John Paul ordered the notes burned after his death and put his trusted confidant, the Rev Stanislaw Dziwisz, in charge of the task.
To everyone’s surprise, Dziwisz, now a cardinal, said recently that he “did not have the courage” to destroy the notes and is having them published as a precious insight into the inner life of the beloved pontiff, who will be declared a saint in April.
The book — Very Much in God’s Hands. Personal Notes 1962-2003 — comes out in Poland today.
Criticism so far has outpaced praise.
It contains religious meditations that Karol Wojtyla recorded between July 1962 and March 2003 — spanning a period in which he went from being a bishop in Poland to a globe-trotting superstar pope.
The decision to publish does not go against papal infallibility.
The entire hard-cover book of some 640 pages, with photos of the pope and of the notebooks’ pages, contains deeply religious, compact, sometimes cryptic ideas or trains of thought that spring from citations from the Bible.