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This London Catholic school uses its garden to feed homeless

London, England, Oct 17, 2018 / 12:34 pm (CNA).- A Catholic school in London has turned its horticulture lessons into meals for the homeless.

St Gregory’s Catholic Science College in northwest London educates nearly 1000 children, aged 11-18. Many of the students volunteer for social and environmental work.

This year, horticulture students grew pumpkins from seed in the summer term and harvested their fruit in early October. The pupils used the pumpkins, along with thyme from their garden, to make soup. They sent that soup to London’s Ealing Abbey Soup Kitchen, an ecumenical initiative of service for the city’s homeless population.

Ealing Abbey Soup Kitchen has been serving people in need since 1973. The pumpkin-thyme soup provided more than 150 portions.

"I'm really proud of our pupils for sharing the fruits of their labours with those in our community who will benefit the most," the school’s headteacher, Andrew Prindiville told the UK’s Independent Catholic News website.

The students of St Gregory’s have also been recently involved with environmental projects, among them helping to clean nearby Woodcock Park. Wealdstone Brook, which runs through the park, has had a problem with misconnected water lines dumping waste into the water from some 140 nearby homes.

Thames Water and Friends of Woodcock Park, who worked alongside the students, have been flushing dirty water away from the brook for the past five years. Receiving $1,300 worth of donated flowers, shrubs, and bulbs, the students and other community volunteers were able to revitalize the landscape.

Earlier this year, St Gregory’s Catholic Science College won the Horticultural Society’s School Gardening Team of the year award. The school has also been awarded the Eco Schools Green Flag Award for its commitment to the environment as seen in its curriculum.

The school was nominated for the 2018 Sustainable Schools TES AWARD. Headteacher Andy Prindiville said consideration for that award was an incredible honor.

“This is a wonderful accolade for St Gregory’s as we are one of only eight schools to have been shortlisted and is the result of the hard work and dedication of the staff, governors, local community and pupils of St Gregory’s,” said Prindiville, the Harrow Times reported.

 

Pope tells seminarians to report abuse ‘immediately’

Vatican City, Oct 17, 2018 / 12:30 pm (CNA).- Pope Francis told a group of Italian seminarians to report immediately to their bishop if they ever see or suspect any kind abuse, sexual or otherwise, on the part of a priest.

 

“On this point, speak clearly,” the pope told the students from Lombardy over the weekend.

 

“If you see something like [abuse], [go] immediately to the bishop. To help that abusive brother. Immediately to the bishop.”

 

The pope met the group in the Vatican’s St. Clementine hall Oct. 13. The text of the lengthy question and answer session was released by the Vatican Oct. 16. During the meeting, he answered a question about scandals in the Church and how to help Catholics to not lose hope despite the “poverty of its ministers.”

 

“Scandal wounds. We must be clear: on this point do not yield. To scandals, no. Especially when the scandals hurt little ones,” he said, emphasizing that though statistics show abuse by priests or other clerics to be a small percentage of total cases in society, it is not a reason to ignore the issue.

 

“No. Because even if it was just one priest, this is a monstrosity,” he underlined.

 

Pope Francis also spoke about other “scandals” brought about by the public sins of priests, condemning worldliness in particular, and giving the example of a priest who is polite and well-liked, but never seen praying, going to the hospital to visit the sick, or performing works of mercy.

 

For a priest to scandalize the people of God “is very bad,” he said.

 

The pope went on to say that in his home country of Argentina, the people are not easily scandalized, but take action, even being able “to forgive a poor priest who has a double life with a woman and does not know how to solve it, saying: ‘Ah, poor man, let’s help him...’ but do not condemn immediately.”

 

“The people have great wisdom,” the pope said, and urged the seminarians to always condemn scandal when they see it, going to the bishop or even directly to the brother priest to say: “Look, you are scandalizing people with this [behavior].”

U.K. local government apologizes to pro-life charity

London, England, Oct 17, 2018 / 10:30 am (CNA).- A London borough has apologized to a U.K. pro-life charity after making inaccurate claims about the group. Life, a non-sectarian charity which provides assistance to women and children, was ejected from the Lambeth Country Show in July.

In a tweet posted Oct. 12 on the official account of Lambeth Council, the local government recognized that its previous claim that Life had booked a place at the show using “inaccurate information” – thereby justifying the removal of their stall – was untrue.

“On 22 July 2018, [Lambeth Council] tweeted that Life booked a stall at our County Show using inaccurate information. We accept that was incorrect and would like to apologise to Life,” the tweet read.

The annual event was held in Brockwell Park, south London, and was attended by approximately 150,000 people over the course of the weekend of July 21-22. Having exhibited during the day Saturday, Life staff and volunteers arrived Sunday morning to find their stall had been disassembled and their property removed from the show’s grounds.

At the time of the event, Life said that they had been given no warning or justification for the removal.

“They would not give us an exact reason for the action but did say that Life was against the values of Lambeth Council and was not in line with the causes the council has been funding and supporting. However they were then unable to tell us what those values were,” a statement from the charity said.

Over the course of that weekend, Lambeth councilor Ed Davie alleged in a tweet that Life “wasn’t officially allowed” to be at the event, was “not on the approved list of exhibitors,” and that he would “make sure” they were not permitted to remain through Sunday.

In a subsequent tweet, Davie further alleged that Life had used “inaccurate information” in their application to exhibit at the show. Lambeth Council’s official Twitter account repeated that allegation later that day. Life demanded an apology and announced they were taking legal action against the council.

Life, which offers information and support to women in crisis pregnancies, and also provides accommodation for homeless pregnant women, said they had explicitly described themselves as “a pro-life charity” in their application for the event.

Their submission to Lambeth Council included pictures of similar stalls they had run at past events.

Speaking at the time, Life’s director of education Ann Scanlan said that “nothing on our stall was offensive. There were lifelike fetal models and pictures of the unborn baby at different gestational stages which can be seen on any pregnancy website, including the National Health Service.”

The eviction came at a time when pro-life speech was under sustained pressure from local government action. Several authorities, including the London borough of Ealing, moved to ban pro-life vigils near abortion clinics. The Ealing ban was upheld against an appeal to the High Court.

In September, U.K. Home Secretary Sajid Javid said that he would not be instituting a national ban on demonstrations near abortion facilities. Javid said that, although the proposal had support across different political parties, it would not be “proportional response.”

Tiananmen Square to St. Peter’s Square: Who are the Chinese bishops at the synod?

Vatican City, Oct 17, 2018 / 08:40 am (CNA).- While Chinese Bishop Joseph Guo Jincai is new to the Vatican’s Synod of Bishops, he has served three terms as a deputy to the National People’s Congress in Beijing.

 

As a member of China’s legislative body, Bishop Guo publicly supported an amendment to eliminate presidential term limits and enshrine “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era” in the Chinese Constitution in March 2018.

 

Weeks after his excommunication was lifted last month as a part of an agreement between China and the Holy See, Bishop Guo garnered attention in Rome as one of the first Chinese bishops to ever participate in an ecclesial synod, along with Bishop Yang Xiaoting of Yan'an.

 

Pope Francis opened the synod with a greeting for the two Chinese arrivals, saying that “the communion of the entire episcopate with the Successor of Peter is yet more visible thanks to their presence."

 

The two Chinese bishops took part in the synod on young people, the faith, and vocation.

 

Young people in China face unique challenges in relation to faith. For example, due to a change in the Chinese government’s religious oversight earlier this year, it is now illegal for anyone under 18 years old to enter a church or religious building.

 

Bishop Guo told Chinese state media  that he did not see any conflict between his role as a legislator and a bishop as the National People’s Congress convened last March.

 

“My position as a national legislator will not and cannot affect my religious service, as China implements the principle of separation of church and State," Guo told the state-sponsored newspaper Global Times.

 

The Global Times reported that Guo went on to say that Catholics must adapt to socialist society in order to survive and develop in China, and a fundamental requirement for this is to be patriotic.

 

This echoes President Xi Jinping’s repeated comments that all religion in China must “Sinicize” or adapt to Chinese culture and society as defined by the state. In 2016, Xi told Chinese Communist Party leaders that they must “resolutely guard against overseas infiltrations via religious means.”

 

For decades, China’s 12 million Catholics have been split between an underground Catholic Church in full communion with the Holy See, sometimes subject to government persecution, and the government-run Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, whose bishops are appointed by the Communist government and have sometimes been ordained without papal approval.

 

Bishop Guo serves as secretary-general for the Bishops’ Conference of the Catholic Church in China (BCCCC). Bishop Yang, the other Chinese synod delegate, serves as its vice-president.

 

This Chinese “episcopal conference” was deemed illegitimate in Pope Benedict XVI’s 2007 letter to Catholics in China because it is “governed by statutes that contain elements incompatible with Catholic doctrine.” It is unclear whether the Sept. 22 agreement between the Holy See and China recognized the Chinese government’s bishops’ conference as legitimate.

 

Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said the objective of the September accord is “not political but pastoral” and will allow “the faithful to have bishops who are in communion with Rome but at the same time recognized by Chinese authorities.”

 

Yang was ordained a bishop with both papal approval and government recognition in July 2010. The Yan’an bishop studied theology in Rome, obtaining a doctorate in 1999.

 

“As the family made up of husband and wife is always united, so is the Church, which is one, holy, catholic and apostolic. In Italy, in China or in other countries, the love of Christ is always the same. Pope Francis, who knows very well our situation in the Catholic Church in China, does not want to leave us, does not want to separate us from the universal Church,” Yang said at a Roman parish on Oct. 7, SIR, a news agency sustained by the Italian bishops’ conference, reported.
 

“I still ask you for help for this Church in China. Our Church is like a child, it is not very mature, so we need your accompaniment, your help and your prayer, always in the love of the Lord,” Yang continued after celebrating Mass at Santa Maria ai Monti.

 

Before leaving the synod early on Oct. 15 without explanation, the two Chinese bishops had the opportunity to speak with Pope Francis and invite him to visit China.

 

Guo and Yang stayed in Vatican City’s Santa Marta guesthouse, where “we could live together in daily life with the pope,” Bishop Guo told Avvenire, the newspaper of the Italian bishops conference, in an interview published Oct. 16.

 

“We could speak with familiarity as children with their father. He told us that he loves us, loves our country and always prays a lot to Christians in China,” Guo said.

Pope Francis: To hate is to kill in the heart

Vatican City, Oct 17, 2018 / 03:22 am (CNA/EWTN News).- A person may not have killed someone, but if they are angry or have hate toward another person, it is like they have killed him or her in their heart, Pope Francis said Wednesday.

To insult or hate someone, or to have contempt, is a way of “killing the dignity of a person,” the pope said Oct. 17.

One may think: “I’m fine because I do not do anything wrong,” but he or she is deceiving themselves, he continued. “A mineral or a plant, or the sampietrini stones in the piazza, have this kind of existence, a person – a man or a woman – no.”

“More is required of a man or woman,” he stated. “Human life needs love.”

Pope Francis continued his series of messages on the Ten Commandments at the general audience with a reflection on Christ’s teachings about anger and its connection to the fifth commandment: You shall not kill.

Francis referenced the Gospel of Matthew, when Jesus is teaching his disciples on the mountain, and says: “You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, ‘You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment.”

In this passage, the pope explained, Jesus reveals to his followers that “before God’s court, even anger against a brother is a form of murder.”

Jesus also says that, by the same logic, insult and contempt are sins too, he added, pointing out how often people are accustomed to insulting others, even commenting sometimes that so-and-so “is dead to me.”  

To do so is like killing them in your heart, the pope said: “Jesus says stop!”

Pope Francis said the commandment to not kill is more than an order against bad actions, it is also “an appeal to love and mercy, it is a call to live according to the Lord Jesus, who gave his life for us and rose for us.”

“And what is authentic love? It is what Christ showed us, that is, mercy. The love we cannot do without is the one that forgives, which welcomes those who have harmed us.”

Pope Francis advised Catholics, before the start of Mass, to strive to be reconciled with anyone they have a problem with and to fight against the temptation to be indifferent toward their fellow human beings.

He pointed to Cain in the Old Testament, who said after he killed his brother Abel, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” This is how killers speak, the pope emphasized: “Are we the keepers of our brothers? Yes, we are! We are the keepers of each other!”

There is more to a person than his or her physical body – there is the spirit, he added, saying that even “an inappropriate phrase is enough to violate the innocence of a child.”

He concluded by urging Catholics to give thanks to Jesus, “the author of life.” In Christ, “in his love [which is] stronger than death, and through the power of the Spirit that the Father gives us, we can welcome the Word ‘Do not kill’ as the most important and essential appeal: to not kill is the call to love.”

In fight against hunger, Pope says ‘beautiful words’ must lead to collective action

Vatican City, Oct 16, 2018 / 05:00 pm (CNA).- Feeding the hungry requires combined action and political will to provide real help for the poor, Pope Francis has said.

 

In an Oct. 16 letter marking World Food Day, Pope Francis said that words needed become actions in the effort to eliminate poverty and hunger.

 

“We do indeed have the adequate means and framework so that beautiful words and good wishes may become an action plan of substance that leads effectively to the eradication of hunger in our world,” the Pope said Tuesday.

 

“To this end we need joint efforts, upright hearts, and persistent concern to firmly and resolutely make the other’s problem one’s own.”

 

There are “immense obstacles” to solving problems, and barriers that are “the fruit of indecision or delays, and a lack of enthusiasm on the part of responsible political leaders who are often absorbed purely by electoral concerns or are focused on biased, transitory or limited perspectives,” he said.

 

The pope’s message for World Food Day was sent to José Graziano da Silva, director general of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. This year’s World Food Day aims for a zero-hunger world by the year 2030.

 

In the letter, the pontiff advocated policies for the real needs of the poor, especially regarding levels of agricultural production, access to food markets, and other initiatives and actions. He stressed the need to realize that all countries are “equal in dignity” when it comes to making decisions.

 

“What is needed is the willingness to end hunger, and this ultimately will not happen without a moral conviction that is shared by all peoples and all religious persuasions, where the integral good of the person is at the heart of all initiatives and consists in ‘doing to another what we would want done to ourselves’.”

 

“We are speaking of an action based on solidarity among all nations and of the means that express the disposition of the people,” he said, stressing that it is imperative for civil society, media, and educational institutions to join forces.

 

“From now until 2030 we have 12 years to set up initiatives that are vigorous and consistent; not giving in to occasional spurts or intermittent and fleeting headlines, but rather facing up unremittingly to hunger and its causes in a spirit of solidarity, justice and consistency,” the Pope continued.

 

“The poor expect from us an effective help that takes them out of their misery, not mere propositions or agreements that, after studying in a detailed way the roots of their misery, bear as their fruit only solemn events, pledges that never materialize, or impressive publications destined only to enlarge library catalogues,” he said.

 

One in nine people around the world lack enough food to eat, according to Catholics Confront Global Poverty, a joint initiative of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Catholic Relief Services, said that

 

The initiative has expressed its frustration at the failure of the Congressional Farm Bill Conference Committee to finalize the “critical piece of legislation” and pass it into law before it expired on Sept. 30.

 

Catholics Confront Global Poverty is calling on Catholics and others to contact their lawmakers to ensure that “critical improvements” to international food security programs are present in the final version of the bill.

 

Catholic Relief Services is the largest private distributor of U.S. food aid in response to immediate emergencies including drought, flooding, or war or conflict. The agency also has land management and conservation programs to preserve and expand productive farmland.

 

While the pope’s remarks addressed global policy priorities and solutions for poverty and hunger, Joseph Cullen, a spokesperson for the Knights of Columbus, said the fraternal organization and its 1.9 million members worldwide are among those working to fight hunger directly, both overseas and close to home.

 

“We often forget that many people in the developed world also experience hunger,” Cullen told CNA.

 

The Catholic fraternity’s Food for Families program in the U.S. and Canada has donated almost $14 million for food and 28 million pounds of food since its launch in 2012.

 

Cullen suggested that such organized volunteerism and charity is a basis for creating the will to fight hunger.

 

“Many of us are unaware on a practical level that families and individuals struggle and are unable to provide food for their families,” he said. “By conducting and publicizing Food for Families programs in our communities, the underlying problem of hunger becomes better known and understood, helping create the will to eliminate this problem.”

 

The Knights of Columbus’ Supreme Council reimburses a portion of local councils’ monetary donations to food pantries, food banks and soup kitchens. Since 2014, the organization’s aid to persecuted Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East has also included a food program component.

 

Pope Francis’ message further lamented the incongruity between technological advancement and continued problems with hunger.

 

“In this twenty-first century that has seen considerable advances in the field of technology, science, communications and infrastructure, we ought to feel shame for not having achieved the same advances in humanity and solidarity, and so satisfy the primary needs of the most disadvantaged,” he said in his World Food Day message.

 

“Neither can we console ourselves simply for having faced emergencies and desperate situations of those most in need. We are all called to go further. We can and we must do better for the helpless. We must move to concrete action, so that the scourge of hunger disappears completely.”

'We need to show young people what holiness looks like' Gomez tells synod

Vatican City, Oct 16, 2018 / 04:30 pm (CNA).- Young people should look to the “saints of our times,” as models of holiness, Archbishop José Gomez told the Synod of Bishops on Tuesday. The Archbishop of Los Angeles highlighted the example of the seven recently canonized saints in his speech to the assembly.

 

Gomez spoke Oct. 16 during the fifteenth ordinary general assembly of the Synod of Bishops, currently meeting in Rome to discuss young people, the faith, and vocational discernment. The session continues until Oct. 28.

 

In looking to saints, of which there are examples from “every continent,” young people will be inspired to live their vocation as “everyday saints” in their own unique way, Archbishop Gomez said. He also called on his brother bishops to be a model of sainthood for young people.

 

“We need to show young people what holiness looks like, by living the Gospel we preach, proclaiming Jesus Christ by the way we live. We need to call young people to be saints — and we need to be saints ourselves,” he said.

 

Gomez emphasized that calling young people to “conversion and new life in Christ” should be a priority in the synod’s final conclusions, and that the Church is called to serve and accompany young people on that journey.

 

This involves, he said, setting an example of how to pray, helping young people meet the Lord in the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Confession, encouraging them to perform works of mercy for the poor, and cultivating a devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

 

“Sadly, young people today do not know how to live authentic human lives because the adults of our secular society have not shown them the way,” Gomez said.

 

“The vision for life offered to young people in Western societies does not call them to goodness or beauty or truth. Instead, what is offered are various life ‘styles’ and alternatives for self-creation rooted in the restless consumption of material comforts, virtual entertainments, and passing pleasures,” he said.

 

The archbishop said that in his conversations with young people in his own diocese he came to see that the Church did offer the answers they were seeking.

 

"In the Incarnation of the Son of God and in his Passion and Resurrection, we see revealed the dignity and destiny of the human person, created in God’s image and called to live by his Spirit as a child of God and to be saints — to be holy as our Father in heaven is holy,” Gomez said.

 

Archbishop Gomez, along with seven auxiliary bishops, leads the largest archdiocese in the country, with over 4 million Catholics out of a total population of over 11 million.

Catholic U. professor leads response to French president’s remark on large families

Washington D.C., Oct 16, 2018 / 04:30 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Following a comment by President Emmanuel Macron, in which he expressed skepticism that any well-educated woman would decide to have many children, women with large families have been using the “#PostcardsForMacron” hashtag to send the French president pictures of their happy families.

Speaking about high fertility rates in Africa during a Gates Foundation “Goalkeepers” event held in New York City Sept. 25-26, Macron compared having a large family with forcing a girl to be married as a child.

Macron stated that when women are educated, they do not have many children.

“I always say: ‘Present me the woman who decided, being perfectly educated, to have seven, eight or nine children,” said Macron.

“Please present me with the young girl who decided to leave school at 10 in order to be married at 12.’”

In response, many women took issue with the French president’s apparent disbelief that academically successful women would choose to be mothers of several children.

Dr. Catherine R. Pakaluk, a professor of social research and economics at the Catholic University of America, started the hashtag by sharing a photo of herself and six of her eight children.

Postcards for Macron #postcardsforMacron pic.twitter.com/fmX1vzITpv

— Catherine R Pakaluk (@CRPakaluk) October 16, 2018 She followed up that tweet explaining that she holds both a Master’s degree and a Ph.D. from Harvard University and has, as she phrased it, “Eight children by choice.”

Her post garnered thousands of views, and other women followed her lead, including Beth Hockel, a “Stanford graduate, electrical engineer, mom of 11.”  

Stanford graduate, electrical engineer, mom of 11.  #postcardsforMacron pic.twitter.com/Gl1Py63j7v

— Beth Hockel (@ehockel1) October 16, 2018 Catholic writer Elizabeth Foss shared a picture of her nine children, saying “Yes, they’re all mine. And so is my (University of Virginia) degree.”

Yes, they’re all mine. And so is my UVa degree. #postcardsforMacron pic.twitter.com/dROzkKq1md

— elizabeth foss (@elizabethfoss) October 16, 2018 Men joined in as well, sharing pictures of their wives and their own mothers.

“Check out my educated and inspiring wife and mom of 7,” tweeted writer Josh Canning, along with a picture of his family.  

#DearEmmanuelMacron check out my educated and inspiring wife and mom of 7. #postcardsforMacron pic.twitter.com/Ucp5eizIMa

— Josh Canning (@CatholicJosh) October 16, 2018 Several people pointed out that philosopher Elizabeth Anscombe was a mother of seven, and yet still taught at Oxford and Cambridge.

Dear @EmmanuelMacron This is the Oxford and Cambridge philosopher Elizabeth Anscombe. She is widely considered one of the greatest 20th century philosophers. She had seven children. #PostcardsforMacron pic.twitter.com/slZZptPsGv

— Samuel Gregg (@DrSamuelGregg) October 16, 2018 While Macron made the remarks at the end of September, his comments on family size gained media traction on Monday, following a report in the Guardian newspaper.

Macron himself does not have any children, but his wife has three children from her first marriage.

The Macrons met when the future French president was 15 years old, his future wife Brigitte Trogneux was his teacher.

Radical feminists attack church and town hall in Argentina

Buenos Aires, Argentina, Oct 16, 2018 / 03:30 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Radical feminists firebombed a town hall and spray painted a Catholic Church in Argentina. The series of attacks came during a women’s conference held in the Patagonia region this past weekend.

The conference was the 33rd National Women's Encounter held October 13-15 in the city of Trelew in Chubut province, and focused primarily on promoting abortion and so-called gender ideology.

On October 14, participants in the conference marched through the streets of Trelew with signs in favor of legalized abortion and the separation of church and state. During the demonstration, a group of bare-chested feminists stood in front of Mary Help of Christians parish and attacked Trelew town hall with Molotov cocktail firebombs.

The women also attacked other public buildings with bombs, stones, and graffiti. The police and locals eventually managed to control the mob and ten women were arrested.

Police also had to shut down two gas stations for selling gasoline to young women who were suspected to be collecting gasoline for the Molotov cocktails.

This incident is one of numerous attacks on Catholic churches since the Argentinian senate rejected a bill legalizing abortion in August of this year.

In September, a Catholic school in the town of San Justo had hate messages spray painted on it, and students at different universities have forcibly removed religious images from their campuses, saying that they demand legalized abortion and the separation of church and state.

Forty years later, Polish bishops revisit election of Pope John Paul II

Warsaw, Poland, Oct 16, 2018 / 02:30 pm (CNA).- The Polish bishops’ conference is celebrating the anniversary of the election of St. John Paul II. October 16 marks 40 years since Cardinal Karol Wojtyla’s rise to the throne of St. Peter.

 

Archbishop Józef Michalik of Przemyśl, who was the rector of the Polish College in Rome at the time of the 1978 conclaves - the second of which elected Wojtyla, gave his personal insight into the days following up to the election of Pope John Paul II.

 

“We joked, commented on the press reports and, sometimes, spoke seriously,” said Archbishop Michalik in an account released by the Polish Bishops’ Conference to mark the anniversary.

 

Cardinal Wojtyla had joined the college often for meals and daily prayers before the conclave began.

 

“The Cardinal always took these jokes and conversations with a smile, and sometimes he responded with humor,” he said.

 

He addressed the days following the death of Pope John Paul I, who had passed away from a heart attack 33 days after his election to the papacy. He highlighted the apparent interest of the other cardinals toward Cardinal Wojtyla’s election.

 

Archbishop Michalik had welcomed Cardinal Wojtyla at the airport shortly before the conclave. On their way to the view the body of Pope John Paul I at St. Peter’s Basilica, he asked the soon-to-be pope how many cardinal’s he had not known.

 

“Cardinal [Wojtyla] thought about it and replied: seven. For me, it was an indirect answer, that there is actually no other Cardinal who would know personally only seven Cardinals. This indicated that our Cardinal's chances were serious in the upcoming conclave,” said Archbishop Michalik.

 

The Polish bishops' conference said Wojtyla was a major figure in the Church, who participated in synods, led retreats for the Roman Curia, and was a friend of Pope Paul VI.

 

Archbishop Michalik said, though Cardinal Wojtyla was a respected clergymen and scholar, the polish saint had remained humble.

 

The Polish bishops’ release included the anecdote that, on the day of the conclave, “one of the priests spontaneously prayed that Cardinal Karol Wojtyla would become pope.” Cardinal Wojtyla responded with prayer, invoking the words of Christ in the Gospel of Matthew: “Get out of my sight, Satan,” the future pope is quoted as responding.

 

“Finally, he added his own intention, asking that God’s servant, who would accept the choice with humility and accomplish God’s will, be chosen,” the statement added.

 

Immediately following the election of Pope John Paul II, the Polish College gathered in the chapel and sang the Te Deum, “giving thanks for this event and…recommending the new Pope to God,” said Archbishop Michalik.

 

The Polish bishops’ conference highlighted a conversation between John Paul II and Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński, who had suggested the name John Paul II to the new pope.

 

“Primate Stefan Wyszyński asked John Paul II how he felt here in the Vatican, and the Pope replied: ‘As if I have always been here.’ ‘This is the grace of God, the grace of the state,’ commented Cardinal Wyszyński,” according to the statement.