I was surprised to see a story about St John Paul the Great high up the BBC headline charts when I looked at the their news website this morning. The headline read ‘Intense John Paul II Letters Revealed’. I thought for a moment that the BBC had gone soft by perhaps agreeing to reveal some letters written by the pope on matters of faith and his work in the Church. But then I clicked on the headline and it all became very clear.
The full title of the ‘story’ is ‘John Paul letters reveal ‘intense’ friendship with woman’. Throughout the report, the BBC tries to make assertions that the pope had overstepped the mark and was somehow too intimately involved with his friend, Polish-born American philosopher Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka. This despite the report clearly stating that there is ‘no suggestion that the pope broke his vow of celibacy’, which I expect is very much the case.
The report, which originates from an investigation by the BBC’s Panorama programme, also states that then Cardinal Wojtyla ‘had a number of female friends, including Wanda Poltawska, a psychiatrist with whom he also corresponded for decades.’ This, of course, isn’t at all surprising as Catholic people, including priests, bishops and popes do tend to have female friends. But the writer continues: ‘But his letters to Ms Tymieniecka are at times more intensely emotional, sometimes wrestling with the meaning of their relationship.’ It is then suggested that Miss Tymieniecka fell in love with the pope at an early stage in their relationship. This, of course, could be true. It may also be all too typical BBC sensationalism. Either way, there is most likely no harm in it.
This, it appears, is just another example of the devil’s most treasured weapon, the media, trying to create trouble for the Church where there is no trouble to be had. There is even a suggestion later in the article that if these letters had been available to the Vatican at the time John Paul was made a saint, they may have made a different decision. Why? Because the pope had a close relationship with a woman whom he clearly loved? Here’s something for you BBC, we Catholic people are called to love everyone. It’s one of the great Commandments of our Lord Jesus Christ.
This TV production and article are, in all respects, pure mischief-making on the part of an organisation that is well known for its distaste of all things Catholic. It would be best to avoid at all costs this pointless piece of TV drivel which seeks to discredit the life of a truly great man who is now one with the Father in Heaven.
The BBC has for a long time tried to discredit the Catholic Church with sensationalist nonsense. But perhaps this truly desperate and pitifully low-blow non-story is the last straw.