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Pope John Paul II’s Personal Notes Published Against His Will

Image: Book with late pontiff's private notebooks published and on sale
A woman looks at a copy of 'I am very much in God’s hands' on sale in a bookshop, in Warsaw on Feb. 4, 2014. Leszek Szymanski / EPA

ROME - A collection of personal notes by the late Pope John Paul II was published Wednesday against the former pontiff's explicit instructions.

In his will, the Pope who led the Catholic Church from 1978 to 2005 asked his closest aide, Polish Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, to burn his notes. Dziwisz, who was a long-time friend, personal secretary and confidante of John Paul II for 40 years, disobeyed the orders.

"I had no doubt these were such important items, testifying to the spirituality of a great pope, that it would be a crime to destroy them," Dziwisz said at a news conference in Krakow on Jan. 22. The book entitled "Very Much in God's Hands. Personal Notes 1962-2003" contains some 600 photos of the pope's personal notebook's pages on religion and life.

It includes thoughts on highly controversial subjects, like celibacy and chastity: "Priesthood is not identified with celibacy, but celibacy supports priesthood and gives it a particular effectiveness," The Associated Press quoted the book as saying.

An entry under March 1981 made reference to sins committed by priest.

"The social aspect of sin," wrote John Paul, according to the AP, "it hurts the Church as a community. Especially a sin by a priest."

The decision to save and later publish the private thoughts of one of the Catholic Church's most popular leaders in modern times was received with mixed reactions. Some say it goes against a dying persons will is an unforgivable sin, while other praised his choice claiming the documents were of such historical importance that they had to be preserved.

John Paul II is set to be declared a saint in April.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.