Who the hell are you to disregard the man's wishes?

Stanislaw Dziwisz takes it upon himself to wilfully disregard the directive of Karol Wojtyla, despite the instructions in the decendent’s will. I find this to be profoundly offensive, given Dziwisz position as longtime private secretary.

This is not about Catholicism, it’s about doing what the fuck you were told to do. I swear I’ll work some evil karma on the folks responsible for dealing with my estate if they don’t handle it as directed.

Psst! Your link doesn’t work.

This is currently being discussed in GD also, but with a little less cursing.

The unanswered question thus far is: Did the late pontiff’s directive run contrary to official Catholic Church policy?

Dunno Guin-it works fine for me and it’s not a site that requires registration.

I understand what you’re saying Qadgop. At the same time, what is the purpose of drafting a last will and testament if the executor takes it upon him or herself to ignore the verity and force of the document? This violates issues of trust and sensibility, IMHO. If you place sufficient faith in me to name me as executor, I’ll comply with your desires, whether or not I personally agree with them. I owe you nothing less.

Jackie O burned her personal letters herself right before she died. Unfortunately, the only way to ensure that your wishes are respected is to do it yourself.

I agree that the secretary should have respected the Pope’s wishes. Canonization is merely a formality. If he’s a Saint, I don’t think God cares whether the Catholic church has put its stamp of approval on it.

Okay, it’s working now, I dunno what happened.

I don’t think last wills are legally binding if they order something which is illegal, (or against official church law in such a case as this) or which is morally unacceptable to the executor, to be carried out.

I’ve been executor of a will only once, for my dad’s estate. The directions were fairly straghtforward (everything goes to Qadgop), but if he’d directed I destroy the papers he had created for the County Board of Adjustments, and the County had expected them back (since they’d paid for the work, and entrusted it to him), well I’d have considered myself morally bound to return them to the County, without clear and convincing evidence that to fail to destroy them would cause harm.

I’ve had conversation with my executor, alternate, and trustee regarding my wishes, such that we’re all on the same page. If you don’t want to do x, say so now, and I’ll replace you. Of course, neither you or I know if these wishes were known before the fact, but I’d tend to think so given the ‘long time personal secretary’ title.

How church law has a bearing is fuzzy to me. These are personal papers, akin to one’s diary, not the offered comparison of your Dad, in which your anticipated management of the papers makes sense.

Regardless of his position in the church, the gentleman is entitled to his privacy, and disrespect of his expressed directive violates my sensibilities, as well as the wishes of the deceased.

I’m not arguing with that, I feel the same way, based on what little has been posted. But what I am saying is that thus far, we lack the fullfacks on the issue.

Screw the pomp. The world is richer by having this guys shit kept intact. And I say that as one who could not care less about a single doodle he ever made.

100 years from now, the guy who “saved” this crap will be a hero.

Very well, Sir. Hopefully more data will be forthcoming in which case we may either resume the pitting or I shall apologize and withdraw the argument.

You’re right. Not all will provisions are enforceable.

This is a common statutory provision, for instance:


Franz Kafka asked that all of his writings be destroyed on his death. After his death, his friend disregarded his wishes and published them instead. If Kafka’s wishes had been fufilled, almost none of his work would be available today.

So, should his friend have obeyed his last wishes?


I suspect that there is no provision in Canon Law that specifically addresses the issue. (There could* be, of course, but I don’t ever recall hearing about it. ) Then we get to wrangle over whether there is a Vatican statute that covers wills, particularly papal wills.

In the end, I suspect that there will be a number of people who feel that ignoring such a provision is a betrayal of trust and a somewhat larger number of people (including those with the most power) who will consider it a better idea to have saved the papers than to have followed a 26 year old will. (If the issue does become a hot debate outside the SDMB, I wonder if anyone will make the case that the whims of a young pope, new to the role, might have simply been overlooked by an older pope with far more activity behind him who did not happen to re-visit his will, thinking he had everything wrapped up? I do tend to think that if he really wanted the papers destroyed, he should have taken matters into his own hands while he was healthy enough to carry it out but far enough along to know that the end was approaching. I do not offer this as an excuse or justification for Archbishop Dziwisz’s actions; I only point out the human reality of such situations.)

Perhaps he was thinking of one of the greatest regrets to historians-Queen Victoria left instructions that on her death, certain letters of her’s be burned. Her daughter Beatrice fulfilled this, but went further, completely editing the Queen’s journals with a vengence. Royal historians STILL lament this.

That’s the real essence of the matter to me tomndebb-a betrayal of trust. If I entrust you to do x after I take the big sleep, and you ignore my wishes, then you weren’t a trustworthy and honest individual in the first place, were you?

I agree with gatopescado. The historical value of these papers far, far outweighs the wishes of the deceased. And like the honorable catfish, I say that as someone who doesn’t give two shits what the papers actually contained. And, let’s face it, at this point neither does John Paul.


I have found a couple of paragraphs in the Telegraph article most troubling:

I’m not a Catholic, so my opinion in this matter doesn’t count. But if Dziwisz wants to preserve these papers to expedite his friend’s canonization, I have nothing against that; he was a lot closer to JPII than any of us, and I think that makes him better qualified than any of us to decide for himself whether or not his actions are moral ones.

What I do have a problem with is Dziwisz publishing these notes for profit, which, due to JPII’s high celebrity, is most likely inevitable. If this is the case, all such profits should be donated to charity. Disregarding a person’s last request for personal gain is wrong.