True Death With Dignity: A Friend Recalls the Last Minutes of Pope John Paul II’s Life

International   |   Sarah Zagorski   |   May 4, 2015   |   3:48PM   |   Washington, DC

In an interview with the Catholic News Agency, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz explained that John Paul II restored dignity in death during his final days on Earth. He said, “He gave us tranquility and peace even up to the last day. He restored dignity to death.”

Cardinal Dziwisz served as John Paul II’s aid and remembers singing a hymn of praise to God just moments after he died because those in the room “were convinced that he had died a holy man.” He said, “A man prepares for a lifetime for this important moment, this passage from one life to another for the encounter with God.”

Cardinal Dziwisz said John Paul II valued everyone and was a very disciplined man. He said, “He did not create resentment, but instead knocked down the walls between people. Everyone was important for him because everyone was created in the image of God.”

He added, “He was a very disciplined man from the point of view of moral ethics. Even at work, he never wasted time. He always had time for prayer. He was immersed in God and in everything he did, he always walked with God and in prayer. He always kept this intimate relationship with God, of contemplation, of contact with God, and here was his strength: peace of mind. God exists, God commands, God, we must follow him. If you follow God, you see peace, even in difficult times, which as Pope, he had many.”

As LifeNews previously reported, John Paul II left behind a very strong pro-life legacy and consistently spoke out against abortion, infanticide, euthanasia and assisted suicide. For example, when John Paul II addressed World Youth Day in Colorado he explained the dangers of the “culture of death” which struggles against life.



He said, “Death battles against life: A ‘culture of death’ seeks to impose itself on our desire to live and live to the full. There are those who reject the light of life, preferring ‘the fruitless works of darkness’ (Eph. 5:11). Their harvest is injustice, discrimination, exploitation, deceit, violence. In every age, a measure of their apparent success is the death of the innocents. In our own century, as at no other time in history, the ‘culture of death’ has assumed a social and institutional form of legality to justify the most horrible crimes against humanity: genocide, ‘final solutions,’ ‘ethnic cleansings’ and the massive ‘taking of lives of human beings even before they are born or before they reach the natural point of death’ (cf. Dominum et Vivificatem 57).”

After John Paul II’s death, then-President George W. Bush said the following about the Pope: “[John Paul II] reminded us of our obligation to build a culture of life, in which the strong protect the weak. And during the pope’s final years, his witness was made even more powerful by his daily courage in the face of illness and great suffering. He is an inspiration to us all” and a “faithful servant of God and a champion of human dignity and freedom.”