Interviewed by Poland’s state broadcaster TVP, President Andrzej Duda took the opportunity, just days ahead of what would have been the Pope’s 100th birthday (May 18th), to emphasise the significance Pope John Paul II had on Poland’s history.
“The Pope's words that there can be no Poland without Christ are valid (...) His teachings should be with us all the time” - the President stressed.
President Duda stated that he would like to personally take part in the celebrations connected with the hundredth anniversary of the Pope's birthday.
He also recollected a speech at Westerplatte which the Pope directed to youth when he visited Poland on a pilgrimage in 1987 and the impact it had on him as a teenager.
In the speech, the Pope stated that there comes a time in every person’s life when he has to stand in defence of a cause, despite the odds, like the Polish soldiers on the Westerplatte Peninsula when the German army invaded Poland in 1939.
Karol Wojtyła was elected Pope in 1978 and took the name John Paul II, becoming the first non-Italian Pope in 455 years.