The gospels are full of details that the Catholic Church prefers to overlook. Like the references to Saint Peter, the first Pope, having a mother-in-law, and therefore a wife. The texts don’t ever reveal what happened to Mrs Peter. Her husband may have been a widower when he was charged by Jesus with establishing the Church. Yet for an institution that continues to insist that its clergy are celibate, she is surely significant.
Just as significant as the letters written by the Polish-born American philosopher Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka over 30 years to Pope John Paul II. The two are revealed in these documents as “more than friends, less than lovers,” according to Edward Stourton, himself a Catholic, who explored this intimate friendship in Panorama on Monday.