Marian Jaworski was born in Lwów [Lviv] in 1926. He was one of these priests who after the Second World War stayed in Krakow together with Archbishop Eugeniusz Baziak. He was ordained 1950 in Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, where there was a seminary for seminarians from the Archdiocese of Lviv. He started his pastoral work in the parish of Basznia Dolna near Lubaczów, and then he was sent for further studies.
Understanding and Serving Faith
He finished his theological studies at the Jagiellonian University in 1952 with the doctoral thesis entitled The Development of Józef Geyser’s Views on the Principle of Causality. For a year he worked in the parish in Poronin. Then he started philosophical studies at the Catholic University in Lublin (KUL), finishing them with a doctoral dissertation on Aristotelian and Thomistic Theory of the Efficient Cause upon the Background of the Concept of Being. He was especially interested in metaphysics, but also in the philosophy of God and religion which was confirmed by his habilitation thesis entitled The Religious Cognition of God according to Romano Guardini, presented in 1967 at the Catholic Theological Academy (ATK) in Warsaw. In his academic and research work, he was mostly active at the Pontifical Faculty of Theology in Krakow where he was a dean.
After establishing the Pontifical Academy of Theology, he held the office of its first rector (1981-1987). In 1984, he was appointed the apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of Lubaczów, that is a part of the territory of the Archdiocese of Lviv which remained after the war within Polish borders. After political changes and reactivating the activity of the Catholic Church in the territory of the former USSR, he was appointed in 1991 the Latin metropolitan of the Archdiocese of Lviv in Ukraine, and started patiently rebuilding the church structures and overcoming conflicts and prejudices between religions and rites. Since 1998 he was a cardinal in pectore, revealed and created by John Paul II at the consistory in 2001. He retired in 2008 and returned to Krakow where he lived at the Kanonicza Street.
With this historic street, leading form the Wawel Hill towards the Main Market Square, memories of the beginning of friendship between Marian Jaworski and Karol Wojtyła are connected. Since 1951 they were neighbors at the Kanonicza 19 and that gave them an opportunity to talk on philosophical topics. The ministry of an auxiliary bishop and an archbishop of Krakow did not disturb Wojtyła to develop his philosophical and pastoral interests.
It should be emphasized that both of them were also concerned with the quality of higher education in Poland. Both Archbishop Wojtyła and Father Jaworski were involved in the renewal and creation of theological faculties in the period before Wojtyla’s pontificate.
It also should be mentioned that in 1967, Father Jaworski had an accident while riding on a train to replace Archbishop Wojtyła – who had gone to the consistory in connection with his elevation to the cardinal’s dignity – during a priesthood retreat in Olsztyn. As a result of the crash, Father Jaworski lost his left arm. This event strengthened their friendship even more.
Person and Act
Wojtyła was convinced that freedom of the human person should be based on philosophical foundations available to everyone, regardless of their religious beliefs. He meant to show the relationship between the mystery of the person and morality, between anthropology and ethics. Out of this concern, the monography Person and Act was born [the first English translation was entitled The Acting Person]. Father Jaworski was its first reviewer and strongly supported its publication. The discussion surrounding this text was very heated. Father Jaworski saw its importance. His research on the subject was largely in line with Wojtyła’s inquiries. One of them emphasized the moral experience of man and the other the religious experience. They creatively developed Thomistic metaphysics. The aftermath of their talks and discussions is probably also the encyclical Veritatis splendor, but not only. Traces of this intellectual cooperation can be found in other papal documents. In this regard, Cardinal Jaworski was always very discreet, not claiming to be “the pope’s adviser”, although he really played such a role.
The Biggest Surprise
At the meeting of the Council of the Pontifical Faculty of Theology on 29th September, 1978, where Cardinal Wojtyła was present, everyone was shocked by the news of the death of John Paul I. Because of this sad event, Father Dean Jaworski expressed his condolences to the cardinal. “Although life surprises us sometimes, everything has to be taken in a spirit of deep faith” – the metropolitan replied. After two weeks, there was a joyful – Habemus papam! Life still had many more surprises in store…
Faith brings us hope that this biggest surprise awaits us on the other side as we pass from “life to life”. We trust that Cardinal Marian Jaworski participates in this surprise. “… the twilight of life can be seen – from a Christian perspective – as a “passage”, a bridge between one life and another, between the fragile and uncertain joy of this earth to that fullness of joy which the Lord holds in store for his faithful servants…” (John Paul II, Letter to the Elderly).
Fr. Andrzej Dobrzyński
Fot. G. Gałązka