Vatican City, Feb 15, 2016 / 17:20 pm
Experts and friends of Pope St. John Paul II responded quickly to a BBC promotion of a documentary about his friendship with Polish-born female philosopher Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka – questioning some of the portrayals of their friendship and outright dismissing others.
“John Paul II's friendship with her was neither secret nor extraordinary,” Poland's national library, which hosts Tymieniecka's letters from the Pope, said Feb. 15.
“The statements made in the media have no basis in the content of the letters of John Paul II to Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka which are in the National Library of Poland’s archives,” the library said, according to Agence France Presse.
On Feb. 15 BBC News discussed letters and various meetings between the Pope and Tymieniecka, saying that the letters showed a close relationship. The BBC story said there is no suggestion the Pope “broke his vow of celibacy.”
The news story preceded the Monday evening broadcast of a documentary on the British television station BBC One. Promotional material for the show depicts its subject as “the secret letters of John Paul II.”
Greg Burke, vice-director of the Holy See Press Office, commented on the broadcast Feb. 15.
“With regard to a documentary on the BBC, it comes as no great revelation that Pope John Paul II had deep friendships with a number of people, men and women alike,” he said. “No one will be shocked by that.”
The report started internet rumors of an affair, but the late Pope’s long-time secretary, countered these.