That’s one idea that JP II entertained during his long illness, says a new book by his Polish personal assistant.
Usually personal assistants' memoirs about the great and the good are of the ‘kiss and tell’ variety. But Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz’s book – My Life with Karol might better be described as a ‘pray and tell’. Perhaps we have discovered a new biographical genre?
Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz said the late pontiff wondered before 2000, when he turned 80, whether popes should step down at that age. John Paul decided to consult with his closest aides, including his eventual successor, Benedict XVI…
JP II also considered resigning as the Parkinson’s disease got worse. And of course he was right. Everyone should have a retiring age. JP II must have been tempted.
But perhaps he kept going because he wasn’t too impressed by the Polish pension system? And who could blame him?
The only pope to resign because of the corrosive effects of old age was Celestine V, who assumed the papacy in 1294 at the grand old age of 85 - weird in itself as the average life span in those days was under 30 years old. Celestine resigned five months later, however, saying he was not up to the job.
Meanwhile, Pope John Paul’s sainthood is picking up a pace.
To be a saint you have to have a few miracles to your name. It used to take years for the sainthood process to complete. But in recent years, miracles have been much easier to find, apparently. In fact, John Paul himself waved the ‘5 year rule’ before the process could begin.
Examples of JP II’s miracle work are aplenty and coming in thick and fast. A nun in France claims that praying to the Polish pope caused her Parkinson’s disease to disappear.
Shame JP couldn’t cure his own Parkinson’s, then…
Stanislaw Dziwisz’s book will be published in Poland in June.