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Wanda Poltawska says Pope John Paul wanted letters published; Lublin archbishop blasts her ‘narcissism’

Catholic World News - June 11, 2009

Archbishop Józef Miroslaw Zycinski of Lublin has joined Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz of Krakow in criticizing Dr. Wanda Poltawska’s decision to publish her private correspondence with the late Pope John Paul II.

“Publishing papal letters is a sign of narcissism, a wish to be noticed,” Archbishop Zycinski said. “It suggests the Holy Father showed special trust in me by discussing particular problems in his letters. We can do without this.”

“The Pope tried to treat all his letter writers with respect,” Archbishop Zycinski added. “He never rebuked them or said what they’d written was immature or unserious.”

Responding to Cardinal Dziwisz’s criticism, the 87-year-old Dr. Poltawska-- a psychiatrist, member of the Pontifical Council for the Family, and longtime defender of Catholic teaching on contraception-- said that “the Pope wanted me to give this testimony when I spoke to him before his death. Nothing else matters to me.”

“I wanted to bring people closer to the Holy Father's spirituality, whereas Cardinal Dziwisz wishes to keep his experiences to himself,” she added.

Polish prelates are not unanimous in their opposition to Dr. Poltawska’s decision. Her book of correspondence contains a foreword by Archbishop Józef Michalik of Przemysl, the president of the nation’s episcopal conference.

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