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Polish bishops call for St John Paul II to be made Doctor of the Church

Pope John Paul II (Getty Images)

In a request issued on the late pope's feast day, the bishops also called for him to be made Patron of Europe

The President of the Polish Bishops Conference has asked Pope Francis to proclaim St John Paul II a Doctor of the Church and Patron of Europe.

Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki said the late pope’s reign was “filled with groundbreaking decisions and significant events that changed the face of the papacy and influenced the course of European and world history.”

“The richness of the pontificate of St John Paul II – by many historians and theologians referred to as John Paul II the Great – came from the richness of his personality – poet, philosopher, theologian and mystic, realizing himself in many dimensions, from pastoral work and teaching, leading the universal Church, to personal testimony of holiness of life,” the archbishop told Pope Francis.

John Paul II’s reign, from 1978 to 2005, saw the fall of the iron curtain in Europe and the liberation of his Polish homeland from communist rule.

“After the unifying and culture-making proclamation of the Gospel by saints Cyril and Methodius and Saint Adalbert, more than a thousand years later, the fruits of their activities – not only in social but also in religious terms – found their protector and continuator in the person of the Polish Pope,” archbishop Gądecki said.

The request, sent on October 22, the feast of St John Paul II, was supported by Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz, who added: “Pope Wojtyła’s legacy is a rich, versatile and creative synthesis of multiple paths of human thinking.

“There is no doubt that it still remains, and will for a long time remain, an important and comprehensive cultural renewal project on a global scale. These are also at the same time, in my opinion, the most important reasons why John Paul II should be declared Doctor of the Church and co-patron of our European home.”

The cardinal said that the teachings of John Paul II could help Europe find its way out of its current “cultural crisis”.

“The thought of John Paul II is in fact thoroughly modern, original and creative, whilst remaining nobly classical.

“This, Wojtyła’s difficult balancing act between tradition and modernity, has contributed a huge breath of fresh air to the life of the Church, and through it to the wider universal spaces of broadly understood culture, politics and science.

“In this regard, the Holy Pope became a real teacher and Doctor of the Church and in it an important guardian of European values, which are the indelible foundation of modern civilization,” Cardinal Dziwisz said.