Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Future Pope secretly ordained Slovak seminarians

Catholic World News - January 20, 2011

In an interview with L’Osservatore Romano, Cardinal Jozef Tomko discussed his decades of friendship with Pope John Paul II. The two met in 1969, when the future Pontiff was Archbishop of Krakow and Cardinal Tomko was a Slovak priest.

The 86-year-old cardinal told the Vatican newspaper that Archbishop Wojtyla secretly ordained Slovak seminarians whom Czechoslovakia’s Communist regime refused to allow their ordination.

Cardinal Tomko, who went on to serve as secretary general of the Synod of Bishops (1979-85), prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (1985-2001), and president of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses (2001-07), also said that when he was ordained a bishop in Rome in 1979, the Communist regime would permit only four citizens of Czechoslovakia to travel to the ordination. (Nonetheless, 200 of his compatriots, who had told the government they were going on vacation in Italy, were able to attend the ceremony.) Pope John Paul ordered Vatican Radio to broadcast the ordination live in Slovak throughout central Europe.

Upon hearing of the Pontiff’s death on April 2, 2005, “I went immediately to visit the remains of this giant of history, still lying in his bed of pain, with majestic peace on his dead face,” Cardinal Tomko recalled. “I knelt down, prayed briefly, and took his hand. That hand was still on my head, and I kissed it devotedly. It was the hand of my father in the Spirit.”

Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Progress toward our January expenses ($19,764 to go):
$35,000.00 $15,235.70
56% 44%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

There are no comments yet for this item.

Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org
Shop Amazon

Recent Catholic Commentary

Church Fathers: St. Polycarp and St. Papias January 24
On News Both Good and Fun January 23
Guess who thinks Pope Francis shouldn't give so many interviews? January 23
A rare “win” in the Venerable League: Laity 4, Priests and Religious 3 January 23
The Didache Bible Is Here January 21

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope Francis names 20 new cardinals CWN - January 5
In ‘state of the world’ address, Pope decries ‘throwaway culture’ CWN - January 12