During his pontificate of 27 years, Pope John Paul II canonized so many people that some dubbed the Vatican the “factory of saints”. Now, the legacy of the Polish Pope himself is overshadowed and some Catholics question whether declaring him a saint in 2014, just nine years after his death, was not a hasty decision.
Last week, the Vatican released its report on the destitute Theodore McCarrick, a star of the United States Catholic Church who was expelled from the priesthood last year after an internal investigation found him guilty of sexual abuse by minors and adults and Power abuse.
The report showed that John Paul II promoted McCarrick to the archbishop of Washington DC in 2000, despite persistent rumors about his sexual misconduct, with the Pope believing the words of the prelate, who denied the accusations, and rejecting the advice of several senior Church officials who advised him not to do so.
The report rekindled a debate between John Paul II’s defenders and detractors who accompanied his canonization – an official acknowledgment that a person lived and died so exemplarily that he is with God in heaven and is worthy of worship, or worship, within of the Church. “Saints are human beings and saints, in their humanity, can be deceived,” wrote papal biographer George Weigel.
The head of the Polish Bishops’ Conference said that McCarrick “cynically cheated” John Paul II, but not all Poles agreed. In Warsaw, someone pasted a paper on the João Paulo II Avenue sign with the text “Victims of João Paulo II Avenue In the United States, the influential newspaper National Catholic Reporter he urged the bishops to “suppress the cult” of the Pope.
This would mean that, although John Paul II continued to be considered a saint, schools or churches should not have his name and devotional activities should be private. “It is time for a difficult reckoning. This man … undermined the testimony of the global Church, destroyed his credibility as an institution and set a deplorable example for bishops by ignoring reports of victims of abuse, ”the newspaper said in an editorial.
Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said he had no comment. O McCarrick Report he considered that John Paul II’s willingness to believe in the then cardinal’s denial was probably influenced by his experience in Poland, where the Communist Government used false accusations to weaken the Church.
Proponents of John Paul II offered the same explanation to counter claims that the Pope turned a blind eye to Father Marcial Maciel, the Mexican founder of the Legionaries of Christ religious order, who was the most notorious sexual abuser in the Church.
“The problems that have arisen because of the way John Paul II treated McCarrick prove that it is a mistake to be hasty in someone’s canonization,” said Father Tom Reese, an analyst at the independent organization Religion News Service. “I oppose the canonization of popes because they generally have more to do with Church policy than with holiness,” he said. “Saints must be role models. How can anyone follow the model of a pope, unless he is a pope? ”
John Paul II canonized almost 500 saints, compared with 300 in the previous 600 years.
The Pope changed an earlier rule of the process that leads to canonization, known as “cause”, which said that the process cannot begin until 50 years after the death of a person. John Paul II reduced the period to five years and allowed for immediate exceptions. When Pope Benedict XVI was chosen in 2005, he renounced the rule, allowing John Paul II’s “cause” to begin a few weeks after his death.
Catholic author Dawn Eden Goldstein wrote on Twitter that the McCarrick Report he did not change his belief that John Paul II was a saint, but he did change the way he addresses his prayers to him: “Now I say: dear Saint John Paul II, you put an end to this, now get it done”.