And it happened what Karol Wojtyła was afraid of. After exhausting the possibility of a re-election of an Italian – after a burdensome and futile confrontation between the Archbishop of Florence, Giovanni Benelli and the Archbishop of Genoa Giuseppe Siri – quickly they started to gather votes for another candidate. Cardinal Franz König – a personage, the Archbishop of Vienna, who had great authority and who had a great network of friends – was involved in it from the beginning. So this way, during the eighth vote, collecting almost a hundred votes, the Archbishop of Kraków was elected. The Cardinals decided to choose a man from a distant country, from behind the Iron Curtain, the first Slavic Pope, and the first non-Italian Pope after almost five centuries. I was on the square at that time, next to the Vatican Basilica, when I heard his name spoken by Cardinal Pericle Felici. For a moment I was afraid that my heart would burst. I shouted like crazy, but everyone around me shouted, so I could not hear myself. I thought about him, dressed in white. I thought about my Poland, which was surely celebrating, surprised, shocked to the living. And, I have to admit, I was thinking maliciously about the words of the first secretary of the communist party in Silesia, who referring to the fact that Cardinal Wojtyła traveled with a tourist passport, after they took away his diplomatic one, said: “Let him go, let him go to the Conclave, we will charge him after his return.” If I could, I would send a telegram to that first secretary: “I am sorry, but God’s Providence had other plans…”
From the place where I was standing, I could not see him well when he was approaching the loggia of the Basilica, but I was able to hear him very well. I was hearing his voice: “Let Jesus Christ be praised” and people answered loudly: “Forever and ever. Amen.” I was crying and maybe that is why I missed some parts of his speech. However, I did not miss the last words. No, those I have not lost: “If I will make mistake, correct me.” And, there he made a small mistake. People were laughing, applauding and cheering. I was looking around and crying. But, I was happy, extremely happy. However, people on the square were not aware of what happened earlier. When the procession with the newly elected Pope was approaching the loggia, the entire time the main ceremonial was convincing the new Pope only to give his blessings. And, the new Pope was responding that it would be better to say a few words to the people. And, so on until he reached the loggia. The main ceremonial with a serious face, determined to respect the tradition. And the new Pope, who looking at the gathered crowd, took away the residual doubts and spoke. He made a small, minor “departure”, but very, very eloquent. At least for those of the Curia, who were attentive to every detail, to understand from which side the wind is blowing.
At the permission of Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz – “At the side of the Saint”
St. Stanislaus BM Publisher, Kraków 2013