No man was closer to Pope John Paul II than Stanislaw Dziwisz (in picture above next to him), now the Cardinal of the Cultural Center of Poland in the South Eastern university city of Krakow.
He met then bishop and later cardinal Karol Wojtyla in Krakow in 1966 and became his secretary and later, as Archbishop, the right hand of the newly elected Pope John Paul II until his death in April 2005 for 39 years. The same year he followed his friend and spiritual master and took over his former position as Archbishop of Krakow.
“John Paul II lived in God. He was looking for thoughts and God in daily life, made people happier and talked to everybody by addressing the young people. It was not so much his great personality but his living-in-God that made him strong and influential”, Dziwisz told me some years ago in Krakow.
As a defender of human rights he was a rock standing against inhuman communism in Poland.
This power of high moral authority was seen as a threat by the KGB, who tried to eliminate him in a failed shooting attempt on Saint Peter’s Square by a professional killer.
Asked about his position on the dialogue with Islam the cardinal reminded me of the meeting by John Paul II with Islamic elders in Damascus who welcomed him as ‘our Grand Mufti’.
The future depends very much on the ability of a constructive dialogue with Islam and to find values we can share.