Former pope's letters suggest female friend may have been in love with him

WARSAW, Poland -- Hundreds of letters that the Polish Cardinal who later became Pope John Paul II wrote to a woman philosopher document a "difficult" and "courageous" friendship of 32 years and suggest she could have been in love with the Catholic Church leader, the head of Poland's National Library said Tuesday.

See Full Article

The library bought the letters via Sotheby's for a "seven-digit" amount in 2008 from the woman, Polish-born American thinker Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka, and is planning to publish them in coming years.

The head of the library, Tomasz Makowski, told The Associated Press that the letters were written by Cardinal Karol Wojtyla who later became pope, from 1973 until shortly before his 2005 death. He said they hint that Tymieniecka, who died in 2014 aged 91, might have been in love with him, but he kept their relationship on a purely friendly and intellectual level.

Wojtyla, who lost his mother at the age of eight, and then his older brother and father by the age of 21, was open to people and cultivated friendships with dedication and care.

Makowski said he has read "every page" of the purchased file that also includes a "priceless" working copy of Wojtyla's book that Tymieniecka edited for an English-language edition, with his hand-written remarks. They first met in 1973 when Tymieniecka proposed to edit his "Person and Act" philosophical work, and the long collaboration and exchange of views grew into a friendship. It temporarily grew sour over the editing when she rushed the book, titled by her "The Acting Person," to publishers after Wojtyla was elected pope in 1978, but was later rekindled.

"When I read the letters I thought it was a difficult friendship, for many reasons, and a very courageous one because John Paul II was one of the very first high church officials who were not afraid to co-operate with women," Makowski said, noting they both had very strong characters.

In every letter John Paul assured Tymieniecka he was praying for her and was thinking about her family and her problems, and also asked about her husband and her three children.

"These are letters of a true, concerned friend," Makowski said. "But he wrote such letters to many other people, too."

"The question is: was Tymieniecka in love with Wojtyla? I don't know, but it is very probable," he said.

"She was a philosopher. Let us not reduce her only to the level of a person in love," he said. "She could have also been simply fascinated by John Paul II's mind."

The AP saw two handwritten letters -- one referring to the time Cardinal Wojtyla and his secretary, Father Stanislaw Dziwisz, spent with her family in the summer of 1976 at the family's vacation cottage in Pomfret, Vermont, the other one about philosophy.

Makowski says the library doesn't have Tymieniecka's letters to Wojtyla.

In 2014, the year when John Paul II was announced a saint, Dziwisz said that letters in his possession had been burned, in line with the late pontiff's last will.


Latest Canada & World News

  • 'A historic moment': Montreal massacre survivor joins Washington rally

    Canada News CTV News
    It’s been more than 28 years since a gunman stormed Montreal’s École Polytechnique, killing 14 women in the deadliest mass shooting in Canadian history. Another 14 people were injured in the massacre, including Nathalie Provost, who sustained four gunshot wounds, including one to the forehead. Source
  • 'I will vote you out': Teens vow to shake up U.S. politics at gun control rallies

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- Kat Schamel did not vote in the last American election, because her 18th birthday happened to fall on Nov. 9, 2016, one day after Donald Trump was elected president of the United States. Source
  • Car bomb in coastal Egyptian city kills 2 police

    World News CTV News
    CAIRO -- A bomb placed under a nearby car exploded Saturday in the coastal city of Alexandria as the city security chief's convoy passed by, killing two policemen and wounding four others, the Interior Ministry said. Source
  • Accused Austin bomber called himself a 'psychopath': congressman

    World News CTV News
    AUSTIN, Texas - A congressman says the suspected Austin bomber left a confession calling himself a "psychopath" and saying he felt no remorse for his actions. Rep. Michael McCaul made the comments at a news conference Saturday, where he thanked law enforcement officials for stopping the deadly three-week bombing spree that terrorized the capital of Texas. Source
  • The road map and road blocks of Trump's transgender troops ban explained

    World News CBC News
    U.S. President Donald Trump has issued an order supporting his push to ban most transgender troops from serving in the U.S. military except under "limited circumstances." But the decision is expected to be the subject of an ongoing legal fight in the months ahead. Source
  • Nigerian police: Boko Haram to free 1 more kidnapped girl

    World News CTV News
    MAIDUGURI, Nigeria -- Nigeria's police chief says another girl who was abducted from a school in Dapchi last month is being brought back by her kidnappers. Police Inspector General Muhammed Abubakar said Saturday that he cancelled a trip to Dapchi to avoid interfering with the release. Source
  • Quebec doctors protest their own raises, call for improved patient accessibility

    Canada News CBC News
    When Lashanda Skerritt decided to go to medical school, money was far from being the first thing on her mind — she wanted to serve the population. She is among hundreds of health care workers, patients and community groups who marched in protest of raises for doctors in the province. Source
  • New Brunswick man reaches halfway point of 3,000-kilometre dog sled trek

    Canada News CTV News
    A New Brunswick man making a 3,000-kilometre dog sled trek from Manitoba to his home province says the journey thus far has been "a mix of beauty and terror." Justin Allen and his 12 Alaskan huskies left Churchill, Man. Source
  • 'A revolving door': Neighbours angry about Burnaby B.C. home operating as 9-bedroom hotel

    Canada News CTV News
    A multi-million dollar Burnaby, B.C. home that was advertising nine rooms on short-term rental sites like Airbnb and has neighbours calling on municipal authorities to shut down the de-facto hotel. The house was bought for $2.65 million last September. Source
  • Anti-pipeline protests continue in Burnaby, B.C.

    Canada News CTV News
    BURNABY, B.C. -- Anti-pipeline protesters are continuing to demonstrate near Kinder Morgan's terminal in Burnaby, B.C., today. Dozens of people followed Indigenous leaders in a march toward a gate to the Burnaby Terminal, with organizers saying more than 70 of them were prepared to be arrested. Source