Stanisław Dziwisz

—an office once held by John Paul II, who, many believe, groomed Dziwisz for the job.


Born in the Polish village Raba Wyżna, Dziwisz studied in local seminaries and after successful completion of theological studies was ordained priest on June 23, 1963 for the diocese of Krakow by its auxiliary bishop, Karol Józef Wojtyła. Wojtyła kept Dziwisz on staff as his personal secretary during his time as auxiliary bishop and later archbishop. When Wojtyła was elected pope, Dziwisz continued in the diocese until he was summoned once more for service as private secretary to Wojtyła.

Dziwisz was appointed titular bishop of San Leone and joint head of the Prefecture of the Papal Household on February 7, 1998. He was ordained a bishop on March 19 of that year, the principal consecrator being Pope John Paul II, and the co-consecrators Angelo Sodano, Secretary of State and Franciszek Macharski, the then Archbishop of Kraków. John Paul II elevated Dziwisz to the rank of archbishop on September 29, 2003, still having the titular see of San Leone.

Dziwisz has written a book, scheduled for release on March 4, 2008, entitled "A Life with Karol: My Forty-Year Friendship with the Man Who Became Pope".

Adjunct Prefect of the Papal Household

As John Paul's private secretary, Dziwisz issued many statements from the Vatican, occasionally clarifying situations, as in the case of "The Passion of the Christ". When John Paul was quoted as saying "It is as it was", possibly suggesting that he supported the controversial Mel Gibson movie, Dziwisz told the press that, "The Holy Father has told no one of his opinion of this film."

Many people said that John Paul and Dziwisz had a father-son like relationship. He slept in a bedroom next to that of John Paul's, was always near him during Mass, and was with him almost every waking moment. During John Paul's papacy, he became one of the most influential voices in the Vatican.

As the health of John Paul declined, some speculated that in light of being one of John Paul's most trusted aides Dziwisz may have been preparing the faithful for the worst. The Roman newspaper "Il Messaggero" reported that Archbishop Dziwisz mentioned his concern to another Polish priest. According to Vatican sources Dziwisz told the priest, "Pray for the pope, because he's getting worse." []

On March 31, 2005 John Paul's condition became serious enough that Archbishop Dziwisz administered the Anointing of the Sick to the Pope. Before the death of John Paul, Dziwisz was reported to have helped him write a message to his staff not to grieve, that he (John Paul) was happy and that they should be too.

When John Paul died on April 2, 2005, Archbishop Dziwisz was at his bedside. According to rules created by John Paul, Dziwisz packed his belongings and was forced to vacate the papal apartments before they were sealed by the camerlengo. It was believed that John Paul had hoped to appoint Archbishop Dziwisz as Archbishop of Krakow and elevate him to become a Cardinal Priest, a post and title the pope had held. A vacancy did not however occur before John Paul's death. It was Pope Benedict XVI who named Dziwisz to the post of Archbishop of Krakow, and later elevated him to cardinal.

During the Mass of Requiem on April 8 for John Paul, Archbishop Dziwisz had the honor of placing a white silk veil over the face of the Pope before the body was lowered into three separate caskets. It was the symbolic last act of service of Archbishop Dziwisz as papal secretary for John Paul.

Archbishop of Krakow

On June 3, 2005, Benedict XVI appointed Dziwisz as successor to the retiring Macharski as Archbishop of Krakow. It had been suggested that John Paul II has been grooming Dziwisz for the position and was merely waiting for Macharski to retire before making such an appointment. Benedict XVI is believed to have made the appointment as one of the last wishes of John Paul II.infobox cardinalstyles
cardinal name=Stanisław Cardinal Dziwisz
dipstyle=His Eminence
offstyle=Your Eminence
At the consistory of March 24, 2006, Archbishop Dziwisz was raised to the cardinalate, becoming the Cardinal Priest of the "Titulus S. Mariae de Populo". It is customary to name the bishops of certain important episcopal sees, such as Kraków, to the College of Cardinals. Dziwisz had also been mentioned as the possible secret cardinal "in pectore" appointed by John Paul II in 2003, but the pope took this secret to the grave. Dziwisz's elevation to the cardinalate will allow him to participate in any upcoming papal conclaves until his 80th birthday in 2019.

In May 2006, Pope Benedict named Cardinal Dziwisz to be a member of the Congregation for Catholic Education and the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.


*"A Life with Karol", Doubleday, 2008. ISBN 978-0385-52374-5


* [ Archdiocese of Krakow]
* [ Catholic Hierarchy Profile of Stanisław Dziwisz]
* [ Catholic Pages]

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