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The Catholic University of Lublin commemorated Rev. Prof. Tadeusz Styczeń, a friend of John Paul II

“He is an important figure to us and this is also a sign for the entire community that we would like to commemorate significant figures of our university,” said Rev. Prof. Mirosław Kalinowski, Rector of the Catholic University of Lublin during the ceremony of naming one of the university lecture halls after Rev. Prof. Tadeusz Styczeń.

A commemorative plaque by lecture hall 220 of the Collegium Joannis Pauli II building was unveiled on December 10th, 2021. The Rector of the Catholic University of Lublin, while thanking The John Paul II Institute for the initiative to honour the memory of Rev. Prof. Tadeusz Styczeń, emphasised his undisputable belonging to the catalogue of great masters. Professor Styczeń was a teacher and tutor of youth, but also an advisor to the university authorities; he influenced the reputation of KUL not only in Poland, but also abroad. The Rector also recalled meetings in the university’s lecture hall during which Rev. Prof. Styczeń shared his reflections on his numerous meetings with Pope John Paul II.

Rev. Prof. Andrzej Derdziuk brought closer the figure of Prof. Styczeń during the Holy Mass in the Academic Church of the Catholic University of Lublin. He emphasised the personal qualities of the Reverend Professor: modesty, a child’s openness, simplicity, wisdom, and courage. “As a faithful friend, disciple, and collaborator of Karol Wojtyła, even when he was already a professor, he always wanted to feel like a student; he knew how to hang back, although he himself had huge achievements and outstanding authority,” he pointed out.

Such an attitude can be a model for the contemporary generation that does not recognise authority, convinced of them limiting independence, freedom, and creativity. “His life teaches us how to be a descendant and draw copiously from the achievements of our predecessors in order to creatively develop and pass them on,” he said.

Rev. Prof. Derdziuk also reminded us that Prof. Styczeń was a stout-hearted defender of life and his saying – the unborn are the measure of democracy – is still valid. Prof. Tadeusz Styczeń SDS (Societas Divini Salvatoris – Society of the Divine Saviour) (1931 – 2010) was a disciple and successor of Karol Wojtyła at the KUL Department of Ethics, founder of The John Paul II Institute and creator of the quarterly journal Ethos. From 1963 he was a lecturer at the Catholic University of Lublin, between the years 1978 and 2002 he was the head of the Department of Ethics. At the same time, for several years, he regularly lectured at the Pontifical Lateran University of Rome.

His main areas of study included ethics, meta-ethics, philosophical and theological anthropology, and the ideas of John Paul II. He was also one of the founders of the International Academy of Philosophy, initially based in Dallas, and later in the Principality of Liechtenstein. He was a full member of the Pontifical Academy for Life (in the years 1994 – 2004 he was a member of the Governing Council). During the pontificate of John Paul II, he served as an unofficial link between the pope and his university, as one of the pope’s close friends he was a regular guest in the Vatican City and Castel Gandolfo; he was also a witness of the last moments of the pope’s life.