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Benedict XVI discusses John Paul II in interview excerpted in Italian newspaper

Catholic World News - March 10, 2014

Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI discussed his relationship with Pope John Paul II in an interview that appeared in the Italian daily Corriere della Sera.

The interview—a rare appearance by the retired Pontiff in a public forum—is part of a series that will appear in a book, Beside JP II: Friends and Collaborators Speak, which will be published late in April in Italian. The book also contains interviews with others who were close to Pope John Paul II, including Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, his personal secretary; Joaquin Navarro-Valls, his press spokesman; and the postulator for his cause for canonization, Father Slawomir Oder. The interviews were compiled by a Polish journalist, Wlodzimierz Redzioch.

Benedict XVI says that he became steadily more convinced of the personal holiness of John Paul II as he worked with him and observed “his intense relationship with God.” He notes that this personal holiness was evidence not just on special occasions but “day after day, beginning with the morning Mass until late into the night.”

The retired Pontiff reveals that he first met the future John Paul II at the conclave that elected Pope John Paul I. The two cardinals had read each other’s scholarly works and were anxious to meet in person, he said.

Pope-emeritus Benedict also speaks about their years of collaboration, when he served as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under Pope John Paul II. He recalls that their first major problem was a response to liberation theology, which had originally seemed promising, but became problematical when the Vatican realized that “Christian faith was being used as a motor for this revolutionary movement, transforming it into a political force.”

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