Saturday, April 30, 2011

Good Guy? Yes. Saint? Nope.

This was inevitable. The Catholic Church is rushing the late Pope John Paul II to sainthood. He was beatified today before a throng of over a million people in and around St. Peter's Square in Vatican City. (This means John Paul is now "Blessed" and only a step away from sainthood. You may expect this soon also. This is the fastest anybody has ever moved to sainthood in the long history of the church.) And tomorrow will the the celebratory mass there. The longest reigning pontiff, 27 years, as well as the most traveled, JPII made a huge impression on the youth of the world. He materially assisted in the overthrow of the communist regime in his native Poland. His outgoing personality was perfect for the media age. He was probably the best-known, most beloved pope in the Church's long history.

He also presided over the Church during the flood of worldwide revelations about heinous sexual crimes committed by Catholic clergy against children. JPII wrote about all kind of subjects; he spoke out on a raft of issues. But you will search in vain for a pronouncement about pedophilia. You will also come up empty-handed if you search for any strong action, or any action at all, for that matter, by that pope to address these crimes.

And for this reason alone, the man should not be made a saint. Worldwide impact and worldwide visibility do not cancel out worldwide coverup of literally thousands of crimes against children and papal silence, much less papal remedial actions, in the face of these unspeakable sins. I can only conclude that this past pope, just as certainly as the present pope, was part and parcel of the Church apparatus that enabled these crimes, paid hush money to silence victims, erected obstacles to investigation of the crimes, fought paying compensation to victims of these crimes, and in general made itself odious by acting like any other self-interested institution when it's criticized.

But this isn't going to hinder the Saint John Paul express.  It's going to roll into that holy saint station before you know it. While the countless victims of Catholic pedophile priests remain quite uncelebrated.

Saint? I don't think so.
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