Leading up to the beatification of Pope John Paul II on May 1st there has been a certain amount of grumbling about him being fast-tracked. Most of these grumbling set around the late popes administration regarding the abuse scandal and his association with Fr. Marcel. These criticisms range from Catholics to secular critics. Even Maureen Dowd has weighed in on this and you can guess her opinion. She plays devil’s advocate and as her columns show it is easy to be a devil’s advocate when you share his point of view.
A lot of these criticisms remind me of the misinformed Protestant understanding of papal infallibility which they confuse with impeccability. In Pope John Paul II case they seem to think that heroic sanctity means that you’re a perfect or near-perfect administrator and can read the souls of people you know. Personal holiness is to be thrown out if whatever you have a bone-to-pick with wasn’t picked in the manner and timeliness you wanted. People can certainly critique Pope John Paul II’s papacy as they can critique how any pope administers. There are certainly things I would critique during his time as pope, though I do not doubt his personal sanctity one bit and am filled with joy at his being beatified. Pope Celestine V is both a saint and in life he was also a horrible administrator. He knew this of himself which is why he resigned after 5 months of being the pope. He was picked for his holiness, but personal sanctity does not mean you have the full skill set to be an able administrator. Pope John Paul II was a true leader and an able administrator – just not a perfect one.
The other argument used is that the normal time requirement was waived int this case by Pope Benedict XVI as was also done for Blessed Mother Teresa. While certainly a five year cooling off period before any cause is started is a prudent choice in most cases it was not like Pope John Paul II’s life lacked investigation up to that point. Regardless though an in-depth investigation was still made as to whether he displayed heroic sanctity. In addition to the investigation there was of course also the cure of French nun Sister Marie Simon-Pierre due to the late pope’s intercession. The Church is very prudent in these cases that even when they conduct an investigation and find the proper result she still waits for God to weigh in on this. Is anybody arguing that God was pressured vi fast-tracking into performing a miracle via Pope John Paul II’s intercession?
Besides God seems to have set a precedence or two considering fast-tracking saints. Think about the case of St. Dismas the thief on the cross next to Jesus who repented. Jesus had just met the guy who was indeed a thief and yet he promised him that he would be in paradise with him “this day.” Talk about fast-tracking.
I agree. John Paul II wasn’t superman in every way, but I don’t doubt his sanctity for a moment. And I’m sure he had no idea what Fr Marcial Maciel was doing.
[…] on Pope John Paul II’s beatification, and correct some popular misconceptions.The Curt Jester ripostes John Paul’s critics by explaining the difference between heroic virtue and administrative brilliance.Here, Fr. Z. […]
As a person who believes it was his job in 1979 (not Weigel’s bizarre 2002) to zealously protect children in every country if Bishops were not doing so ( and it was his job to check on them…repeatedly), I agree with Dowd’s headline while not agreeing with the many issues we could smear Dowd with if we gave in to smear Catholicism.
But infallibility is there to check wrath within me and others. The common theological opinion is that infallibility takes place in not beatification but in canonization and there as to his being in heaven not as to heroic virtue. I assent already without infallibilty pertaining to beatification. I believe he is in heaven but got there through fire…through Purgatory which I believe to be far more severe but also quiker than some think. John Paul was wonderful and my kind of saint in his early 20’s when after God took first his mom then his brother then in his 20’s his dad….and all three when John Paul was not with them….after all that, what does John Paul do? He becomes a priest. In his early 20’s, he knew what elderly Job knew and put in these words:
” Even if He slays me, I will trust him.”. The John Paul who later would interfere with US executions without first meeting with victim’s families, I don’t like him. That’s “lording over” people roughshod. That’s rude. The John Paul who so obfuscated wifely obedience in TOB and in ” Dignity of Women” that it is nowhere in the new catechism as it was nowhere in Friday’s British wedding, I don’t like him and neither would have the Pius XI who wrote section 74 of Casti.C. in 1930.
On the death penalty and wifely obedience, tradition went right out the window with millions of lemmings following without a peep.
But do I believe John Paul is in heaven. I have no doubt and infallibility does not require me until canonization. But I believe it now….this weekend because Malachi says God “delights in mercy”.
God saw John Paul II’s perfect…perfect sacrifice…in his early 20’s after losing everyone in his family….. and God doesn’t forget whole burnt
offerings like that. God saved a man I resent. I get that a lot….we all do. That’s what God does. He saves people….especially perhaps those who made whole burnt offerings when they were young and later in sickness…when they were old. God saves them. Unlike us….He is essentially Love.
In other news, researchers have found ancient documents objecting to some fast-tracking in biblical times…
The five year waiting period for Jesus was waived. Some questioned the prudence of declaring Jesus in heaven a mere 40 days after his death just because witnesses saw him ascend. He was canonized 10 days after that when 11 of his apostles, who had previously showed little courage or understanding, suddenly preached with great fervor, authenticity, and bravery. Both Traditionalist Pharisees and progressive Sadducees have found common ground and suggested this haste was a coverup to some problematic issues surrounding Jesus’ ministry and subsequent miracles. Even devout followers questioned the wisdom of declaring him in heaven so quickly when others such as King David, Moses, and Elijah had to wait for the gates of heaven to be opened and the doctrine of the harrowing of hell to be developed.
Did the 11 apostles who received the gift of the Holy Spirit receive it through the action of Jesus or could this be attributed to perhaps Moses or Elijah? Can we consider this miracle genuine given that Peter later stopped eating with the Gentiles?
Most disturbingly, there is the matter of the financial abuse scandals casting doubt on Jesus’ life of heroic virtue. It turns out that one of his top aides, Judas Iscariot, had been embezzling money. In addition, evidence suggests that John the beloved disciple knew about this. Just how far up did this coverup conspiracy reach within Jesus’ ministry? Add to that the widespread belief in omniscience in the second person of the Trinity and plausible deniability seems tenuous at best.
Also casting dark shadows over his public ministries were disasters in interfaith and ecumenical relations. Controversial remarks he made about destroying and rebuilding the temple and being the King of the Jews have strained Jewish-Christian relations. Ecumenical relations fare little better when his successor, Pope Peter I, allowed gentiles (many of whom were disaffected with human sacrifice and the doctrine of many gods who did not care about their worshippers) to join the flock while allowing them to retain their liturgical practice of not being circumcised. Further investigation has revealed that he did this without consulting the High Priests of over faiths.
Do the followers of Christ have the political savvy it takes to survive in the first millenium? Perhaps a little caution before elevating their leader so quickly might be advised.
I greatly appreciate that you wrote out for me what I haven’t been able to explain clearly. FYI, I’m going to be referring people to this blog post!
Thank you so much for your post. I have been having my doubts about the” fast-tracking” myself, but this is mainly because I believe that Ven. Pius XII and Archbishop Fulton Sheen should already have been beatified. Blessed John Paul was indeed very holy, no matter what else one says about him.
‘Twas ever so. Remember that Dante put Pope Saint Celestine among the feeble souls who couldn’t even make it into Hell because his abdication had bad effects, politicially, for Dante’s side.
thank you for the example of the thief, who was canonized by our Lord. I believe we all forget that God is out of time. If anyone deserves to be call blessed and hopefully one day canonized it would be John Paul II. He did teach us what it means to be not afraid, studying for the priesthood in a basement during Nazi Germany
thank you for the example of the thief, who was canonized by our Lord. I believe we all forget that God is out of time. If anyone deserves to be call blessed and hopefully one day canonized it would be John Paul II. He did teach us what it means to be not afraid, studying for the priesthood in a basement during Nazi Germany ‘s occupation of Poland and the slaughter of Polish people, saying mass when he was warned not to buy the government and church officials in public, in the pouring rain, when 10,000 showed for the Mass.
the last comment was sent accidentally before completion.
john paul also todos how to forgive or forget it is assassin actually hugging him in prison to as a sign of forgiveness ,how many of us are reluctant to forgive at the slightest front of another- “be not afraid”.
those who criticize and question john paul’s holiness greatly offend me, yes in falling john paul example in oxford give them also.
we must remember that infallibility does not mean the ability to error in matters outside of faith in morals; we believe in the holy spirit will not allow the pope 2 error in judgement of face and morals.
john paul the second was out spoken in the need for priest to maintain integrity and all that they do, and it was quite out spokane against sexual abuse is which occurred within the church he made it clear that it would not be tolerated.
I find it interesting at the main line pedia will hold john paul accountable for the sands of priests and bishops throw the world, but when an officer uses an automatic weapon to kill unison soldiers on a based up in the western part of the united states because he believes all I wanted to do that, there was no I’ll cry for barack obama being held responsible. it is on reasonable for any leader to be held responsible for every single collection of their subordinates, as long is mankind has free will. the church also has the responsibility for justice for the priests who made the falsely accused , harmony who would have no problem trying to use the church as an atm . wis prove I’m sure the john paul the second would not allow priests who created such heinous actions to continue their priestley duties. the full extent of the law should be given to anyone guilty in such cases. but anyone who suggests that this should mar john paul the second st legacy requires prayer. even though our sons make pale in comparison to what these priest of dawn we are all sinners and we need to pray for our brothers and the reconciliation with god.” Be not afraid”.
we sing to play scott in a box as being and operating on our time let us remember that god is out of time and holy spirit will not allow the pope to make a river in matters of face and morals .
the last comment was sent accidentally before completion.
John Paul also told us how to forgive by forgiving his assassin actually hugging him in prison as a sign of forgiveness ,how many of us are reluctant to forgive at the slightest front of another- “be not afraid”.
those who criticize and question John Paul’s holiness greatly offend me, in following John Paul’s example, we must forgive them also.
We must remember that infallibility does not mean the ability of the Pope to error, in matters outside of faith and morals; we believe in the Holy Spirit will not allow the pope to error in judgement in matters of faith and morals.
John Paul II was out spoken in the need for priest to maintain integrity in all that they do, and it was quite out spoken against sexual abuse within the church. He made it clear that it would not be tolerated.
I find it interesting at the main line media will hold John Paul accountable for the sins of priests and bishops throughout the world, but when an officer uses an automatic weapon to kill soldiers on a based in the western part of the united states, because he believes his religion requires the killing, there was no cry for barack obama being held responsible.
It is unreasonable for any leader to be held responsible for every single collection of their subordinates, as long is mankind has free will. The church also has the responsibility for justice for the priests who made the falsely accused. There are many in this world who would have no problem trying to use the church as an A T M. With proof I’m sure the John Paul II would not allow priests, who committed such heinous actions to continue their priestley duties. The full extent of the law should be given to anyone guilty in such cases. but anyone who suggests that this should mar John Paul II’s legacy requires prayer. Even though our sins may pale in comparison to what these priests did, we are all sinners and we need to pray for our brothers and their reconciliation with God.” Be not afraid”.
We need to stop putting God in a box as being and operating on our time; let us remember that god is out of time and holy spirit will not allow the Pope to error in matters of face and morals .
John Paul deserves to be a Blessed because Benedict XVI has decreed it so, guided by the Holy Spirit.
You need to do reading about the timeline of sexual abuse and when he spoke out. There were 500 allegations just from the US in the ten years that preceded his papacy that began in 1978. In 1979 court disclosed Vatican documents showed that his curia in 1979 had an audio tape of Fr. Shanley condoning gay sex at minimum and perhaps pedophile sex. Rome wrote Boston which wrote back evasively about Shanley who remained in place and 4 years later molested two boys…years after John Paul’s curia had the tape and years after a Ms. Gavaux warned Cardinal Law about Shanley twice. John Paul spoke loudly against such people in 2002….years after most of that damage.
The molestations were not just touches; the USCCB site has the John Jay Report….25% involved penile penetration…27% involved oral molestation. I suspect John Paul treated each report early on as anti clerical lies. If so his suspicions followed by no emergency action had tragic results.
read on beatification and canonization at newadvent dot com by using their search engine. Infallibility does not pertain to beatification and within canonization, it only applies to his being in Heaven not to heroic virtue. Easily researched at that site.
I believe there is more to the story then we read concerning St Dismas. To be allowed to enter into paradise would mean he did have a good heart and accepted Jesus in his lifetime. I do not think Jesus would let a murderer and defiler of the innocent enter into paradise so easily.