Pope Francis refers to John Paul II as “Saint John Paul the Great”
"Saint John Paul the Great" is the title of a long interview conducted by Italian priest Luigi Maria Epicoco with Pope Francis in the context of the 100th anniversary of the birth of John Paul II.
In this interview Pope Francis introduces himself as a continuator of the line of Saint John Paul II. When asked what he was doing on October 16, 1978, when the election of Cardinal Karol Wojtyła was announced for the conclave, Pope Francis replied: “I remember I was in the car, I was going from the theology department to the College of San Miguel. (…) I heard the name Wojtyła and I thought he was a pope from Africa. Then they told me that he was Polish (…) When I first heard John Paul II speaking, I immediately felt great sympathy for him (…)”
Pope Francis expressed the conviction that the Polish Pope played a decisive role in the fall of the Berlin Wall. “At this historic moment, John Paul II became the exponent of the nation’s quest for freedom and united all those good forces that led to this decisive change”, he added.
The whole interview has been published in Italy today (11 February, 2020).