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Friday, February 7, 2014

When a Cardinal Betrays a Pope

Upon the death of Pope John Paul II, his secretary, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz was entrusted with the duty of burning ALL Pope John Paul II’s personal notes.  This was JPII’s final request and written in his will that the writings be burned upon his death.

Unfortunately, Cardinal Dziwisz (now Archbishop of Krakow) decided he would not honor the late Pope’s final Will and Testament and instead has decided on his own to publish a book (“I Am Very Much In God’s Hands”) using the beloved late Pope’s personal and private notes. The book was published this week (Feb.5, 2014) in Poland.  

The Cardinal seems to have no qualms about denying Pope John Paul II’s final wishes and excuses his actions by saying “he didn’t have the courage” to follow the Pope’s final request of him.

Cardinal Dziwisz has taken it upon himself to decide that he knows better than the author of the notes, deciding that the world should witness the thoughts and private journal writings of Pope John Paul II.

“In writing his will, the Holy Father knew he was entrusting these notebooks to someone who would treat them responsibly,” Cardinal Dziwisz said at a news conference in Krakow on Jan. 22. “I had no doubt these were such important items, testifying to the spirituality of a great pope, that it would be a crime to destroy them.”

Wrong Cardinal!  The Holy Father was entrusting YOU to BURN the items, not publish them.  His will was specific and you betrayed him his dying wishes.

It would be “crime” in his opinion, but in Pope John Paul II’s opinion it would be a betrayal NOT to burn them as he (JPII) requested.  The Pope did NOT want these writings published and his request SHOULD be honored, not published and made a profit off of.

I understand the DESIRE to keep something the Cardinal (and others) would view as “important items” from the late Pope, but when does their desire trump a Pope’s final death wishes?

Personally, I think this is wrong, even though I myself would love to know what Pope John Paul II had to say. I would put aside MY desire to honor HIS desire, as I think this Cardinal SHOULD have done.

Why didn’t the Vatican step in and put a stop to this?

Will ANY Pope’s final requests in the future be honored if we have Cardinals betraying them like Cardinal Dziwisz is betraying JPII now?

How can ANY Pope trust that his final wishes will be carried out if the Vatican allows this book to be published?

Other Catholic clergy have voiced their displeasure in this Cardinal’s actions…

“In European culture, a final will is always binding, as long as its realization isn’t against the law and morality,” Father Isakowicz-Zaleski told TVN, a Polish television broadcaster. “This is required not just by legal statutes and good manners, but also by respect for the dead. This public act of disobedience is a form of anti-witness, and can’t be justified by any explanation that it’s for the good of the church. Does a clergyman serving as a secretary know better than St. Peter’s successor?

As the grossly overused term “slippery slope” comes to mind I really have to again wonder WHY the Vatican would allow this to happen.  I think it’s sad.

What do you think?  Should the Cardinal have written this book and betrayed the Pope’s final wishes or is it too much a “treasure” to be burned as the Pope requested?  And should the Vatican have stepped in and stopped this book from being published?

What are your thoughts?  Would/will YOU read the book?

In Christ,

Julie @ Connecticut Catholic Corner


  1. Absolutely should not be allowed. The Pope said burn, not publish...but if he didn't listen to JPII...disobedience is but a symptom of a larger problem

  2. I agree with you Joe, it is a matter of obedience and this Cardinal has failed to obey his Pope's final wishes.
    Thanks for sharing your views.

    In Christ,

    Julie @ Connecticut Catholic Corner

  3. Cardinal Dziwisz is guilty of the same sin committed by Saul in I Samuel when he did not slaughter the captured livestock as ordered but kept it for the ostensible purpose of offering sacrifises to God. Samuel likens Saul's sin unto witchcraft and idolatry. The laity of Krakow and/or the civil leaders will probably not demand his removal, or depose him, as they should. The only thing we can do is refuse to purchase, or read the book. To do so after knowing the circumstances of its publication makes us active participants in the sin of Cardinal Dziwisz, and we should encourage others to do the same for the sake of their souls. We should also pray hard for the Cardinal's soul. Contrary to Fr Robert Barron's recent preaching of the Balthasarian heresy, many will be damned. Holy Mother Church, through the doctors and saints of the Church teaches that the clergy and prelates of the Church are in greater danger of damnation and will be punished more severely in Hell than other mortals and until Cardinal Dziwisz publicly acknowledges and repents of this sin and scandal, we have no other logical conclusion to reach other than that he remains unrepentant. Holy Mary, pray for your beloved son, Cardinal Dziwisz, and all us poor sinners!

  4. My apologies, my textual reference was incomplete. The passage is I Samuel 15.

    Also, I just had a thought, it might be interesting for members of the laity (and/or the clergy) to organise a public display of solidarity with the late Holy Father in which we burn large piles of this book as a witness of support for his last wishes. I'd say that's probably the only way that buying a copy would not be sinful.

  5. Excellent points Mowery!

    Personally, I won't buy the book or read it. I think if sales are high on this book, more Cardinals in the future will ignore Popes' wishes and publish anything they want after a pope is dead. I say, don't read it or buy it-even for the purpose of burning it. JMO

    Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to share your thoughts.

    In Christ,

    Julie @ Connecticut Catholic Corner

  6. Personally, the first thing that came to my mind when I heard that he was publishing his personal notes was that he was trying to slow down or stop JPII's canonization process--or at least evoke an investigation.

    John Paul II, before he became pope, wrote and commented much at the Second Vatican Council that would make your heart drop and stomach become queasy. The lauding and praising of the heretics of the day isn't the worst.

    Since the canonization is not being met with an investigation, at all, many see the decision as imprudent for the Church to make without "Devil's advocate." These things are handled carefully for a reason, one being to save the Church possible future embarrassment.

    A Saint is someone who is to be imitated. Their life after their conversion is what is held to scrutiny (Devil's advocate). What are we to think of John Paul II's life? Are we to applaud his pulling all religions together for days of prayer, advancing irreligion and pluralism? Is that something to be imitated?

    A quick reading of Mortalium Animos tells us that anyone who endeavors in these "religious assemblies" is doing so unlawfully, and is tantamount to abandoning the true revealed religion of God.

    Mortalium Animos
    Paragraph 2) "A similar object is aimed at by some, in those matters which concern the New Law promulgated by Christ our Lord. For since they hold it for certain that men destitute of all religious sense are very rarely to be found, they seem to have founded on that belief a hope that the nations, although they differ among themselves in certain religious matters, will without much difficulty come to agree as brethren in professing certain doctrines, which form as it were a common basis of the spiritual life. For which reason conventions, meetings and addresses are frequently arranged by these persons, at which a large number of listeners are present, and at which all without distinction are invited to join in the discussion, both infidels of every kind, and Christians, even those who have unhappily fallen away from Christ or who with obstinacy and pertinacity deny His divine nature and mission. Certainly such attempts can nowise be approved by Catholics, founded as they are on that false opinion which considers all religions to be more or less good and praiseworthy, since they all in different ways manifest and signify that sense which is inborn in us all, and by which we are led to God and to the obedient acknowledgment of His rule. Not only are those who hold this opinion in error and deceived, but also in distorting the idea of true religion they reject it, and little by little turn aside to naturalism and atheism, as it is called; from which it clearly follows that one who supports those who hold these theories and attempt to realize them, is altogether abandoning the divinely revealed religion."

    So that's my take on it. I'm probably totally wrong that the Cardinal released his writings to call conjure up an investigation. Although that's where my mind went when I first heard of this.

  7. No one should know the private thoughts and feelings of anyone without their expressed written permission. The Cardinal had the expressed written mandate to BURN the private notes and writings of the late Pope JPII.

    When I first heard about the rumor (at first that is what i thought it was) that JPII privately in his meditation and devotion performed self-flagellation, I held my head down in sorrow.

    Here this beloved Pope entrusted his personal thoughts, feelings, ideas, and even personal notes on his meditations, to a Cardinal, a man of God, a person sworn to obey his Pope, to do what he asked an burn all these note. To be betrayed in this way, I can only think that JPII's final wishes were denied because one man, sworn to obey his Pope, violated that trust and disobeyed his final wishes.

    The best thing that could happen now is that every Catholic (not just Roman) from around the world do the honorable thing and boycott this book. Any profit from this horrendous book is nothing but ill-gotten gain. I am so saddened, but then again not surprised, considering the troubles the church has seen recently (sex abuse scandals, money laundering at Vatican bank, etc.). Does anyone still keep their vows anymore? Does anyone keep their promises anymore?

    I thank God that the Holy Spirit saw the need to rebuild the church and called Pope Francis. He's cleaned up the bank and put in int the hands of laity, he has begun to thin out the bureaucracy at Vatican and send able priest and Cardinals into the field to tend flocks, and he has even brought to the papacy a sense of humbleness and piety that has not been seen since John XXIII.

    Who will teach our children what it means to keep a promise? My heart is saddened and I am dismayed. I pray for the Cardinal that his heart will open and he will realize the grave misuse of his authority he has done in not fulfilling the Pope's final wishes. I also pray that good Francis, Bishop of Rome, will intervene and stop this book and order the notes burned to keep the late JPII's wishes.

    Bro Jeff

  8. I'd read the book just to see why JPII wanted it burned. I do not think it's such a big deal preserving and publishing the private notes, even if it is a money-grab. Happens all the time. Mother Teresa's private letters were published. Is it different if its a Pope? I think not. Other saints had the exact same thing happen to them, and it only serves to enrich our appreciation of them. Including the destruction of these materials in his will is little more than a vain attempt to stop the rain, prevent the inevitable. Not that big a deal...unless it includes the betrayal of State secrets like Edward Snowden did, but then, what State secrets does the Vatican have?

  9. Oh, I like this site. I wish we had one like this in NJ. hey, Mowery you be quick to accuse of sin...double check that. And Bro. are we going back to book burning? I don't think so.

  10. Hello Mortimer!

    The difference in the case of JPII's writings is that he ASKED his secretary to burn them AND he followed up that request by making it part of his Last Will and Testament. A person's Will SHOULD be honored and it was not in this case.

    To my knowledge Mother Teresa had made no such request or put in her Will for any of her items to be burned upon her death. JPII was very specific in what he wanted done with his private writings.

    Thanks for stopping by!!

    In Christ,

    Julie @ Connecticut Catholic Corner

  11. Well said Brother Jeff!!

    I completely agree with you about boycotting the book.

    Thank you for sharing all of that.

    In Christ,

    Julie @ Connecticut Catholic Corner

  12. Hello Daniel Brooks and thank you for sharing a very different take on this situation.

    I welcome your thoughts.

    In Christ,

    Julie @ Connecticut Catholic Corner

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. ​​Mr Zilch:

    1. I'll break this down for you:
    a. Pope John Paul II stipulated in his will that all his personal notes were to be burned.
    b. This responsibility was assigned to Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz by the same order that stipulated that said notes be burned.
    c. Cardinal Dziwisz has publicly stated that he did not carry out that order.
    d. A failure or a refusal to obey rules or someone in authority, or, in this case, a direct order, is disobedience.
    e. Sacred Scripture condemns disobedience of a just, lawful order by a just lawful authority​[​1​]​ as sin and in I Samuel 15 goes so far as to condemn it as worse than witchcraft and idolaters​[​2​]​.
    f. Ergo, Cardinal Dziwisz committed a private sin which he later made public when he published the notes and publicly admitted that he had been ordered otherwise.
    ​[​1​]​ An obvious exception to this the the disobedience of an unjust law as per St Augustine and St Thomas Aquinas 'an unjust law is no law'. From Sacred Scripture, we have the example of the Hebrew midwives who disobeyed the Pharaoh's order to put the newborn Hebrew boys to death. From the lives of the saints, we have St Eulogius of Córdoba who was martyred for resisting his bishop's collaboration with the Muslim persecution of the Church in Spain.
    ​[​2​]​ At the time this passage was written, witchcraft and idolatry were capital crimes. An exception was obviously made for Saul, though in the long run, I would argue he suffered a greater punishment for his sin.

    2. In regard to book burning: you need to reread what I said. I suggested that it would be interesting for some of the laity to burn copies of the book as a show of solidarity with the late pope. I didn't suggest people go do it (though I'm certainly not opposed to it). I made the statement largely to be provocative. Should we bring back book burning? Probably. We could start with the works of Hans Kung. It won't happen though. The vast majority of the current hierarchy is too feminised and spineless (primarily due to the infiltration of sodomites and pederasts) and spend most of their time hobnobbing with the rich and powerful like a troupe of modern-day Sadducees. Any time a priest or a bishop does try to stand up for the faith, he's either attacked by his fellow clerics and/or thrown under the bus by his superiors, or they step back and let the wolves of the world devour him and are complicit by their silence. So, I agree with you, I don't see it happening any time soon, we simply disagree on the why.

    3. Since you brought it up, I will point out that in the case of Edward Snowden, he provided proof for what many of us had long suspected, that the United States government was acting in excess and abuse of its authority. Was what he did illegal? Yes. But, to go back to Sts Augustine and Aquinas, what he did was not immoral for the law that he violated is in place to enforce an abuse of authority. Not only was he not morally wrong in taking the action he did, but he was in fact morally obligated to take such action, and as such, his case is not a relevant comparison to the sinful disobedience of Cardinal Dziwisz.

  15. ​Mr Brooks:

    Unfortunately, I must agree with you that Cardinal Dziwisz's intentions were not so noble as you first thought. What they actually are, I have no intention of speculating on. God can judge his intentions. As humans, the only thing for us to judge are his actions, for as Our Lord said, 'by their fruits you shall know them' and in this case, the fruit is disobedience. But, I'm not surprised. Sin begets sin, and scandal leads to more scandal. I think that the seeds of Cardinal Dziwisz's disobedience to Pope John Paul II were sown by erroneous good intentions of the late pontiff himself. I am also of the opinion that this will in no way slow down the irresponsible juggernaut of the 'saint factory'.

  16. ​Brother Jeff Wolfe:

    I wish I could share your confidence in our current pope. I doubt he'll do much more than throw up his hands and say 'who am I to judge?'


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Thank you and God bless...

Julie @ Connecticut Catholic Corner

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