The beatification of Pope John Paul II may be delayed as the Vatican
seeks more documentation regarding his almost 27 years as pope, Italian
newspapers have reported.
According to the newspaper La Stampa, the chief holdup regards hundreds of letters he wrote before and after his election to Wanda Poltawska, a longtime friend and adviser to the pope, CNS says.
Meanwhile, the newspaper Il Giornale, reported that a commission of theologians meeting in mid-May decided the information contained in the official "positio," or position paper, was not complete enough. In particular, the newspaper cited the fact that Cardinal Angelo Sodano, secretary of state under Pope John Paul, and Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, his deputy at the time, had not given testimony in the case.
Neither newspaper quoted any of the commission members by name nor included comments from current officials of the Congregation for Saints' Causes.
Passionist Fr Ciro Benedettini, vice director of the Vatican press office, said on Monday that there would be no official comment from the Vatican while the process was under way.
La Stampa published an interview with Poltawska in which she said she met Fr Karol Wojtyla, the future pope, in 1950 when she was looking for a confessor and spiritual director to guide her in the long process of recovering from her internment as a political prisoner in the Nazis' Ravensbruck concentration camp, where medical experiments were performed on prisoners.
Along with her husband and, often with their children, "we shared interests, important moments, spirituality and that love for nature that we experienced camping in the mountains of southern Poland and even in the golden cage that was (the papal villa at) Castel Gandolfo," after his election as pope in 1978, she said.
"From the first time I met him I knew he would become a saint," Poltawska said. "His holiness was evident, he radiated an interior light that was impossible to hide."
Poltawska said she has a "suitcase full of his letters," written over the course of 55 years.
"I cannot tell you how many I gave to the beatification cause," because she took an oath of secrecy regarding the cause, she said. "I did not destroy any of them. I selected some and decided to publish them in Poland, even though some people did not agree," she said.
However, Pope John Paul II's closest aide, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz of Cracow, is strongly criticizing Dr Poltawska over her decision to publish her private correspondence with the late Pontiff.
Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz says that Dr Poltawska is claiming "a special relationship where none existed" and that many others corresponded privately with Pope John Paul.
However, Fr Adam Boniecki, former editor of the Polish edition of L'Osservatore Romano, countered that Pope John Paul and Dr. Poltawska had a strong relationship, like that of a brother and sister - akin to that of St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane Francis de Chantal.
Meanwhile, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz also explained why he did not carry out the late pontiff's wishes that his personal papers be burnt upon his death, Catholic Culture says.
After Sr Paschalina Lehnert carried out a similar wish by Pope Pius XII, the cardinal said, she was criticised for destroying papers that may have proven useful in the beatification process and may have cleared up questions surrounding the Vatican and World War II.
Pope John Paul's beatification delayed, Italian newspapers say (Catholic News Service)
Cardinal Dziwisz defends decision not to burn Pope John Paul's papers (Catholic Culture)
Controversy erupts over letters between Wanda Poltawska, John Paul II (Catholic Culture)