Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Popes should retire at 80

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?

AP reports:

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.


Anonymous said...

BR: Shame JP couldn’t cure his own Parkinson’s, then…

>>> Didn't need to. He accepted and embraced his suffering as part of life, as a means of attaining salvation.

As for miracles, I'd attribute this one to JP2:

beatroot said...

Do you believe in miravles, Geez?

Anonymous said...

They used to back up Smokey Robinson.

Actually, I think the resurrection of Christ was miracle enuff and have enuff difficulty at times grappling with that.

Then again, I don't think everything that happens in our world can be scientifically explained.

And I do believe some kind of mojo was working for Jeremy. Call it a miracle, coincidence, whatever. That it was an extraordinary recovery cannot be denied. And I know how devoted his father was in praying to/through JP2 for his recovery. Cause and effect? A weird cosmic dance? I just don't know.

Anonymous said...

Not to be pedantic, but you write twice "prey", when you mean "pray". Or did you really mean that Cardinal Dziwisz preyed?
I'd love to know on whom :)?

Anonymous said...

Beatroot said: “Examples of JP II’s miracle work”

It would be interesting to have the Vatican’s idea of a miracle come under the scrutiny of an independent scientific panel, but as miracles are good for business it’s not likely.

Anonymous said...

Along the spies' context of previous blog posts... How Polish spies may have been involved in attempts on JP2's life....

Came across it by one of your embedded links, BR, so thanks...

beatroot said...

Prey, pray...bugger...changed it...cheers!

Geez - we cannot say for any certainty that everything can be explained scientifically - it would be unscientific to claim so.

What we can say, however, is that just because something has no scientific answer does not make it a 'miracle'.

Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to have the Vatican’s idea of a miracle come under the scrutiny of an independent scientific panel

Contrary. In order for a miracle to be accepted, a scientific panel must decide that the event under scrutiny is scientifically inexplicable.


Of course given the advancement of science one could go back and review past miracles and would undoubtedly invalidate a good deal of them; however there is still enough of them going on that it has to be concluded that they do, in fact, happen.

Wether you should count on them to happen is another matter altogether.

but as miracles are good for business it’s not likely

I am not sure. They involve a great deal of paperwork when they happen...

Unknown said...

Geez said: “[..] How Polish spies may have been involved in attempts on JP2's life....”

That sounds quite ridiculous… probably originated from the same folks who (as my Polish sources have recently informed me..), are firmly convinced that ousting of Wielgus is a result of Jewish machinations within the Church. Oh well… not surprised… you know how those pesky Jews are…

It also reminds me of an old (‘70s) Polish joke: JP2 comes back on a papal visit to Poland and is greeted at the airport by a group of Polish officials “Colonel Wojtyla - Welcome home comrade!”

Anonymous said...

You might want to at least look at the article before you say it sounds ridiculous, Al. I don't see any Jewish machinations alluded to in it:

The revelations are made in an article in Polish weekly Wprost by Leszek Szymowski who was assisted by Marek Lasota, a research fellow of the Polish Institute of the National Memory.

The authors detail evidence confirming that the Soviet KGB planned and led all efforts to "eliminate" the Polish Pope, from 1978 up to 1989, when the Communist regime finally collapsed in Poland, and soon after in all Eastern and Central European countries of the former Soviet Bloc.

According to the website Oracle Syndicate the new evidence delivers a crushing blow to all "conspiracy theories" invented by the Soviet disinformation experts or circulated in the West, which blamed Turkish right wing groups or even the CIA.

The new evidence, found in Berlin in the archives of the East German communist secret service, also confirms the role of the Bulgarian secret services.

The researchers say that the Kremlin allotted to East German intelligence the task of countering all reports and accusations against the Bulgarians.

However, what was not known earlier was the participation of the Polish secret services in the preparations for the plots against the Pope, the researchers say.

The researchers also say that a total of 21 or 22 attempts on the life of John Paul II were planned between 1978 and 1989.

However, the whole picture concerning these attempts remains dim.

For a long time, this code-name used by the Polish special service, was mistakenly linked to a singular provocation, led by a super-secret "Section D" of the SB in Cracow, in 1983. "Section D" was a special operations group, secretly organised in the Polish Ministry of Interior to carry out criminal operations against the Church.

This particular action aimed at compromising a Cracow priest, Andrzej Bardecki, an editor of Tygodnik Powszechny weekly paper and one of the closest friends of then-Cardinal Karol Wojtyla. In 1983, special SB agents Grzegorz Piotrowski, Barbara Szydlowska and Barbara Borowiec (women agents) broke into the apartment of the priest and left there provocative materials. The provocation failed.

In 2005, research by the Polish Institute of National Memory (IPN) discovered that the "Operation Triangolo" embraced a series of hostile actions against the Pope, carried out by the Polish communist secret services.

These shocking findings showed that the assassination of John Paul II had become the most important goal in the history of the communist special services in Poland. The Polish communist services worked for at least four years on a plan to kill the Polish Pope.

However, the secret files on "Operation Triangolo" disappeared from the archives on 11 April 1989 when a special delegation of the KGB officers came to Warsaw to secure and move out these documents. These documents are still kept as "top secret" in Moscow, the researchers say.

beatroot said...

Of course given the advancement of science one could go back and review past miracles and would undoubtedly invalidate a good deal of them; however

That's the crucial point.

Anonymous said...

More breaking pope spyin' reports:

Unknown said...

Thanks geez - it is indeed an interesting article. Whether or not the facts quoted by the author check out, it does make for interesting reading. I tend to be skeptical when it comes to sensational revelations of this kind. The future will tell... or not. BTW: All of that doesn't sound all that different from what the FBI was doing at the time on the other side of the Iron Curtain.

Anonymous said...

Waiving, not downing.