Polish archbishop urges people to keep late pontiff's letters private


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WARSAW, Poland (CNS) -- A Polish archbishop has urged people with letters from John Paul II not to publish them out of respect for the late pontiff.

"If such letters are somewhere in the family, let's keep them as a great sacredness, a kind of souvenir. Let's not put them in print," Archbishop Jozef Zycinski of Lublin said.

"Publishing papal letters is a sign of narcissism, a wish to be noticed. It suggests the Holy Father showed special trust in me by discussing particular problems in his letters. We can do without this," the archbishop said on Lublin's Radio eR.

The archbishop was reacting to controversy over the publication of the late pontiff's correspondence with a Polish psychiatrist, Wanda Poltawska, with whom the former pope enjoyed a 58-year friendship.

Speaking to the radio station, Archbishop Zycinski said the book had caused "an atmosphere of conjectures, insinuations and sharp polemics."

"The pope tried to treat all his letter writers with respect. He never rebuked them or said what they'd written was immature or unserious," said Archbishop Zycinski, whose statement was carried June 8 by Poland's Gazeta Wyborcza daily.