The relation between Pope St. John Paul II and a Polish-born female philosopher, Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka had been widely misunderstood with the promotion of a documentary by BBC. But experts and friends of Pope St John Paul had refuted the allegations by saying that there was nothing unusual between their relationships.
“John Paul II’s friendship with her was neither secret nor extraordinary,” said Poland’s national library, which hosts Tymieniecka’s letters from the Pope. “The statements made in the media have no basis in the content of the letters of John Paul II to Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka which are in the National Library of Poland’s archives,” the library continued.
George Weigel, the author of Witness to Hope, a biography of St John Paul had commented that, “Why should anyone find it odd that priests and bishops should have friendships with women, including the kind of friendships in which emotions and ideas are expressed in correspondence? Only those who imagine that celibacy is some weird and warped form of bachelorhood would find it odd.”
The news about their relation got ignited when the promotional material for BBC’s documentary was aired with the caption, “the secret letters of John Paul II.”
Greg Burke, vice-director of the Holy See Press Office, commented on the broadcast that it was not a great revelation about the Pope as he had deep friendship with a number of people, men and women alike.
The Pope’s longtime secretary, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz commented that “Those who lived at John Paul II’s side knows very well that there is no space for malicious conspiracy theories,”
After John Paul II’s death, the letters Tymieniecka tried to sell the letters they had exchanged. Thus the National Library of Poland had brought the letters. But these letters were not available for reading. That might have prompted BBC to claim the letters as secret, said Gianfranco Svidercoschi, a veteran Vatican observer and a biographer of John Paul II.
The friendship between the Pope and the philosopher lasted for more than 30 years. They even had collaborated on an English-language version of The Acting Person, a book on philosophy which St John Paul had written while teaching at Lublin University. Their friendship was so close that even continued even after John Paul II became Pope. Anna-Teresa had visited him for the final time, the day just before his death in 2005.