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The Education of Karol Wojtyła

In response to:

When Priests Marry from the November 19, 2015 issue

To the Editors:

In his otherwise excellent piece on married Catholic priests Garry Wills makes two small mistakes [“When Priests Marry,” NYR, November 19, 2015]. Whether Karol Wojtyła might have studied with Paolo Dezza, SJ, I cannot say, but if he did so it was not likely to have been at the Jesuit Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. Wojtyła had studied first for the priesthood in Poland, and he later pursued his doctoral work in philosophy at the Pontifical Angelicum University, the Dominican faculty in Rome, in a period when following another course in a rival religious order’s institution would have been unheard of, and at a time when the curricula of these universities were so rigidly structured there would have been no space for elective courses elsewhere.

As far as I know, the first time that Wojtyła stepped foot in the Gregorian in any official way was in November 1979, when I was studying there and he came as Pope John Paul II to greet the rector of the university, Carlo Maria Martini, who only several weeks later was named archbishop of Milan and turned out, as the most dissident cardinal of the Wojtyła papacy, to be another Jesuit whom Wojtyła would seriously misjudge.

The other, very small, issue is that “Comunione e Liberazione”—one of the most problematic examples of the almost total collusion between the Italian state and the church, numbering among its illustrious faithful some of the sleaziest holdovers from the Berlusconi years, and enjoying a very comfortable relationship with the current government of Matteo Renzi—should be called in English “Communion [not ‘Communication’] and Liberation.”

Michael Wyatt
Stanford, California