Stanisław Dziwisz

Stanisław Dziwisz


Stanisław Jan Dziwisz (Stanislas in French), born April 27, 1939 in Raba Wyżna in Poland, is a Polish cardinal, Metropolitan Archbishop of Krakow from 2005 to 2016.


Youth and study

Stanisław Dziwisz is the fifth in a family of seven children, five boys and two girls.

Her father, Stanisław, was a railroad employee, and her mother, Zofia, brought up her children in a framework of evangelical charity.

Stanisław Sr. died suddenly during the war, hit by a train when he was only thirty-nine years old.

After primary school, Stanisław Jr. entered Nowy Targ high school where the priestly vocation came to his mind. When he came of age, he entered the seminary in 1957, where he had Father Karol Wojtyła, future John Paul II, for several years as professor of moral theology. A brilliant student, he was quickly noticed by Karol Wojtyła.


He was ordained by Mgr Wojtyła, auxiliary bishop of Krakow, on June 23, 1963 and sent as vicar in the parish of Maków Podhalański (pl).

Two years passed and he left the parish to resume his studies. He began a research work in license, then in doctorate devoted to the worship of Saint Stanislaus in the diocese of Krakow.

Then in October 1966, he was summoned by Mgr Wojtyła, then new Archbishop of Krakow. “As soon as I was in front of him, the Archbishop looked me in the eyes and said: ‘You will come to my house. You can continue your studies and you will help me.’ I asked him: “When?” “Today.” “1

Stanisław Dziwisz obtained a degree in theology from the Krakow faculty in 1967, followed by a doctorate in theology in 1981.

Father Dziwisz was therefore hired by Bishop Wojtyła as secretary and he followed him to the Vatican from his election to the throne of Peter in 1978 until his death on April 2, 2005.


John Paul II consecrated him bishop on March 19, 1998. A very discreet and entirely devoted character, he never made any public statement before his consecration.

John Paul II appointed him to be his executor. As such, he had to destroy all the notes of the late pope, but admitted that he could not bring himself to do so, believing that “everything should be preserved, kept for history, for future generations” 2.

Benedict XVI appointed him Metropolitan Archbishop of Krakow on June 3, 2005, a few weeks after the death of John Paul II. He took office on August 27, 2005 in front of 80,000 worshipers at a ceremony in Wawel Cathedral. He retired from his episcopal office on December 8, 2016 at the age of seventy-seven.


Stanisław Dziwisz was created cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI during the consistory of March 24, 2006 with the title of cardinal-priest of Saint Mary of the People.

He takes part in the 2013 conclave which elects François.

On June 23, 2013, he solemnly consecrated the John Paul II sanctuary in Krakow.

In July 2016, he welcomed the Holy Father to his city on the occasion of World Youth Days.

On April 27, 2019, he reached the age limit which prevented him from participating in the votes of a future conclave.

Cardinal Dziwisz, former secretary of John Paul II, targeted by many accusations.

The facts Aired Monday, November 9 in Poland, a documentary implicates Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, suspected of having covered two cases of sexual abuse. While his name comes up repeatedly in the McCarrick report released the next day, he denies any breach.

The former secretary of John Paul II, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, until now respected in Poland for his closeness of nearly forty years with the Pope, sees his image seriously tarnished by a documentary, broadcast Monday evening November 9, who accuses him of having covered cases of pedophilia.

Emotion in Poland around a documentary on the former right-hand man of John Paul II

Retired Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, private secretary to the late Pope, is suspected of covering up pedophile acts and sexual assault by members of the clergy, including in the Vatican.

Was Polish Pope John Paul II aware of pedophilia cases involving priests in various countries around the world and transmitted to the Vatican while he was officiating there, from 1978 until his death in 2005? The documentary Don Stanislao. The other face of Cardinal Dziwisz, broadcast in Poland on Monday November 9, does not answer this question, but throws a harsh light on the one who perhaps holds the key to the enigma: Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, John’s private secretary Paul II for the duration of his pontificate.

Now 81 years old, the man could spend peaceful days in his prestigious residence in Krakow, seat of the archdiocese he led between 2005 and 2016, and where Karol Wojtyla – the future John Paul II – had cut his teeth. When other Polish hierarchs are accused of making a pact with the national-conservative government to carry out their program and obtain in particular the ban on abortion, the good-natured face of Stanislaw Dziwisz remains associated, in a large part of the population, with the he “open” and liberal wing of the Church as well as to John Paul II, still revered in his native country.

However, in recent years the retired archbishop has been caught up with accusations of appeasement against priests suspected of sexual abuse and pedophilia, both during his long stay in the Vatican and after his return to Krakow. If the documentary of the television channel TVN24 does not bring new revelation or unprecedented testimony, it relates to cases which tarnish the debonair image of the cardinal and go so far as to sow doubt on what John Paul II really knew about pedophilia records.

Very strong influence

Often presented as the “man in the shadows” of the Pope because of his discretion, his dedication, and his friendship for Karol Wojtyla, whose destiny he had shared since the 1960s, Stanislaw Dziwisz would have started to acquire in the 1990s a very strong influence as the health of John Paul II deteriorated. Along with Secretary of State Angelo Sodano, the two cardinals were said to have acted as filters deciding what information reached the Supreme Pontiff.

Stanislaw Dziwisz, March 12, 2013. GABRIEL BOUYS, GABRIEL

In the documentary, Stanislaw Dziwisz is even accused of having monetized the organization of hearings with his superior, in particular for the benefit of personalities such as the American Theodore McCarrick and the Mexican Marcial Maciel Degollado. Thanks to these meetings, the former leaves the obscure archbishopric of Newark (New Jersey) to become Archbishop of Washington, while the latter obtains the support of the Pope for his congregation – the sulphurous Legion of Christ. The two men were already facing charges of sexual abuse by then.

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