• RSS Queering the Church

    • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
  • RSS Spirit of a Liberal

    • Gonna Stick My Sword in the Golden Sand September 15, 2014
      Gonna Stick My Sword in the Golden Sand: A Vietnam Soldier's Story has just been released. The title comes from a stanza of the gospel traditional, Down by the Riverside, with its refrain--"Ain't gonna study war no more." Golden Sand is a bold, dark, and intense retelling of the Vietnam experience through the eyes of an army scout that is […]
      Obie Holmen
    • Gay Games Symposium July 21, 2014
      I am pleased and honored that the UCC has asked me to moderate a symposium during the games entitled Queer Christians: Celebrating the Past, Shaping the Future. [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]
      Obie Holmen
  • RSS There Will be Bread

    • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
  • RSS The Wild Reed

    • Farewell Winter March 20, 2018
      In the last two weeks or so it really feels as though we've turned a corner here in the Twin Cities, what with the many signs of winter's weakening grip. I saw firsthand (and photographed) many of these signs on a recent walk down to Minnehaha Creek and to what I've come to call the Prayer Tree (left).Of course, none of this is surprising give […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Michael J. Bayly)
    • A Day to Celebrate the Survival of the Old Ways March 17, 2018
      St Patrick's Day – a very, very bizarre celebration indeed. A [a fifth-century Romano-British Christian missionary and bishop] who attempted to annihilate the Druids, who conducted exorcisms to banish the great Irish faery deity Aine, who told lies about the faery, who claimed he threw Pagan women who would not convert into the ocean and they became mer […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Michael J. Bayly)
  • RSS Bilgrimage

  • RSS Enlightened Catholicism

  • RSS Far From Rome

    • the way ahead March 23, 2013
      My current blog is called the way ahead.
      noreply@blogger.com (PrickliestPear)
  • RSS The Gay Mystic

    • Mystical Czech artist, Marie Brozova February 22, 2018
      About Life, Universe and All…The luminous Czech artist, Marie Brozova, creator of the wonderful 'Forest Shaman' painting featured on my blog, lives with her husband and seven cats deep in a Czech forest - without electricity or running water. No computers, no cell phones, no TV. Only the silence and the sounds of nature and the spirits. Artist Mari […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Richard Demma)
    • SPICING UP THE CHURCH: February 14, 2018
      Here is the website of the wonderful meeting group for gay Christians in the Czech republic, Logos. And below is their position statement. Check them out. Logos – Gay Christians in the Czech RepublicWe are an ecumenical fellowship of gay and lesbian Christians and their friends, in which we share our faith in all its diverse manifestations, and try to suppor […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Richard Demma)
  • RSS The Jesus Manifesto

    • Another World is Neccessary: Anarchism, Christianity and the Race from the White House July 30, 2008
      I’ll be presenting at the upcoming Jesus Radicals conference in Columbus, Ohio. My session (on the relationship between Church and State) will be on Friday afternoon. If you’re in the area, drop by. I’d love to meet some of the folks who frequent this site. Here’s the info: August 15-16, 2008 St. John’s Episcopal 1003 W Town Columbus, OH [...]ShareThis […]
      Mark Van Steenwyk
  • RSS John McNeill: Spiritual Transformations

  • RSS Perspective

    • Trump congratulates Putin March 21, 2018
      - Make Everything Great AgainTrump calls Putin to congratulate him on his (sham) win and says they'll be getting together soon, this despite Russian meddling in our elections and what they did in the UK ...Noooo, that's not even a little suspicious.
      noreply@blogger.com (crystal)
  • Advertisements

John Paul II: “Santo Subito” or “Aspetta Un Attimo?”

Originally posted at Talk to Action.

On January 14, 2011 The New York Times reported that the late Pope John Paul II will be beatified (able to be venerated, the last step before sainthood) this Spring by the Catholic Church.

Four days later the Times also reported disturbing news that should give the Church pause: On the late pontiff’s watch, the Vatican warned Irish bishops “…that the Vatican had reservations about mandatory reporting for both “moral and canonical” reasons” adding the threat that “bishops who failed to follow canon law procedures precisely might find that their decisions to defrock abusive clerics would be overturned on appeal by Vatican courts.”

When the late Pope John Paul II was being laid to rest some in the crowd in Saint Peter’s Square chanted “santo subito! – Italian for “sainthood now! But in light of recent news some of them might now be thinking “aspetta un attimo!” or, “wait a minute!”

As the Associated Press recently reported:

DUBLIN (AP) – A 1997 letter from the Vatican warned Ireland’s Catholic bishops not to report all suspected child-abuse cases to police – a disclosure that victims’ groups described as “the smoking gun” needed to show that the church enforced a worldwide culture of covering up crimes by pedophile priests.

The newly revealed letter, obtained by Irish broadcasters RTE and provided to The Associated Press, documents the Vatican’s rejection of a 1996 Irish church initiative to begin helping police identify pedophile priests following Ireland’s first wave of publicly disclosed lawsuits.

The letter undermines persistent Vatican claims, particularly when seeking to defend itself in U.S. lawsuits, that Rome never instructed local bishops to withhold evidence or suspicion of crimes from police. It instead emphasizes the church’s right to handle all child-abuse allegations and determine punishments in house rather than give that power to civil authorities.

Almost immediately, conservative spin machines such as Fox News and NewsBusters sprung into action, claiming that the letter was no smoking gun (NewsBusters is a project of the Media Research Center which was founded by Catholic Right activist L. Brent Bozell III). Other sources attributed the Times’s reading of the letter to “vagueness.”

But on January 20, 2011 the organization BishopAccountability.org released a 1984 letter to the Diocese of Tucson Arizona regarding an abusive priest that may well serve to clear up any vagueness:

“…under no condition whatever ought the afore-mentioned files be surrendered to any lawyer or judge whatsoever. The files of a Bishop concerning his priests are altogether private; their forced acquisition by civil authority would be an intolerable attack upon the free exercise of religion in the United States.”

“…make known immediately and with clarity that no priest’s files will be sent to any lawyer or judge whatever.”

More importantly, was John Paul II the source of these instructions? If so, there is no saintly quality to such directives.

It is true that John Paul was a charismatic leader. But he was also dogmatic and divisive. He also elevated Opus Dei and other secretive reactionary groups were elevated within the hierarchy. One of these, the Legionnaires of Christ, whose founder Marcial Maciel was a favorite of the late pontiff, was forced into retirement because of decades-long incidents of sexual abuse. This too was part and parcel of his papacy.

As I have argued in the past, the real issue is accountability, which, in turn, speaks to the issue of the separation of church and state. There are no exemptions from the criminal laws of the United States for religious leaders and institutions.

More than his immediate predecessors, John Paul II attempted to directly effect orthodox notions of morality upon secular societies, especially within the United States. Economic issues took a back seat to biological issues. Those politicians who supported more reckless forms of capitalism were often unchallenged by Church leaders as long as they tended to oppose abortion rights, marriage equality and embryonic stem cell research. And to that end, the late pontiff stacked the hierarchy with dogmatists — even those with backgrounds of rampant sexual abuse or the cover-up of abuses.

And that is why I say to those Catholics who still say of John Paul II. “santo subito”: Would a saint have ignored or covered-up priestly pedophilia?


7 Responses

  1. What is the legitimate scope of State authority over religious organizations?

    • This pretty much sums it up.

      • Take two.

        This pretty much sums it up.

        • Frank, I can’t find a link behind “This.”

          • http://supreme.justia.com/us/403/602/case.html

  2. I used to idolize that man. This new information sickens me. There’s a scene in the new movie How Do You Know? where Paul Rudd is being informed of illegal activities that went on in a company he runs. He essentially says, if it’s true and I didn’t know about it, I should have, and I’m still responsible. That’s exactly how I feel about these letters from the Vatican. If JPII didn’t know about it, he should have. He’s responsible either way.

  3. Frank,

    Seriously? “More than his immediate predecessors, Pope John Paul II attempted to directly effect orthodox notions of morality upon secular societies, especially within the United States.”

    How did he do this? With his armies? By taxation? By infiltrating government offices?

    Part of his responsibility is to offer Catholics and the world an alternative to the quasi-intellectual, half-baked ideas of morality and freedom being put forth by secular governments – ideas such as that human life begins when 9 white men in black robes say so.

    I don’t know if he deserves sainthood. But, he deserves praise for clearly setting forth an alternative to “eating the apple”. And, he deserves some credit for telling civil officials that they don’t and won’t run the church.

    Remember, these are the same civil officials who invaded Iraq and Afghanistan killing hundreds of thousands all the while Pope John Paul II was condemning the actions.

    If America had been more dogmatic about just war (and abortion) there would have been a lot less killing. I doubt that mistakes about Opus Dei are more important.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: