Before he was saint: An L.A. interview with Cardinal Wojtyla

During his 1976 visit to Los Angeles, Cardinal Karol Wojtyla was interviewed by Tidings editor Al Antczak.

During his 1976 visit to Los Angeles, Cardinal Karol Wojtyla (the future St. John Paul II) was interviewed by Tidings editor Al Antczak at Our Lady of the Bright Mount Church, where he celebrated Mass on Aug. 29. Following are excerpts from the 20-minute interview, published in The Tidings on Sept. 3, 1976.

On religious freedom:

“In Poland we are always demanding true religious freedom. That is the fundamental topic of our conversations with the Polish government….If I say we are demanding full religious freedom, that means we are not now satisfied. But, if we are able to demand more freedom, that means something too.”

On abortion in Poland:

“Abortion is legal in Poland,” he said. “Its consequences are dangerous, not only for Christian morality and family, but also for the nation. Abortion violates the fifth commandment. Thou shalt not kill….

“If children know their parents can kill one of them, and if they have already killed one of them, that is a tragic diminution of family stability.”

On “new morality”:

“The new morality is incompatible with the dignity of man and woman. Married life demands a fruitful continuity. How can human dignity be conserved if a woman is a mere object of use?

“This danger of permissive morality is everywhere; it’s in our own country. What is needed is a deeper preparation for marriage, a better consciousness and preparation.

“Freedom is not that I can do what I want, but to realize and know true good and then choose the true good.”


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