The Communist secret police knew when the late Pope John Paul II liked to shave, how many suitcases he owned, and what card games he played and with whom, decades before he was appointed pontiff.
He was put under surveillance from as early as 1946, with the regime’s attentions stepping up a level when the then Karol Wojtyla became auxiliary bishop of Krakow and later a cardinal, a conference on the late pontiff, held in Cork, heard.
Marek Lasota of the Institute of National Remembrance in Krakow said the Communist secret police identified Pope John Paul as a problematic ideological opponent to their regime in the early days of his priesthood.
“Despite all the myths that he was an actor, he proved to be a very able organiser. His very important ability was that he was able to analyse a political situation within Poland or outside Poland and see it in a proper light. He was transparent.”
Dr Lasota, who has examined letters and dossiers written by the Communist regime, said as Wojtyla’s status rose he was monitored in all his everyday activities.
The regime noted countless trivial facts such as whether he smoked or liked card games. Dr Lasota said they also kept note of his preference on alcohol drinks and toiletries and where he kept his keys.
“For example what cosmetics does Karol Wojtyla like? When does he shave? Who provides his meals? Who does his laundry?”
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