Stanisław Dziwisz

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Stanisław Dziwisz
Metropolitan Archbishop Emeritus of Kraków
Stanisław Dziwisz (2018)
Appointed3 June 2005
Installed27 August 2005
Term ended8 December 2016
PredecessorFranciszek Macharski
SuccessorMarek Jędraszewski
Other post(s)Cardinal-Priest of Santa Maria del Popolo (2006-)
Ordination23 June 1963
by Karol Wojtyła
Consecration19 March 1998
by Pope John Paul II
Created cardinal24 March 2006
by Pope Benedict XVI
Personal details
Stanisław Dziwisz

(1939-04-27) 27 April 1939 (age 84)
DenominationRoman Catholic
Previous post(s)
MottoSursum corda ("Lift up your hearts")
Coat of armsStanisław Dziwisz's coat of arms

Stanisław Jan Dziwisz (Polish pronunciation: [staˈɲiswav ˈdʑiviʂ];[1] born 27 April 1939) is a Polish prelate of the Catholic Church. He served as Metropolitan Archbishop of Kraków from 2005 until 2016. He was created a cardinal in 2006. He was a long-time and influential aide to Pope John Paul II, a friend of Pope Benedict XVI, and an ardent supporter of John Paul II's beatification.[2]

Early life, ordination, and priesthood[edit]

Stanisław Jan Dziwisz[3] was born in the village of Raba Wyżna to Stanisław Dziwisz, a railroad worker, and his wife, Zofia Bielarczyk.[4] The fifth of seven children, he has four brothers and two sisters.[5] During World War II, the family hid a Jewish man in their house.[5] When the younger Stanisław was only nine, his father died after being struck by a train while crossing the railroad tracks.[5] He attended the classical Secondary School (Liceum) in Nowy Targ, passing the exam of maturity in 1957.[6]

Dziwisz then entered the Major Seminary of Kraków, where he completed his studies in philosophy and theology.[6] On 23 June 1963, he was ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Kraków by its auxiliary bishop, Bishop Karol Wojtyła.[7] His first assignment was as a curate at a parish in Maków Podhalański, where he served for two years.[8] He then continued his studies at the Faculty of Theology of Kraków, specializing in liturgy and earning a Licentiate of Sacred Theology in 1967.[6] In October 1966, he was appointed by Archbishop Wojtyła, who had been elevated to Archbishop of Kraków, to serve as his personal secretary. Dziwisz remained in this position until Wojtyła's death in 2005.[9]

In addition to his duties as personal secretary, Dziwisz served as professor of liturgy at the Superior Catechetical Institute in Kraków, editor of the official newspaper of the archdiocesan curia, member and secretary of the Archdiocesan Liturgical Commission, and a member of the Presbyteral Council.[8] He also participated in the work of the Committee for the Holy Year (1974–1975) and of the Pastoral Synod of Kraków (1972–1978).[6]

Dziwisz accompanied Wojtyła to the papal conclave of August 1978, which elected Pope John Paul I.[5] Following the death of John Paul I thirty-three days later, he and Wojtyła returned for the next conclave, which elected Wojtyła as Pope John Paul II. Dziwisz was appointed his principal private secretary and served in that capacity throughout John Paul's 27-year pontificate.

In 1981 he earned a Doctor of Sacred Theology degree from the Faculty of Theology of Kraków, with a thesis entitled "The Cult of Saint Stanislaus, Bishop of Kraków, until the Council of Trent".[5]

Dziwisz was appointed titular bishop of San Leone and joint head of the Prefecture of the Papal Household on 7 February 1998. He was consecrated a bishop on 19 March of that year by Pope John Paul II with co-consecrators Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Cardinal Sodano and Cardinal-Archbishop of Kraków Franciszek Cardinal Macharski. John Paul elevated Dziwisz to the rank of archbishop on 29 September 2003.[10]

In 2004, Dziwisz appeared to be the source of a quote from John Paul endorsing the film The Passion of the Christ, which required clarification from Vatican officials because the pope never makes such endorsements.[11][12]

Death of John Paul II[edit]

Cardinal Dziwisz kisses the casket of John Paul II at the beatification Mass on 1 May 2011.

As the Vatican denied the pope's health was getting worse, the Roman newspaper Il Messaggero reported that Dziwisz had told a priest, "Pray for the pope, because he's getting worse."[13] On 31 March 2005 Dziwisz administered the Anointing of the Sick to him. Before the death of John Paul II, 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.[citation needed] In 2013, Dziwisz said that Pope John Paul II had not resigned because of his failing health because he believed "you cannot come down from the cross".[14]

When John Paul died on 2 April 2005, Dziwisz was at his bedside. According to rules created by John Paul, Dziwisz packed his belongings and vacated the papal apartments before they were sealed by the Camerlengo. During the Requiem Mass for John Paul on 8 April, Dziwisz had the honour of placing a white silk veil over the face of the Pope before the body was lowered into three separate caskets.[citation needed] It was his last act of service as papal secretary. He was one of the few people Pope John Paul mentioned in his will, writing: "and I thank him for his help and collaboration, so understanding for so many years".[15]

Metropolitan Archbishop of Krakow and cardinal[edit]

On 3 June 2005 Benedict XVI appointed Dziwisz to succeed Cardinal Macharski as Metropolitan Archbishop of Kraków.[16]

Styles of
Stanisław Dziwisz
Reference styleHis Eminence
Spoken styleYour Eminence
Informal styleCardinal

At the consistory of 24 March 2006 Dziwisz was raised to the rank of cardinal, becoming Cardinal-Priest of Santa Maria del Popolo. Dziwisz had earlier been mentioned as the possible cardinal created in pectore by John Paul II in 2003, but the identity of that person remained unknown at John Paul's death.[17]

On 6 May 2006 Pope Benedict named Dziwisz to be a member of the Congregation for Catholic Education and the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.[18]

Cardinal Dziwisz, 2010

On 26 May 2010, Dziwisz was awarded the Cardinal Bea Interfaith Award of the Anti-Defamation League. Abraham Foxman, its president, said: "Cardinal Dziwisz is a valued friend to the Jewish people and someone I know I can trust and turn to in moments of tension or controversy." Dziwisz replied:[19]

As the Bishop of Krakow, I would like to assure all of you that the Catholic Church in Poland wants to follow the example of Pope John Paul II, and courageously uncover and reject everything which makes the life of the Polish Catholics depart from the Gospel. For this reason, we note with shame that despite the unambiguous teachings of recent Popes on the appropriate attitudes of Catholics to Jews, many among us have not been able to overcome prejudices, inveterate resentments and harmful stereotypes.

In 2012 Dziwisz, as part of a broader trip, visited parishes with a significant Polish presence in the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey, in the United States.[20]

Dziwisz participated in the papal conclave in March 2013 that elected Pope Francis.[21]

On 8 December 2016, Pope Francis accepted Dziwisz' resignation as Archbishop of Kraków and named Marek Jędraszewski, Archbishop of Łódź, to succeed him.[22] On 27 April 2019 Dziwisz reached 80 years of age and became ineligible to vote in a papal conclave.

Maciel and Groër involvement[edit]

Dziwisz supported Roman Catholic priest Marcial Maciel Degollado of Mexico, the founder of the Legion of Christ and the Regnum Christi movement. Author Jason Berry wrote that Maciel spent years cultivating Vatican support by funneling money to the Vatican. Under Maciel, the Legion of Christ steered streams of money through Dziwisz to the pope and the Vatican, sums that were designated for use in relation to the pope's private Masses in the Apostolic Palace.[23] Late in Maciel's life, he was revealed to have abused boys and fathered up to six children, two of whom he allegedly abused, with at least two women.

Dziwisz was instrumental in blocking an investigation into allegations of child abuse against the late Benedictine Cardinal Hans Hermann Groër, archbishop of Vienna.[citation needed] Groer, who died in 2003, headed the Vienna archdiocese and presided over the influential Austrian episcopal conference. Groer, who always denied wrongdoing, was praised by Pope John Paul II as a faithful servant.[24] The Roman Catholic bishops of Austria, however, were of a different opinion. On the occasion of their ad limina visit to Rome in 1998, the Austrian bishops informed the Pope that they, as a college of bishops, had reached moral certainty that the allegations against Cardinal Groer had a basis in truth.[25]


In November 2020, Polish news channel TVN24 aired a documentary alleging that while Dziwisz was archbishop he failed to investigate allegations of sex abuse. A Vatican investigation by Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco cleared Dziwisz of wrongdoing in 2022.[26][27]


  • A Life with Karol, Doubleday, 2008. ISBN 978-0-385-52374-5.


  1. ^ In isolation, Stanisław is pronounced [staˈɲiswaf].
  2. ^ Israely, Jeff (10 June 2002). "The Man Behind the Pope". Time. Archived from the original on 14 April 2008.
  4. ^ Pietrzak, Michał (2011). Kronika Parafii Raba Wyżna T. I, 1835–1993. Kraków: Raba Wyżna. pp. 245–248.
  5. ^ a b c d e Dziwisz, Stanislaw (2008). A Life With Karol: My Forty-Year Friendship with the Man Who Became Pope. Doubleday. ISBN 9780385523745.
  6. ^ a b c d "DZIWISZ, Stanisław". The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church.
  7. ^ "Stanisław Cardinal Dziwisz". The Hierarchy of the Catholic Church.
  8. ^ a b "KS. KARDYNAŁ STANISŁAW DZIWISZ". Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kraków. Archived from the original on 5 March 2012. Retrieved 19 April 2010.
  9. ^ "Dziwisz Card. Stanisław". Holy See Press Office. Archived from the original on 4 September 2017. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
  10. ^ "Rinunce e Nomine, 29.09.2003" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 29 September 2003. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  11. ^ Waldmeir, John (2009). Cathedrals of Bone: The Role of the Body in Contemporary Catholic Literature. Fordham University Press. p. 147. ISBN 9780823230624. Retrieved 30 August 2017.
  12. ^ "Vatican issues official statement on The Passion of the Christ". Catholic News Agency. 22 January 2004. Retrieved 30 August 2017.
  13. ^ "Fresh fears over Pope's health". News 24. 22 March 2005. Retrieved 30 August 2017.
  14. ^ Pullella, Philip (11 February 2013). "Pope's sudden resignation sends shockwaves through Church". PR Newswire. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  15. ^ "Testament of the Holy Father John Paul II". The Holy See. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
  16. ^ "Rinunce e Nomine, 03.06.2005" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 3 June 2005. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  17. ^ Boudreaux, Richard (7 April 2005). "Mystery Cardinal Will Never Be Able to Join Peers". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  18. ^ "Rinunce e Nomine, 06.05.2006" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 6 May 2006. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  19. ^ "ADL Honors Polish Catholic Leader With Cardinal Bea Interfaith Award" (Press release). Anti-Defamation League. 27 May 2010. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  20. ^ McNab, Matthew (6 July 2012). "Polish Cardinal Dziwisz celebrates Mass in Bayonne, gives church a relic of Pope John Paul II". Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  21. ^ "List of Cardinal Electors". Zenit. 12 March 2013. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  22. ^ "Pope Francis names new Archbishop for Krakow". Vatican Radio. 8 December 2016. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  23. ^ "Money paved way for Maciel's influence in the Vatican". National Catholic Reporter. 6 April 2010. Archived from the original on 11 February 2019. Retrieved 16 October 2020.
  24. ^ NULL (24 March 2003). "Austrian Cardinal Hans Gröer Dies". ZENIT – English. Retrieved 16 October 2020.
  25. ^ Catholic World News, 1 August 2004. Retrieved: 2016-04-09.
  26. ^ ""Don Stanislao". The Other Face of Cardinal Dziwisz". TVN24. 18 November 2020. Retrieved 22 June 2022.
  27. ^ Brockhaus, Hannah (22 April 2022). "Vatican clears Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz of negligence in Polish abuse cases". Catholic News Agency. Retrieved 22 June 2022.

Further reading[edit]

  • Michał Pietrzak (oprac.), Kronika Parafii Raba Wyżna T. I, 1835–1993, Kraków – Raba Wyżna 2011.
  • T. Chmura, Z Raby Wyżnej przez Kraków na Watykan. Curriculum Vitae księdza biskupa Stanisława Dziwisza, [w:] „Analecta Cracoviesnia" XXX – XXXI 1998 – 1999, s. 9 – 22.
  • Gmina Raba Wyżna, zebrał i oprac. E. Siarka, Kraków – Michałowice 2004.

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by Personal Papal Secretary
16 October 1978 – 2 April 2005
Succeeded by
New title Adjunct Prefect of the Prefecture of the Papal Household
7 February 1998 – 3 June 2005
Position disestablished
Preceded by — TITULAR —
Archbishop of San Leone
29 September 2003 – 3 June 2005
Succeeded by
Víctor Manuel Ochoa Cadavid
Preceded by Archbishop of Kraków
3 June 2005 – 8 December 2016
Succeeded by
Preceded by Cardinal-Priest of Santa Maria del Popolo
24 March 2006 – present