At the Holy See Press Office April 22, Monsignor Slawomir Oder and Father Giovangiuseppe Califano discussed both the innate signs of holiness as well as the limitations of the pontiffs.
Msgr. Oder recalled that John Paul II “was a man with blood in his veins,” and as such “had no problem in showing his feelings” – sometimes “he was angry, which demonstrated his humanity.”
The Polish priest noted that in one of his trips, Pope John Paul II was told to use a bullet proof vest. However, the pontiff strongly and negatively rejected the move, “because he trusted in another type of protection.”
Fr. Califano indicated that Pope John XXIII, known as the “good” Pope, also had faults and “used to worry too much about things.”
But, he added, the late pontiff also “had a sense of simplicity and wisdom that helped him to be ironic with himself.”
The priest recounted how one day a newly-appointed bishop confessed to John XXIII “that he could not sleep at night due to an anxiety which was caused by the responsibility of his office.”
“The Pope told him, 'You know, I also thought the same when I was elected Pope. But one day I dreamed about my Guardian Angel and it told me not to take everything so seriously.'”
Both postulators concurred that “all of us have faults, but true holiness is the one in which man responds to the grace of God correcting their mistakes.”
The two also reflected on the saintly characteristics of both men, which they said could be seen from the time both Popes were young.
As a fifteen-year-old seminarian, Angelo Roncalli not only exhibited the qualities of his future episcopal motto – “obedience and peace” – but showed his deep humility and paternal care for others, Fr. Califano said.
University friends of Karol Woytyla were struck by the future saint's prayer habits and profound understanding of the value of human life, Msgr. Oder added.
The postulators of the canonization causes for both John Paul II and John XXIII told journalists at the Vatican that the soon-to-be-saints also had faults which show their “humanity.”
Pope John Paul II, Pope John XXIII