Pope John Paul and Maciel

Pope Benedict has waived the 5 year period that is normally required for beatification so that John Paul II can be beatified in May.


But John Paul’s role on enabling sexual abuse has not been fully explored.


Bishop Edward Burns of Juneau has said some very good and very true things:

It has hurt to learn the truth. It has hurt to listen to the pain and anguish of abuse survivors. It has hurt to learn that in this diocese and elsewhere there were priests who betrayed their authority and the trust we had placed in them. Catholics and members of the wider community have been disappointed and angered that Church leaders did not fully exercise their responsibility in dealing with this issue.

But learning the truth of what happened and facing up to it has been the first, necessary step towards healing for victims and to insure the safety of our children. From my perspective, I am convinced that the truth, however painful, will help to free victims and survivors from the hurtful burden of silence which has been imposed on them for too long.

The Vatican should learn and tell the truth about what John Paul’s role was before he is beatified – but Benedict has decided not to do this.


I know that John Paul refused to act.


Cardinal Schönborn told me that he sat directly opposite John Paul and pleaded with him to make a statement about Cardinal Groër, the Fatimaniac molester that John Paul had appointed, against the advice of the bishops of Austria, to the see of Vienna. John Paul told Schönborn that he would like to make  statement, but that “they” wouldn’t let him.  “They?”  John Paul wouldn’t explain, but it was clear then and Schönborn has sine publicly made it clearer that Cardinal Sodano,  the Secretary of State of the Vatican, and his underlings were protecting molesters like Groër, Gino, and Maciel.


Father Tom Doyle wrote a report on sexual abuse and Cardinal Krol personally put it in the hands of the pope.


John Paul ignored all this information and let abusers continue in the Church.


The Vatican claims that John Paul is not being canonized because he was pope but because of his personal sanctity. This is disingenuous. If he had remained a priest or a bishop, and he had been just as holy would there be any move for his canonization?


The Vatican also claims that canonization is not intended to approve all actions that John Paul took as pope. But part of fulfilling the will of God is fulfilling the duties of our state of life – and in John Paul’s case it was the governance of the church. His errors were not of the order of allowing mismanagement of the Vatican Bank or of making ill-advised episcopal appointments. His errors were ignoring the suffering of abuse victims and refusing to rid the church of the culture of sexual molestation. John Paul called Maciel, a drug addict, incestuous child molester and thief  “an efficacious guide to youth.”


Almost all Catholics don’t want to think about sexual molestation by the clergy and they will not think about John Paul’s role in allowing abuse to go on. They will turn away from the victims, like people turn their eyes from torture victims, because such thoughts make them uncomfortable – and what is religion supposed to do except make us comfortable?














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