De-Canonizing John Paul II

This week-end in Boston there is a rather bizarre ceremony at the main Cathedral.

Some of John Paul II’s blood will be on display.

To say that it is a somewhat barbaric superstition would be an understatement.

But the bigger problem for Catholic credibility it this: John Paul II should never have been canonized in the first place. It is not that he did not do many good and positive things in his career as a priest. He did.

But he also was directly involved with the cover-up of the rape of 8 seminarians, and other abuses, by Father Maciel the head of the Legionaries of Christ from 1998-2004. The guilt of Father Maciel was finally established by Cardinal Ratzinger a few weeks before John Paul II died. But Cardinal Ratzinger and John Paul II and others allowed the cover up to continue for six years after it was first brought to his attention in 1998. They simply had no regard for the pain the delay caused to the seminarians who had come forward seeking justice. Many conservative Catholics attacked the seminarians for their actions. One can only wonder how that made them feel.

For the full story please see “Vows of Silence: The Abuse of Power in the Papacy of John Paul II”, by Jason Berry and Gerald Renner. The problems are superbly documented by these senior and well regarded journalists.

Furthermore most of the Cardinals such as Cardinal Law of Boston who covered up sex abuse by priests for decades were appointed by John Paul II.

As early as the 1980’s the Vatican was informed of wide spread sexual abuse in American Catholic parishes. Cardinal Law and John Paul II and Cardinal Ratzinger who later became Pope Benedict 16th were all informed of the systemic and chronic nature of these problems.

It was only the victims and their lawyers and some forthright judges and journalists who brought the full scope of these horrors to public attention.

John Paul II created at atmosphere  amopng Bishops and Cardinals were the cover up of sexual abuse of children by priests and nuns and monks was acceptable. The reputation of the church, the money of the church, and the careers of Bishops and Cardinals and Popes were more important than the safety of children.

It was a tragedy and a scandal of historic proportions when men as intelligent as Cardinal Law, Pope John Paul II, and Cardinal Ratzinger succumbed to the temptation to sweep these kinds of crimes under the rug.

The idea that John Paul II should be considered a saint is merely another kick in the face to the victims of child abuse during his papacy. The idea that the current Pope Francis could have finished the process of canonizing this deeply flawed man is an indication he simply does not have the integrity to be in the job he has, however much better he may be than his predecessor.

The fact that Cardinal O’Malley of Boston is perpetrating this ongoing hypocrisy with the garish spectacle of people worshipping the blood of John Paul II is simply revolting. Sadly it is proof that he too has not learned the lessons of the sex abuse scandal despite the significant and honorable work he has done to compensate victims in his Archdiocese.

The fact that conservative Catholics around the world are ignoring that John Paul II was deeply involved with the cover-up of sexual abuse shows the advanced stages of decay within the church have not been arrested.

Is there no limit to the indifference of Conservative Catholics to the pain and suffering of victims of sex-abuse in the Catholic church? 

For all these reasons it is not appropriate to refer to John Paul II as Saint John Paul II.

If you are speaking to others who do speak of this former Pope as Saint John Paul II, it is best to discuss with them the reasons why this is unwise.

If you are in a church or monastery setting where the celebrant refers to this former Pope as Saint John Paul II you will need to determine if there is a way to communicate the reasons this is not appropriate. An alternative choice is to communicate to the people involved that you can no longer participate in the life of a community where such sacrileges occur.

It is simple. John Paul II had many admirable traits and did many honorable things. But his conduct in the Father Maciel case in particular and the sexual abuse scandal in general is more than enough proof, he is no saint.

Will Raymond  Author of “The Simple Path of Holiness” Host of



2 thoughts on “De-Canonizing John Paul II

  1. The canonization of John Paul II is just too public an act and seems to be slap in the face to all who were affected by the sex scandal. Yet I do not want to minimize how difficult it must have been for him to handle the problems. Yet he and others handled it very unskillfully. What a shame for us all.

    • Not making excuses at all. The sinner needs as much pastoral care as the ones who were sinned against. I hope that JPII was doing his best to weigh the spiritual needs of the priests and bishops involved.

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