CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, AUG. 3, 2001 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II today privately marked the centenary of the birth of Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, a friend who changed his life decisively.
When admitted to the Gemelli Hospital in Rome in 1994, the Pope said: “At the beginning of my pontificate, Cardinal Wyszynski said to me: ´If the Lord has called you, you must take the Church into the third millennium!´” The primate of Poland spoke his prophetic words on Oct. 16, 1978, when Karol Wojtyla became the new Pope.
“I understood then, that I must take the Church of Christ into the third millennium with prayer and with different initiatives,” John Paul II said.
“However,” he added, “I realized that this wasn´t enough. She had to be introduced with suffering, with the attack. The Pope had to be attacked, he had to suffer so that every family, so that the world, would see that there is, so to speak, a higher Gospel, the Gospel of suffering.”
Stefan Wyszynski was born in Zuzela on Aug. 3, 1901 and died on May 28, 1981. Pope Pius XII appointed him archbishop of Gniezno and Warsaw, and primate of Poland, when he was only 48.
In the face of Communist repression, Cardinal Wyszynski defended religious liberty with “indomitable courage,” John Paul II said later.
The government suspended Wyszynski´s ecclesiastical functions in 1953, accusing him of “abuse of authority,” and confined him to a monastery.
In 1956 he was reinstated in his functions and the following year he traveled to Rome to receive the cardinal´s biretta from Pius XII. At that time, Karol Wojtyla was a professor at the University of Lublin, and soon to be appointed bishop.
The Polish Parliament has dedicated the year 2001 to Cardinal Wyszynski, describing him as the “Primate of the Millennium.”
In February, the Archdiocese of Warsaw solemnly concluded the diocesan process for his cause of beatification. The Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints is now studying the case.