Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, the President of the Polish Episcopate, on behalf of the Polish Bishops’ Conference, asked Pope Francis to proclaim St. John Paul II Doctor of the Church and Patron of Europe. This request was supported by Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz on October 22, 2019, during the “Europa Christi” Movement Congress in Warsaw.
In 2020, we will celebrate the 100th anniversary of St. John Paul II’s birth and the 15th anniversary of his death. In connection with these important anniversaries for the Church in Poland and the universal Church, Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki emphasized: “The pontificate of the Pope from Poland was filled with groundbreaking decisions and significant events that changed the face of the papacy and influenced the course of European and world history.” The President of the Polish Episcopate addressed a request to Pope Francis to proclaim St. John Paul II Doctor of the Church and Patron of Europe.
“The richness of the pontificate of St. John Paul II – by many historians and theologians referred to as John Paul II the Great – came from the richness of his personality – poet, philosopher, theologian and mystic, realizing himself in many dimensions, from pastoral work and teaching, leading the universal Church, to personal testimony of holiness of life,” wrote Archbishop Gądecki to Pope Francis. He also pointed out that the great achievement of the pontificate of St. John Paul II was his contribution to the restoration of unity in Europe, after more than fifty years of division, which was symbolized by the iron curtain.
The President of the Episcopate remarked: “After the unifying and culture-making proclamation of the Gospel by Saints Cyril and Methodius and Saint Adalbert, more than a thousand years later, the fruits of their activities – not only in social but also in religious terms – found their protector and continuator in the person of the Polish Pope.”
Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz, the long-time personal secretary of St. John Paul II, during his speech at the “Europa Christi” Movement Congress at the Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw supported the request of Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki addressed to Pope Francis. “Pope Wojtyła’s legacy is a rich, versatile and creative synthesis of multiple paths of human thinking. There is no doubt that it still remains, and will for a long time remain, an important and comprehensive cultural renewal project on a global scale,” he said. “These are also at the same time, in my opinion, the most important reasons why John Paul II should be declared Doctor of the Church and co-patron of our European home.”
Referring to the current cultural crisis, the Cardinal said that “the Renaissance, for which we are all waiting, as usual, can only be achieved as a new reconsideration and adoption of the classical vision of the man and of the world. There is no doubt that in such a context, the legacy of St. Pope John Paul II the Great has remarkable culture-making value.”
Cardinal Dziwisz noticed that this project is not a call to a simple return to the past: “The thought of John Paul II is in fact thoroughly modern, original and creative, whilst remaining nobly classical. This Wojtyła’s difficult balancing act between tradition and modernity has contributed a huge breath of fresh air to the life of the Church, and through it to the wider universal spaces of broadly understood culture, politics, and science. In this regard, the Holy Pope became a real teacher and Doctor of the Church and in it an important guardian of European values, which are the indelible foundation of modern civilization.”
“Pope Wojtyla is not only a great contemporary Doctor of the Church but also a prominent patron of Europe who has very much to say to everybody, both believers and unbelievers,” concluded Cardinal Dziwisz, “In such difficult and complex times like ours, his intercession with God, which was so beautifully assured by Cardinal. Ratzinger at the funeral homily constitutes strong support to all the people of goodwill, and the legacy that he left behind in his writings is the full roadmap outlining good directions for our common journey towards a better world.”