BARCELONA (Zenit): Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz said working with Pope John Paul II was a tremendous grace, because the Pontiff lived like a saint.
The cardinal, who is now archbishop of Krakow, and author George Weigel both received an honorary doctorate from the University Abat Oliba CEU in Barcelona on Wednesday, November 14.
At a press conference before the ceremony, both spoke of their relationship with John Paul II. Cardinal Dziwisz was John Paul II’s personal secretary for 39 years. And Weigel wrote a well-known biography of the Polish Pope, called Witness to Hope.
Cardinal Dziwisz said, “For me, it was a tremendous grace to work at his side. He lived like a saint, because the man became holy during all of his life.”
The cardinal explained that John Paul II said he received his assassination attempt as a grace, because the Church needed it that way.
The cardinal also affirmed that even as a youth, Karol Wojtyla prayed prostrate on the floor with his arms in the form of the cross.
Regarding the Pope’s social teaching, Cardinal Dziwisz recalled that John Paul II received a lot of criticism, but always tried to stay firm, independent of political conditions.
Weigel mentioned his appreciation for Cardinal Dziwisz’s work as the Pope’s secretary, noting the cardinal’s “great spiritual life” and affirming that he “tried not to shut doors, but rather to open them.”