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

  • China's Xi seeks to enforce will at Communist Party meeting

    World News CTV News
    BEIJING -- Having punished more than a million Communist Party members for corruption, Chinese President Xi Jinping will use a key meeting that started Monday to drive home the message that his signature anti-graft campaign is far from done and his authority remains undiminished. Source
  • 5 dead in wrong-way crash on Massachusetts highway

    World News CTV News
    MIDDLEBOROUGH, Mass. - State police say five people have died in a wrong-way crash on a Massachusetts highway. Officials say the preliminary investigation indicates that a vehicle travelling south on the northbound side of Interstate 495 in Middleborough struck a vehicle heading in the correct direction early Monday morning. Source
  • 'Enough is enough': Tori Stafford's dad demands justice

    Canada News CTV News
    The father of murdered eight-year-old Victoria Stafford says he will be in court Monday, when a lawyer for the man convicted of killing his daughter, Michael Rafferty, asks the Ontario Court of Appeal for another trial. Source
  • France starts clearing 'jungle' refugee camp

    World News CBC News
    They began lining up outside the bunkers earmarked for registration in the dark hours before dawn. Hundreds of young men from Sudan, Eritrea, Somalia shivering in the cold, bundled up against it; they dragged big-checkered plastic bags behind them. Source
  • France destroying Calais migrant camp known as ‘the jungle’, thousands evacuated

    World News Toronto Sun
    CALAIS, France — Lines of migrants with their lives in small bags waited calmly to get on buses in the French port city of Calais on Monday, the first day of the mass evacuation and destruction of the squalid camp they called home. Source
  • Edmonton mother wants more supervision on school buses after her son was dropped off 24 blocks from daycare

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    An Edmonton mother wants an apology and more supervision on school buses after a driver let her kindergartner off nearly four kilometres from his daycare. Simone Cardinal and her older son Skyler were attending a funeral in Maskwacis last Monday when her younger son's daycare centre called to say the five-year-old never arrived after school. Source
  • Bad medicine

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott should be specific about changes she'd like to see in Canada's beleaguered medicare system instead of misleading the public about how the provinces may be squandering federal health care dollars. The federal Liberal line on health care these days is that Ottawa is not sure all the new money it's giving the provinces for health care is actually being spent on medical services. Source
  • University groups try to stave off offensive costumes in lead-up to Halloween

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    TORONTO - Geishas are out. Feathered headdresses are forbidden. And if you’re planning to wear a Bill Cosby or Caitlyn Jenner costume, you may not be welcome at your Halloween party of choice. A growing number of institutions are starting to take a more proactive approach to potentially offensive outfits by developing strategies and even explicit policies to prevent people from donning controversial getups. Source
  • Developers gone wild? Toronto landmarks targeted with prank proposals

    Canada News CTV News
    Sure, Toronto's CN Tower is iconic. But wouldn't it look better with a 40-storey residential tower sticking out of the observation deck? And surely it's time for the city's century-old Casa Loma to remodel, so why not add a 30-storey tower onto one side? Source
  • Belfast bakery loses appeal over refusal of gay-rights cake

    World News CTV News
    BELFAST, Ireland -- A Belfast bakery has lost its appeal against a 2015 court ruling that the business discriminated against a homosexual customer by refusing to bake a cake bearing the message "support gay marriage. Source