London, Feb 15 (IANS) Hundreds of letters and photographs that tell the story of Pope John Paul II’s close relationship with a married woman, which lasted more than 30 years, have been revealed, BBC reported on Monday.
The letters to Polish-born American philosopher Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka had been kept away from public view in the National Library of Poland for years.
The documents reveal a rarely seen side of the pontiff, who died in 2005, after an almost 27-year reign. In 2014 he was declared a saint.
However, there is no suggestion the Pope broke his vow of celibacy.
The friendship began in 1973 when Tymieniecka contacted the future Pope, Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, then Archbishop of Krakow, about a book on philosophy that he had written. The then 50-year-old travelled from the US to Poland to discuss the work.
Shortly afterwards, the pair began to correspond. At first the cardinal’s letters were formal, but as their friendship grew, they become more intimate.
The pair decided to work on an expanded version of the cardinal’s book, ‘The Acting Person’.
Photographs which have never been seen before by the public reveal Karol Wojtyla at his most relaxed. He invited Tymieniecka to join him on country walks and skiing holidays – she even joined him on a group camping trip.
The pictures also show her visiting him at the Vatican.
The letters also revealed that Cardinal Wojtyla gave Tymieniecka one of his most treasured possessions, an item known as a scapular – a small devotional necklace worn around the shoulders.
In a letter dated September 10, 1976, he wrote: “Already last year I was looking for an answer to these words, ‘I belong to you’, and finally, before leaving Poland, I found a way – a scapular. The dimension in which I accept and feel you everywhere in all kinds of situations, when you are close, and when you are far away.”