the anti-clerical Mexican government invited Pope John Paul to visit Mexico, the Pope “intuitively” realized that the Polish Communist authorities could not prevent a papal pilgrimage, which would be timed to commemorate the 900th anniversary of the death of St. Stanislaus in 1979. In negotiations conducted through the late Archbishop Bronislaw Dabrowski, the Pontiff accepted the government’s restrictions on the areas he could visit, as well as the government’s demand that his visit not take place in May-- the month in which the 900th anniversary took place.

Pope John Paul quickly wrote all of the speeches and homilies by himself, with the Polish section of the Secretariat of State limited to the role of providing citations. Cardinal Dziwisz added that Pope John Paul decisively reversed the previous Vatican policy of Ostpolitik, for he was “convinced that the future did not belong either to Marxism or to the class struggle.” Thus the Pontiff opposed liberation theology’s attempts “to include Marxist analysis in the social doctrine of the Church.”

Cardinal Dziwisz traced the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe to June 3, 1979, during the Pope’s homily in the Cathedral of Gniezno, in which he emphasized the “spiritual unity of Christian Europe,” West and East. After the papal visit, Poland was never the same: freed from fear, the Polish people founded the Solidarity movement.

The road from the 1979 papal visit to the historic events of 1989 was not a smooth one. Following the 1981 imposition of martial law in Poland, President Ronald Reagan personally called Pope John Paul to tell him that the Soviets would not invade Poland.

As the interview drew to close, Cardinal Dziwisz said that the late Pontiff’s canonization process is going “very well.” He concluded by recounting Pope John Paul’s exorcism of a young woman following a general audience. Recalling that he “felt the voice with which it [the demon] screamed,” Cardinal Dziwisz emphasized, “Satan exists.”

1 comment:

HP said...


Have you seen this video on the "split" Catholic church? -- Video ID 1763

For some reason, my copy and paste function doesn't work on your site. I got the video via e-mail.

Which Catholic church indeed!