Fr. Sławomir Oder: From the beginning I was convinced of the holiness of John Paul II



It has been many years, and today we see that attempts to break the John Paul II life history -notes the postulator in the canonization process of the Polish Pope.  As he adds, there is no room for “ambiguity, doubt or criticism” of the Holy Father in the documentation of the process. Fr. Sławomir Oder spoke about this in Wadowice at the meeting “We remember him that way”, organized by the Museum of the John Paul II Family Home.


The future Postulator has the meeting that happened on Holy Thursday in 1992 in the deepest part of his heart.  John Paul II during the mandatum rite washed the feet of the priests, among whom was Fr. Oder. -It was a gesture that to this day causes my deep emotion.  It was an authentic gesture to which was entirely engaged, and I felt really like Peter, who spoke to Jesus: “You will never wash my feet.” The gesture of washing the feet of the young priest was a gesture of loving the priesthood, respect for every priest – recalls Fr. Oder.


– I was also present at the St. Peter’s Square, at the moment when the Pope was going to the House of the Father and I remember everything that was happening there – he was saying.  He recalled the silence which then fell on the Vatican. “I was then the Rector of the St. Benedict Joseph Labre Church. When he died, children when running on the streets of Rome and shouting, “The Holy One died! The Saint died!”  There, on the St. Peter’s Square, I felt the same. I wanted to yell: “Holy died!”, but I had no courage – he admitted. He could not pray for the soul of the Holy Father. – I was telling him: “Now when you are in heaven, remember this and that” – and, I was presenting the entire litany of the needs and desires of my heart – he recalled.


He learned that he is the Postulator of the John Paul II’s beatification and canonization process during the short conversation with Cardinal Camillo Ruini, at that time, the Vicar General Of the Diocese of Rome – He simply told me: “You will be a Postulator” – said the priest.


Pope Benedict XVI asked him to work “fast, but well”.  – The external pressure to end it as soon as possible was one of the difficulties in this process.  The expectations were enormous. There were voices to depart from the procedure and follow the church’s ancient tradition to announce the holiness of John Paul II by acclamation – the priest recalled.  The conditions were there as the entire world waited for it, but Benedict XVI decided to follow a normal course of the process. In hindsight, we can see that this was a prudent, wise, and far-sighted decision.  The process allowed our profound conviction of the holiness of John Paul II to be objective- emphasized the Postulator.


As he noted, not too many years passed and today we see that there are the attempts to falsify the history.  He recalled the words form Fr. Arkadiusz Nocoń’s homily delivered at the tomb of John Paul II, who said that today “there are attempts to re-write the biography of the Pope with the hand of Beelzebub.”  The process passed to the history the entire documentation, in which there is no room for ambiguity, doubt, or the possibility of any criticism – convinced Fr. Oder.


-The Promoter of Justice was also working on this and his task was to pick out everything that could lie in a shadow on the conviction of the holiness of John Paul II, explained Fr. Oder.  As he stressed, most people loved and admired the Pope, but there were people who “did not share the same theological thought and the way he exercised the power.” However, there was never any doubt about John Paul II’s personal holiness.