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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Archbishop José H. Gomez

As I write, I’ve just read the sad news that 90 Christians have been kidnapped from two villages in Syria. Of course we were all shocked earlier this month by the news that 21 Coptic Christians were executed in Syria — killed, as Pope Francis said, “for the mere fact of being Christians.” 

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February 28, 2015

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    “Catholics and the Civil Rights Movement”: An African American Ministry Forum with Dr. Cecilia Moore, 9:30-11:30 a.m., University Hall, 1775 1 LMU Drive, Los Angeles. 2015 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Selma March, which led to the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, a landmark achievement of the 1960s American Civil Rights Movement. With an eye towards the future, a weekend forum will be held to examine the role of American Catholicism in the Selma Campaign, its history and theology, and what it can teach us about confronting today’s social justice issues in the Church and greater American society. $40. (310) 338-2799.

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