How can you be a saint if you fail to protect innocent children?
Pope John Paul II was no saint. His legacy will always be tainted by his lenient attitude towards sexually abusive priests, and his failure to protect innocent children sexually brutalized by Catholic clergy.
As the Telegraph reports, the late Polish pontiff could have prevented “thousands” of children from being raped by pedophile priests but instead chose to ignore the scandal in the interests of protecting the image of the Catholic Church
Pope John Paul II died at age 84 in April 2005 from complications from Parkinson’s disease. Since his death, John Paul has been put on a fast track for sainthood. Usually the road to becoming a saint is measured in decades or even centuries. However, Pope Benedict XVI waived church rules that normally impose a five-year waiting period after a candidate’s death before the procedure that leads to sainthood can start.
This weekend Pope Francis will canonize a man who protected and enabled pedophile priests, and Pope John Paul II will become a saint. In so doing, the Roman Catholic Church will honor a man who failed to protect innocent children from rape and sexula abuse.
It is sad, and it is ugly.
Columnist Maureen Dowd writes:
John Paul was a charmer, and a great man in many ways. But given that he presided over the Catholic Church during nearly three decades of a gruesome pedophilia scandal and grotesque cover-up, he ain’t no saint.
One of John Paul’s great shames was giving Vatican sanctuary to Cardinal Bernard Francis Law, a horrendous enabler of child abuse who resigned in disgrace in 2002 as archbishop of Boston. Another unforgivable breach was the pope’s stubborn defense of the dastardly Mexican priest Marcial Maciel Degollado, a pedophile, womanizer, embezzler and drug addict.
There is something wounding and ugly about the church signaling that those thousands of betrayed, damaged victims are now taken for granted as a slowly fading asterisk.
Barbara Blaine, the president of the Survivors’ Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), which represents 18,000 people from 79 countries who were sexually abused by members of the Catholic Church, said:
“It’s time for the Vatican to stop honoring those who enabled wrongdoing. There is irrefutable documentary evidence to show that John Paul II refused to take action that would have protected children during his 27-year papacy. Thousands of victims were abused because John Paul refused to read the reports he was receiving.”
Ultimately, by his inaction, John Paul allowed countless innocent children to suffer the most vile sexual degradation. Rather than sully the reputation of the Catholic Church by exposing and punishing pedophile priests, John Paul turned a blind eye to the rape and abuse of children. How can you be a saint if you fail to protect innocent children?