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Jean Guitton: Unlike John Paul II,
His Successor Should Not Fear Public Opinion

Jean Guitton (1901-1999), famous French philosopher and writer, left some 90 books. He was a Catholic and personal friend of Paul VI, about whom he wrote two works. He was the first layman to participate in Council Vatican II. In 1961 he was elected a member of the prestigious L'Académie Française.

On February 9, 1995, when his translated book Open Letters was launched in Italy, the newspaper Corriere della Sera asked him for an interview. Among the many different subjects addressed in these questions, we selected for our readers one of his responses in which he clearly albeit indirectly mentions the fear of speaking about God that he observed in John Paul II. It is certainly a noteworthy document.

At right is a photo of Jean Guitton; at right below, the question and answer excerpt in a readable print. Below, we present our translation of the lines highlighted in yellow. Underneath is the full text of the interview.

Question: You were a friend of John XXIII and Paul VI and participated in the works of Vatican II. Today you see a Pope [John Paul II] who is suffering, as if he would leave us shortly. In your last book, one letter is missing: it is a letter to the successor of John Paul II.

Answer: I would have depicted the portrait of an ideal Pope. It is my opinion that the present day Pope speaks too much about man. If I were Pope, I would speak about God. John Paul dedicates so many speeches to human rights and democracy... He should think about the day when he will leave this world and be judged by God.

And, as for his successor? White, black, or yellow, I wish that a man would come who would not fear public opinion and would speak to men about God.

(Jean Guitton, "Guitton, lettere per l'Aldila," interview gratend to Ulderico Munzi in Corriere dela Sera, February 9, 1995).

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Posted on April 22, 2006

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