Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Case Against Sainthood for Pope John Paul II: Sex Abuse Exhibits A, B and C

Recent reporting and analysis by the National Catholic Reporter offers a treasure trove of reasons why Pope John Paul II should not be canonized. Not surprisingly, three of them document the revered pope's failure to discipline priests and bishops who perpetrated the sexual abuse of children. Let's call them Exhibits A, B and C--in the order I read about them, though certainly not in order of magnitude. Undoubtedly there will be more: easily enough to exhaust the alphabet, bless his heart.

Exhibit A: John Paul II approved a letter from the cardinal who headed the Congregation for the Clergy, congratulating a French bishop who refused to report a sexually abusive priest to the police. On April 15th the Vatican tried to use this revelation to show that at the time Joseph Ratzinger was doing more to control pedophile priests than the other cardinal. But in implicitly condemning the cardinal, the Vatican damns John Paul II's sainthood.

Exhibit B: "Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna, Austria, recently said that then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict, had wanted to investigate charges that Vienna’s former Cardinal Hans Hermann Groër molested novices at a Benedictine monastery in the 1970s, but was blocked by John Paul II. Schönborn said Ratzinger told him at the time, 'The other side won.' Schönborn intended that as a defense of Benedict, but it was also implicitly a criticism of John Paul..."

Exhibit C: Guided mainly by his personal secretary Msgr. Stanislaw Dziwisz (now a cardinal) and Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Pope John Paul II repeatedly blocked Ratzinger's efforts to investigate charges that Rev. Marcial Maciel, founder of the rich and powerful Legionaries of Christ, sexually abused between 20 and 100 seminarians, in addition to fathering children with several mistresses. Only when John Paul II was in declining health did Ratzinger launch the investigation in earnest. After he became Pope Benedict XVI, Ratzinger removed Maciel from priestly ministry for a "life of penitence and prayer." But Maciel was not given a full church trial due to his advance age. Cardinal Sodano, by the way, is presently the Dean of the College of Cardinals, who during this past Holy Week said, infamously, that criticism of Pope Benedict XVI was akin to persecution of the Jews. Cardinal Sodano doth cover his own ass too much, methinks--and John Paul II's much too little.

And that just the beginning of the sex abuse exhibits. One could start a separate set of exhibits on John Paul II's apostasy from the teachings of the Second Vatican Council.

1 comment:

Gerald T Floyd said...

After re-reading Hans Kung's letter, posted here 4/19, I find that I made an inaccurate statement about Cardinal Sodano in this post on 4/20. My mistake was to confuse two different Holy Week attrocities.

The statement comparing attacks on Benedict XVI to the persecution of the Jews was not made by Sodano, but by Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa, the pope's personal preacher--in his Good Friday sermon, unfortunately.

However, Sodano made his own faux pas in St. Peter's Square on Easter Sunday morning, when he said that criticism of Ratzinger's handling of the sex abuse crisis amounted to "gross propoganda" and "petty gossip." The conclusion that Sodano protests too much to cover his own ass remains appropriate.

A media account of the two events is available at http://www.thestar.com/news/world/vatican/abusescandal/article/790217--vatican-defends-pope-against-petty-gossip.

The media account notes with not a little irony that Benedict unceremoniously fired Sodano as Vatican Secretary of State shortly after becoming pope. The implication is that Sodano's protection of Maciel had a lot to do with Sodano's dismissal.