During his almost 27-year pontificate, John Paul II wrote 14 encyclicals, 15 apostolic exhortations, and 45 apostolic letters, as well as giving hundreds of catechetical addresses at his weekly general audiences.
The Polish bishops did not make the case for John Paul II as a Doctor of the Church solely on his writings. They also emphasized his historical significance, as they were asking Pope Francis at the same time to declare his predecessor a patron of Europe.
In a letter to the pope, Gądecki wrote: “The richness of the pontificate of St. John Paul II — called John Paul II the Great by many historians and theologians — flowed from the richness of his personality — a poet, philosopher, theologian, and mystic, realizing himself in many dimensions, from pastoral ministry and teaching, through his leadership of the universal Church, to his personal testimony of holiness of life.”
The archbishop wrote in February 2020 to the presidents of the world’s bishops’ conferences, asking them to support the proclamation.
Gadecki offered an update on the movement to declare St. John Paul II a Doctor of the Church and patron of Europe in October 2020.
In an address to a conference in Warsaw, he said that the Vatican Secretariat of State noted that there were already six patron saints of Europe and that the pope did not wish to add to their number at present.
The Secretariat added that “it is not generally envisaged at this time to confer the title of Doctor of the Church even on such authors who have had a significant influence on the teaching and development of doctrine.”
Summing up the situation, the Polish archbishop said: “This does not mean that the cause is lost. The seed has been sown, it just needs some patience and time for it to bear fruit.”