John Paul II: Claim of 'improper relations' denied

2016-02-15 19:55


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Warsaw - Poland's national library on Monday said there was "no basis" for suggestions that pope John Paul II had improper relations with a married woman, after a BBC documentary, based on letters from its archives, detailed their "intense" 30-year friendship.

While the report does not claim the late pontiff broke his vow of celibacy with Polish-born philosopher Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka, it does say that the tone of some of his letters to her point to intense feelings between them.

But the library said its documents did not point to anything improper in their relationship.

"The statements made in the media have no basis in the content of the letters of John Paul II to Anna Teresa Tymieniecka which are in the National Library of Poland's archives," it said in a statement on Monday ahead of the programme's broadcast.

"John Paul II was surrounded by a circle of friends - including clergymen, nuns and laypeople - with whom he stayed in close contact.

"Anna Teresa Tymieniecka was within this circle of friends - John Paul II's friendship with her was neither secret nor extraordinary."

But a close associate of John Paul II said it was "possible" that a married woman had fallen in love with him before he became head of the Roman Catholic church.

"Women fall in love with priests all the time, and it's always a big headache," Father Adam Boniecki, editor-in-chief of the progressive Tygodnik Powszechny Catholic weekly, told AFP.

"If she was in love with Wojtyla, she was most likely not alone," said Boniecki, himself the author of a detailed account of the pope-turned-saint's life.

Tymieniecka "translated Karol Wojtyla's books into English, making his work known to US academics... but her translations caused tension between the two", Boniecki told AFP.

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 they were more than friends, but less than lovers," he said.

Read more on:    poland  |  religion

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.