Saint John Paul II? Just say no.

Posted by John Grooms on Fri, May 13, 2011 at 11:44 AM

Today is the 30th anniversary of the shooting of Pope John Paul II in St. Peter’s Square in Rome. He recovered, of course, and remained Pope for another 24 years until his death in 2005, at which point the new Pope, Benedict XVI, started planning to make JPII a saint. Benedict beatified John Paul — the last step before sainthood — two weeks ago.

I come from a deeply old-school, European “incense, rosaries and miracles” Catholic background. These days, however, I’m a pretty disgruntled Catholic — not really “lapsed,” but not happy about the church hierarchy either — who has a thought or two about the rush to declare JPII a saint. Briefly, I’m against it, for several reasons. Here are some of those reasons:

• JPII started out as a breath of fresh air — at 58, younger than most new Popes,  physically energetic, and a welcome force against totalitarianism. But he also turned out to be a rigid defender of a repressive form of conservative Catholicism and a strong ally of powerful established elements in the Church that would love to overturn the “window-opening” changes wrought by Popes John XXIII and Paul VI during Vatican  II.

• He loved traveling and smiling all over the world, but his thinking on critical Catholic issues — priests’ celibacy, ordination of women, contraception, divorce, etc. — was shallow and deeply disappointing to Catholics who expected JPII to expand the necessary, modern changes of Vatican II.

• He was extraordinarily harsh with theological dissenters, primarily Jesuits, who wanted the Church to do more to help the poor, particularly in Latin America. Instead, he strongly supported serial pedophile Rev. Marcial Maciel Degollado, the founder of the Legion of Christ, in order to bolster conservative orthodoxy in that region. Along with the group Opus Dei, the Legion of Christ became JPII’s pitbulls against the Jesuits and other Church liberals.

• The primary reason, however, that John Paul II should not have been beatified, much less granted sainthood, is his abysmal — truly abysmal — role in the pedophile/sexual-abuse crisis. The New York Times’ Maureen Dowd, in an excellent recent column titled “Hold the Halo,” reports on the many times JPII was told by bishops and cardinals that the sexual-abuse crisis was epidemic and needed strong action on his part. Dowd concludes, “And he was passive to an absolute fault. He failed in mountainous terms.”

Now, neither Maureen Dowd’s griping, nor mine, nor that of Catholic progressives will stop Benedict XVI from making JPII a saint. He also wants to do the same for Pope Pius XII who notably remained silent about the Third Reich’s horrific persecution of Jews, gypsies and gays. Meanwhile, as Dowd and columnist E.J. Dionne point out, neither Pope John XXIII, who launched the Vatican II reforms and was beatified 11 years ago, nor social justice advocate and Catholic Worker movement founder Dorothy Day, who has been “considered” for beatification since 1997, are in Vatican limbo.

Pope John Paul II: La-la-la-la-la-la — I can't hear those things you're saying about sex abuse
  • Pope John Paul II: La-la-la-la-la-la — I can't hear those things you're saying about sex abuse

Comments (18)

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I am not so clued up on the other beatifications in the process but as far as that of JohnPaul is concerned you miss the point. This man did not only belong to the Roman Catholics but the world. The good he did in his life far outweighs any shortcommings that he as man had. I doubt if you sort out all the mistakes and problems in your life. All of us have one or two issues we wish would go away if we just ignored them. Not right but reality. Secondly you are very narrow sighted. Considering the daily work and international events on the agenda of the Pope, do you really think that a few (yes on a world wide scale it is quite insignificant)bad priests would have warrented that much attention. I feel somewhat for the molested children but this has been going on in ALL churches for as long as churches existed and to this day. He was a leader and had people UNDER him that had to sort out such problems. The president of a country does not involve himself in the activities of a few bad policeman or soldiers. He has a system and generals to handle such matters. You seem to forget that even Mother Theressa was at times very difficult, impatient and sometimes even blatantly rude. She managed her order with an iron fist which in many countries would have been heavily critisized. No good person can do only good. The are after all is said and done PEOPLE and not GODS. When I was young my father took me to the sea and made me touch the dirty brown foam on the beach and then took me to a rock that was been pounded by the sea. He told me that you cannot tell a blind man that the power of the sea is in the brown foam but you must let him experience the power on the rock. You cannot condense a life of good work and then describe the life according to its failings and shortcommings. As a RC you should also know that some of the changes you expected him to make was OUTSIDE his powers to make considering the finality of the decisions of the previous vatican councils and popes/

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Posted by Petrov on 05/13/2011 at 1:01 PM

Do you even realize that it is the Bishops who have the authority to remove sex abusers within thier Diocese and not the Pope? There is an old saying by St. John Chrysostom.... The road to hell is paved with the skulls of bishops. St. John Chrysostom The Pope can remove the Bishop-you have it backwards and need to read The Catholic code of canon law You have also bought into the lies of the american and russian governments after WW2 that Pope Pius XII was silent. Much information has come out released through declassified documents tell the story of The Catholic Church under Pope Pius XII saved over 200,000 Jews that is documented by Jewish people I suggest you read the documents of the Hiatt Holocaust Collection from Holy Cross University http://college.holycross.edu/faculty/vlapomar/hiatt/index.html ..and the recent article http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/pope-pius-xii-saved-thousands-of-jews-1.300589 There is now sufficient evidence that the US and Russia had known about concentration camps for more than a year through arial photographs and intellegence and did nothing to stop it The Pope had no army or sophisticated intelligence ,but yet you are blaming him Dear friend , you need to go back and re educate yourself on canon law and history and correct the damage you are doing to smear to Holy Popes who did much for society. You are misleading other Catholics by writing such an article and will be responsible for your error You said ..."I come from a deeply old-school, European “incense, rosaries and miracles” Catholic background" If you're not saying daily rosaries anymore I suggest you start. I also suggest going to Adoration at least once a week-Our Blessed Lord will help you see clearly I will pray for you during Adoration to do the right thing.

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Posted by Stfassisi on 05/14/2011 at 2:15 PM

I'm afraid your statement, "his thinking on critical Catholic issues — priests’ celibacy, ordination of women, contraception, divorce, etc. — was shallow and deeply disappointing..." is very misinformed. Agree with it or not, JPII's Theology of the Body and his ecclesiology are some of the most consistent, internally rational, and scriptural theolgical systems of the 20th century. And it's almost laughable that people think that JPII put the brakes on Vatican II reforms -- if one has ever read the *actual* texts of Vatican II, one will quickly realize that he implemented the desires of the Council. To use John XXIII as a front, then, for advancing the causes of sacramental divorce-remarriage, the use of artificial contraception, and women's ordination is a disgrace to his name and to the Second Vatican Council which *never* even implied that such revisions should occur. It's been 50 years -- it's time for the progressives to stop using Vatican II as a front for their heretical agenda and pick something else to rally behind.

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Posted by S. H. on 05/14/2011 at 9:53 PM

Mr. Grooms, I would recommend reading Theology of the Body, Evangelium Vitae, and Veritas Splendor if you truly believe John Paul II's teachings are shallow on critical Catholic issues. If by chance you have read these and still feel this way I recommend re-reading them, but this time without a hardened heart. It is unfortunate that you are a disgruntled Catholic. I'll pray for you and for the thousands other that have hardened their hearts and have closed their eyes to the real truth, which JPII had brought to the world in his writings and in his papacy.

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Posted by Francis on 05/15/2011 at 3:12 PM

Hate to inform you Mr. Grooms, but you are in fact a lapsed Catholic. Once you start rejecting unchangeable doctrines of the faith such as women's ordination, contraception and divorce, you have ceased being merely 'disgruntled' and rather enter into the realm of dissent. And the very fact that you would refer to JPII's thinking as shallow, when Theology of the Body is the most comprehensive and integrated vision of the human person, both mind, body and spirit, shows that your bias and rebellion have come full circle, to the point that you are unable to recognize Truth, even when it is staring you right in the faith. Let anyone who is reading this abysmal article, please take a moment to pray for Mr. Grooms conversion of heart, that he might be open to receiving Christ's truth with charity and clarity. And please pray for the poor souls that this man may lead astray with his unfaithfullness.

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Posted by nikid on 05/15/2011 at 10:38 PM

Wow if this isn't the ultimate in arrogance: "I am a willing outsider but because you do not walk in jackbooted lockstep with 100% of my politics I think I have the right to judge you." Never mind that the Vatican is and has long been one of the foremost proponents of one world government, most liberal social causes, etc. Similar to the venom spewed at the Koch family, who are some of the biggest supporters of arts and charities.

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Posted by Bob on 05/16/2011 at 11:51 AM

Thanks so much for your kind, Christian remarks, nikid. I hope you feel better now.

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Posted by John Grooms on 05/16/2011 at 6:44 PM

Thanks so much for your kind, Christian remarks, nikid. I hope you feel better now. And Bob, rein in your imagination - "jackbooted lockstep"? Heard of hyperbole?

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Posted by John Grooms on 05/16/2011 at 6:48 PM

Unchristian? Let me refer you back to your own words when you referred to the vicar of christ as "rigid, repressive, shallow, deeply diasappointing, harsh, supporter of serial pedophile who likes to sic his pitbulls on others, and abysmal.". You can sure dish it out but cant take it yourself. Typical of people with your kind of mentality. Why do you remain in a church whose beliefs are not your own? It seems cowardly, dishonest and quite unchristian to me!

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Posted by nikid on 05/16/2011 at 7:57 PM

From what you're saying, you need to go back and educate yourself on Sainthood. He will not be a saint unless through his intercession a miracle takes place. At this point it is up to God. I'd be interested to hear how your relationship with God is, is it an active relationship or passive (when you feel like it)? I would be willing to bet the latter, and that is the problem. You are free to be critical all you want, but the great thing is that your criticism doesn't really matter as you are not part of the hierarchy. God will purify them as he sees fit, but in the meantime, we need to work on ourselves. As far as Pope Pius XII, how quickly you seem to forget who the Church is. The church is US too in this respect. The church is not a militia to be called up and sent out. We are the church and must stand up and defend life and all teachings of the church. It's not a democracy that can change on swaying cultures, it's a beacon of Truth and Truth does not change, because Truth is Jesus Christ. "If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would fight so I would not be taken" John 18:36. Where were catholics in Germany, poland, france, italy while this took place? They were taken and persecuted as well, or don't your history lessons include catholics with the jews too? Sounds like you are grossly misinformed. Why did the US that had a large number of christians fail to even join the war until we were attacked in 1941? America sat back just as much, and equally allowed the massacre to continue. If John Paul II is in heaven and interceding, then he will become a saint and nothing you can say or do can stop the Awesome power and Will of Almighty God!

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Posted by Tom C on 05/17/2011 at 9:31 AM

A.M.D.G. God bless Blessed John Paul II. He was neither conservative nor liberal. He was Catholic. The Faith transcends those titles. He was a loyal son of the Church and a wonderful vicar of Christ. I'm not quite sure where the author gets his information about Pope Pius XII either. Anyone who wants to know the truth might want to read this: http://www.catholic.com/library/HOW_Pius_XII_PROTECTED_JEWS.asp

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Posted by Terence M. Stanton on 05/17/2011 at 1:02 PM

For any non-Catholics reading these comments, you now have some idea of the drivel and the "I'm tuned in to God's will but you're a heretic" nonsense that liberal Catholics put up with.

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Posted by John Grooms on 05/18/2011 at 11:11 AM

There is no such thing as a liberal or conservative catholic, Mr. Grooms. You are either a faithfull or unfaithfull catholic. God has revealed His Truth for all to see and understand, for He wishes all men to be saved. But He gave us a free will to accept or reject Him. Do not blame others for your own choices.

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Posted by nikid on 05/18/2011 at 11:57 AM

You're right, Nikid, there's no such thing as a liberal or conservative Catholic. Those endless arguments we've been hearing for decades didn't really happen, and they're certainly not happening now. OK? Now, please put down the weapon and step away. Also, just fyi, it's spelled "faithful" -- pretty funny that you wouldn't know that.

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Posted by John Grooms on 05/18/2011 at 12:35 PM

I did see that john, unfortuantely there is no way to go back and correct spelling once a comment is posted and as of yet, iam still not accustomed to my ipad's touch keyboard. But thank you for pointing out a very important and relevant part of our discussion to me. I admit, i was wrong. Can you? And John, Christ established one church, putting labels on one's catholicism is just another way to divide us. You are either catholic and hold true to the church's teachings and beliefs, or you do not. Why call yourself something that does not accurately reflect the reality of your beliefs? Who are you trying to fool and why?

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Posted by nikid on 05/18/2011 at 1:13 PM

Wow, I totally disagree with you on all points about Blessed Pope John Paul. It precisely was his thinking on critical Catholic issues like, "priests’ celibacy, ordination of women, contraception, divorce, etc.", which proved his deep understanding and wisdom in being the leader of our Church. The "expansion" of Vatican II? It is not the Pope's role to expand and make "modern" changes, it is his job to articulate its truths in a palpable manner. And, I believe he did that very well. ( Theology of the Body, Humane Vitae, Veritas Splendor, ect.) I guess what I don't understand is why call yourself catholic? i say this not to be rude, but as a serious question. There are plenty of other Christian denominations that allow for more liberal interpretations, but not Catholicism. Our Church is rich, deep and beautiful and I do believe it is for everyone, but if the "teachings" you don't agree with then why call yourself one. Just my two cents.

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Posted by diana on 05/18/2011 at 1:31 PM

OMG, I am so glad I left Catholicism when I was 14 years old. And that was before the rampant, unforgivable child rape scandal that is ongoing in "the Church". JPII knew about the scandal, Ratzinger was his clearing house for these cases. They did the same thing the bishops did--they turned away and barely slapped the priests on the wrist. Do you think, any of you, that that is the One True Church of Christ? Christ is long gone from that den of iniquity, if he ever even existed there at all, which is highly doubtful.

You old time Catholics will kill the thing you love more surely than any so-called "liberal" Catholic. The world looks at you and sees crazy people stuck in the Middle Ages and rightfully so. Not one of you even question the beatification of a truly awful man who knew about child rape and did nothing. Blessed, my arse. What a hollowed out skeleton of a church your Church is. Intolerant and greedy, mean and autocratic, it will be its own death. And that cannot happen soon enough.

I didn't like Catholicism when I left it. I thought its teachings cruel at age 14. but I truly loathe the Church now. And don't think i'm the only one. Out of my entire family of 6, there is 1 Catholic remaining, and he is divorced, re-married, and picks and chooses among doctrines to believe, so according to you people, ZERO Catholics remain. Why do you think that is?

Have fun with your continued reliance on Papal Bulls and encyclicals written by corrupt men with huge money, your cruel and medieval dogma and, well, your hate. In one more generation, people like you will be dead and gone (in the West at least). Good for you, because your beloved Church is gonna change if it is to survive at all. Personally, I hope it doesn't. I hope it dies the death it so richly deserves and sane Catholics find Episcopalianism or Presbyterianism or something. I mean, they have some stupid problems too, but nothing approaching this level of crazy.

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Posted by Jesus_Wept on 02/11/2013 at 12:26 PM

The one thing common to all religions:

"Mine is the true religion and yours is delusional."

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Posted by DLP on 02/12/2013 at 9:42 AM
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