Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz released a letter on May 28, 2019, thanking Pope Francis for his efforts at putting an end to attempts to defame St. John Paul II.
We publish the whole text:
In connection with the repetition in the media of false information that misleads many people, I would like to remind that St. John Paul II was the first Pope who systemically introduced the protection of children and youth in the Church. His uncompromising attitude in this matter is testified by, among others, the following facts:
- In 1993, St. John Paul II wrote a letter to the bishops from the USA, in which he stated unequivocally: “The evangelical word ‘woe’ is of special significance, especially when Christ applies it to cases of scandal, and above all to the scandal of the ‘little ones’. How severe are the words of Christ when he speaks of such a scandal, and how great this evil must be, for ‘it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea’ (cfr. Mt 18:6 )”.
- In 1994, the Pope issued an Indult for the Church in the United States, and two years later he expanded it to the Church in Ireland. It aimed to introduce greater protection for children and young people against the crime of abuse.
- In 2001, the Holy Father introduced restrictive legal norms in the Church, which subsequent popes were updating. The document “Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela” (On the protection of the sacraments’ sanctity) and the norms “On the most serious crimes” were of crucial importance. John Paul II raised the age of protection of minors up to the age of 18 years. In addition, he obliged each bishop and religious superior to report to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith all crimes against minors.
- In 2002, St. John Paul II clearly stressed his position in this matter: “People need to know that there is no place in the priesthood and religious life for those who would harm the young” (Address to the Cardinals of the United States, April 23, 2002).
- During the pontificate and according to the will of St. Pope John Paul II, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith began an investigation of the accusations concerning Maciel Delgollado, the founder of the Legionaries of Christ. In December 2004, the then promoter of justice and today the Archbishop Charles Scicluna was sent with another lawyer to Mexico and the United States, in order to investigate the case. The investigation was carried out after the death of John Paul II and therefore, at the beginning of the pontificate of Benedict XVI, a sentence could have been issued.
- In addition, it should be noted that 122 witnesses, including those being far from the Catholic Church, were interrogated in order to examine the life of John Paul II and 2414 pages of procedural documentation were prepared. The holiness of John Paul II has been confirmed by the authority of two popes: he was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI, and canonized by Pope Francis. The Holy See, considering the opinion of a board of physicians, recognized two healings through the intercession of St. John Paul II as inexplicable from a medical point of view.
For this reason, attempts to defame St. Pope John Paul II insult the feelings of millions of people around the world for whom St. John Paul II was and is an unquestionable authority and advocate in various life situations, which is expressed in thousands of testimonies about graces continually received through his intercession.
I thank the Holy Father Francis for putting an end to attempts to defame the Polish Pope, saying that no one can doubt the holiness of John Paul II.
+ Card. Stanisław Dziwisz
Senior Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Kraków
Kraków, May 28, 2019