"Secret" interview with John Paul II published in Italy

The Italian daily La Stampa has published a "secret interview" granted by John Paul II in 1988, in which the late Pontiff addressed a variety of issues, including Communism.

CLICK HERECatholic News Agency reports that Pope John Paul granted the interview to Polish journalist Jas Gawronski on 11 October 1988, during a dinner at the Vatican, but because of a direct request by the Holy Father in the following days, it was not published.

"The interview has remained secret for all these years," said Gawronski. He said that during his discussions with the Pope, the Holy Father gave an extensive analysis of the state of Communism in the 80"s, noting especially that "even African countries are seeking to forsake the Soviets and their ideology. They no longer want to have anything to do with the inefficiency and unproductiveness of this system. Perestroika means mainly one thing: how to get free from this system."

"Some have said," John Paul continued, "that in general Stalin had greater leadership qualities than Hitler. From the moral point of view, both are reprehensible. If Stalin has been better judged, it is simply because Communism had a more profoundly sustained program than National Socialism. National Socialism and Fascism, which were very closely related, were inhumane ideologies, as well as simplistic and superficial. Communism was and will always be recognized as a system that promotes a greater social justice," John Paul II said during the interview.

Asked about the reform efforts of Soviet President Mikail Gorbachov, John Paul II responded, "It would a true shame if his reform were blocked. One can express doubt and question his plans for reform, but they are undoubtedly a new development. If we compare Gorbachov with his predecessors, there is an enormous difference. The conservative forces, in the Soviet sense of the term, are powerful and profoundly interested in conserving the situation just as it is. They want to maintain the status quo of their safe and privileged life," the Pope stated.

In October of 1993, Gawronski obtained another interview with John Paul II. "The World of John Paul II" became the title of a book in which Gawronski presented a biographical sketch of the Polish Pope and published a documented synthesis of his position on various problems facing the world at that time.

"Secret interview" with John Paul II published in Italy (Catholic News Agency 4/10/05)

Poland and The Pope: Shedding new light on John Paul II"s views (Newsweek 10/10/05)

5 Oct 2005