Rome, Italy, Jan 28, 2010 / 01:24 am
A new book released by a Vatican official on Wednesday details lesser known facts about the late John Paul II, including his self-mortification practices, hand written instructions for his resignation in case of incurable illness, and a plot by Italian militants to kidnap him in the 1980's.
"Why he is a Saint: The True story of John Paul II," by Monsignor Slawomir Oder, a Church official heading the cause for John Paul II's canonization, was made available in Italian bookstores on Jan. 27. According to the Italian news agency ANSA, Fr. Oder discusses how the late pontiff used to practice self-mortification as part of his devotion.
“Members of his closest entourage, both in Poland and the Vatican, heard with their own ears how Karol Wojtyla used to whip himself,” wrote Msgr. Oder. “There used to be a particular belt, intended for trousers, hanging from a hook in his wardrobe among all his robes.”
Msgr. Oder spoke of how the late Holy Father “used this as a whip and always brought it with him when he went to (the papal summer residence) Castel Gandolfo.” Oder also cites the testimony of Sister Tobiana Sobodka who was in the neighboring room at the summer residence, and witnessed to the Vatican assembly considering John Paul II's cause for canonization. “We would hear the sound of the blows,” she testified.