Mar 7, 2014 / 05:02 pm
In lengthy excerpts of an interview published in an Italian newspaper, Benedict XVI speaks of his time collaborating with John Paul II, highlighting the deceased Pope’s sanctity and commitment to the truth.
“In the years of collaboration with him it became ever more clear to me that John Paul II was a saint,” the retired pontiff told Polish journalist Wlodzimierz Redzioch in a written interview, selections of which appeared in Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera on March 7.
Published as part of the book “Beside JPII: Friends and Collaborators Speak,” released by Italian press agency “Italian Edizioni Ares,” Benedict’s written interview was originally requested by Redzioch in Nov. of 2013, which he agreed to and completed in Jan. of this year.
During the interview, retired pontiff Benedict XVI recalled that he originally met John Paul II in the conclave where John Paul I was elected Pope, explaining how they had both read each others’ work previously and had been wanting to meet each other.
Observing how the then Cardinal Wojtyla had quoted his piece “Introduction to Christianity” during the spiritual exercises he preached for Pope Paul VI in 1979, Benedict noted that “it is as if, interiorly, we both were expecting to meet each other.”
“Above all, I immediately and greatly perceived the human fascination that he exuded, and from the way he prayed I noted how deeply united to God he was.”
Speaking of his appointment by John Paul II as Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Benedict recalled how the Blessed allowed him to continue publishing theological works for his home diocese, and that he was “always very gracious and accommodating with me.”
Referring to certain doctrinal challenges which the two faced during their years of working together, Benedict XVI noted that the first major topic that came up was Liberation Theology.
“Both in Europe and in North America, it was common opinion that it was a support to the poor and, therefore, that it was a cause that surely needed to be approved,” he explained.
However, “it was an error,” stated the retired pontiff, adding that “Poverty and the poor were, without a doubt, set at the center of the Liberation Theology, yet in a very specific perspective…It was said that it was not a question of help or of reforms, but rather of the great upheaval from which a new world would spring.” …
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