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Pope John Paul II Beatification Process Delayed

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS Staff Writer The beatification process of Pope John Paul II is being delayed as the Vatican seeks more documentation on his 27-year pontificate and reviews the content of hundreds of letters he wrote before and after becoming pope to his longtime friend and adviser, Dr. Wanda Poltawska. According to the newspaper La Stampa, Dr. Poltawska, a psychiatrist, first met with Fr. Karol Wojtyla in 1950 when she was looking for spiritual guidance during her recovery from internment in the Nazi’s Ravensbruck concentration camp where medical experiments were performed on prisoners. During a June 1 interview with La Stampa, Dr. Poltawska said she and her husband and children often met with the pope. “We shared interests, important moments, spirituality and that love for nature that we experienced camping in the mountains of southern Poland and even in the golden cage that was (the papal villa at) Castel Gandolfo," after his election as pope in 1978. "From the first time I met him I knew he would become a saint," Dr. Poltawska said. "His holiness was evident, he radiated an interior light that was impossible to hide." She claims to have a "suitcase full of his letters," which were written over the course of her 55-year friendship with the pope. "I cannot tell you how many I gave to the beatification cause," because she took an oath of secrecy regarding the cause, she said. "I did not destroy any of them. I selected some and decided to publish them in Poland, even though some people did not agree," she said. One of her critics is Pope John Paul II’s closest aide, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, who says she is claiming “a special relationship where none existed” and that many others corresponded privately with Pope John Paul. However, Father Adam Boniecki, former editor of the Polish edition of L’Osservatore Romano, countered this criticism by saying that he knew the Pope and Dr. Poltawska to have had a strong relationship, like that of a brother and sister, much like that of St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane Francis de Chantal. Meanwhile, Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints, has asked Dr. Poltawska to send photocopies of her entire collection of correspondence to Rome so that the beatification investigation can proceed. The process hit another roadblock last month after a commission of theologians met in mid-May and decided the information contained in the official position paper was not complete. According to a report in Il Giornale, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, secretary of state under Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, his deputy at the time, had not yet given their testimony in the case. Passionist Father Ciro Benedettini, vice director of the Vatican press office, said June 1 there would be no official comment from the Vatican while the process is under way. © All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly/Women of Grace.