Friday, August 14, 2009

Should John Paul II be canonized?

I have to say, this is the first article I've read that answered that question in the negative. And quite strongly so.

Calling John Paul II's papacy "a glorious failure", Eric Giunta says
Though Catholics and others are loathe to admit it of an otherwise beloved Pope, John Paul II oversaw a church which deteriorated in both its inner and outer life. His callous indifference toward the victims of priestly sexual abuse in refusing to meet personally with a single one of them, and his stubborn refusal to compel the resignation from office of any of the bishops who aided, abetted, and covered-up the abuse, are testamentary to his utter failure: not as a Catholic or a theologian, but as a Pope. ...

After John Paul II, the Catholic Church is virtually indistinguishable from the Anglican Communion. Everyone has their seat at the table, liberal and conservative, high church and low. The "official" teaching of the Church may lean toward religious conservatism, but this is just one option out of many which a loyal Catholic may avail himself of and remain in good standing with his Church.

I'm not a very old Catholic -- I joined the Church in 2004 -- but Giunta's points hit home for me. I have a huge amount of admiration for John Paul II, in terms of his personal story and his promulgation of the Theology of the Body. But some terrible things happened -- or continued -- on his watch, and the way he handled many of them was far from good. Can the Church canonize him in light of such a performance? That's a very good question.

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