JP II's mixed legacy?

Hi, everyone:

Faithful Catholic here looking for a bit of reassurance. This has been weighing on me…

Honestly, the canonization of Pope John Paul II has left me a little unsettled because it seems to me that his legacy is mixed. I’m definitely not a “liberal” Catholic; I don’t usually agree with much from the Nat’l Catholic Reporter. But this column resonates with me. It’s true of course that John Paul II did much that was monumental and wonderful, like helping to free millions in Eastern Europe, forgiving the person who tried to assassinate him, and making it easier for Anglican priests to come into the Church (and allowing them to offer the “Anglican Use” Catholic Mass, which is beautiful), among many other things. However, John Paul II does seem to have had a blind spot for the sex abuse crimes among “priests.” And it seems like he was pretty soft on Bernard Law, even after Law’s inexcusable deceit and negligence in the Archdiocese of Boston, the effects of which are still being felt today. (I’m guessing there are canonical penalties for lying and covering up crimes against young people - were any of these applied to Law?)

I realize that a canonization is not a statement that the person was without flaws. But I’m wondering if anyone else has been feeling conflicted about this canonization. If someone wanted to offer any thoughts, charitably, on this topic, I would be interested in hearing them.

Thank you.

I think they rushed his canonization.

The so called blink spot is a bogus argument trumped up by liberal non-Catholic media.
don’t listen to them and believe their lies.

Yes, I saw that too. Have you seen this?

Full disclosure - I am by no means a liberal Catholic. In my view, the scandals are the one of the most horrifying things that ever happened in the Church. It’s the stuff of Satan. The only peace I ever found about that issue was to see the Church as comprised of saints and sinners. For me JP II was in the saint category. I remember that time when the scandals were everywhere. I used to feel so sorry for the victims and also the innocent clergy in the Church who were there for the right reason and were getting so smeared by association.

I am not sure that the Church even today is very good at cleaning house. There is a secretive, self-protective bureaucracy that makes it almost impossible. We exposed the scandals in the US, but then Ireland and Germany exploded. It shows up in the Netherlands…scandals still come to light today. Sometimes I think Catholics are blind to what is happening right in front of them. The Church just gets hijacked by sin and self-interest at every level and nobody says or does anything about it.

I suspect it would have been difficult for JP II to act very differently than he did at that point in time. I think the reason the Church is so quick to respond now is because of the vitriol of the secular media (and basically everyone else) about it and the incredible financial damage it inflicted, not to mention emptying the pews.

Who was it that said that the decent are always drawn to the decent by a sort of intuition; the indecent to the indecent. I don’t have a problem believing JP II didn’t understand (or want to understand) the extent of the situation. I can’t even understand the extent of the problem. I can still hardly believe something so disgusting happened. But in my case, JP II (and Mother Teresa) simultaneously presented a much higher, purer image of the Catholic Church - the good true one. Without his image countering the scandals, I doubt I would have come back to Catholicism. I don’t doubt he is justly a saint.


The Lord says *“Do not be deceived” “Watch and pray.” *

We’ve seen attacks on Blessed Mother Teresa and the world try to cast doubt on holy people, “but Was he Really a saint?” “Is this too soon???”

Thank God we are in the ark of the Church where we do have certitude in Canonizations as singular moments of blessings in a life that is veiled for most everything else divine.

The best sign that Pope John Paul II’s “mixed legacy” accusations is demonic in origin is whenever one sees “strange bedfellows” emerge. I’ve seen certain VII critics, rather than look forward to an Infallible sign given to us from GOD with joy, instead do so WITH DREAD. And they point to liberal media sources as evidence to validate their contempt for JPII??? :confused::confused:

If we are called to forgive what we see as sins by others, then who are we to hold perceived past sins and mistakes against a soul who has passed, who at the very least deserves the benefit of thedoubt that he was a penitent man!
JPII holiness is questioned all of a sudden, because he thwarted much evil and ruined plans of the devils. That this is one "weak spot " of apparent vulnerability rehashed by Journalists in the wake of his canonization shouldn’t surprise us, and we can’t be discouraged by *"But he may not have done enough!? " * That sounds like Satan, what more can one ask from God? When he does give us these gifts where we are able to know for sure that someone in the end was able hear from Our BLESSED LORD to yet another a soul, *“Well done, faithful servant” *

To question the Canonization is to presume one could see more than God and that God was possibly deceived?? And that political choices is the be all end all? It’s a shameful attitude from some Catholics I have seen in the Traditional Online presence. What we ourselves, presume to see with our own eyes and own empirical knowledge, and put that up against God, is spiritually repugnant.

JPII suffered much, (he whipped himself), so the attempts by the media and other members in the Church to cast doubt upon JPII’s heroic holiness is the work of Satan and should be dismissed.
Charity covers a multitude of SINS, and for St. JPII to be questioned is only done so by someone in the CHURCH who doesn’t leave the things we can’t and won’t know until the Judgment, and attempts to make the rash judgment that he knows who MERITS Sainthood in his eyes.

the act of Canonization should be enough for rejoicing and gladness, all this fretting over canonizations by even those in the Church is a display of little faith. It’s annoying because they should know better and has nothing to do with having the faith of a child, and everything to do with the faith of a cynic.

Thanks for pointing out that personal witness of their holiness.

We should thank God for individuals who did God’s will in their lives, better than us were we to receive the same graces.

I can’t believe that this thread exists.

Anyone who reads “fish wrap” is wasting their time. It is the evil one who plants the seeds of doubt. Fish wrap is only too happy to oblige.

The rest of the naysayers need Saint John Paul II’s intercession.

“Studies have shown that proportional sexual abuse by Catholic Priests is less than any other group, such as Boy Scout Leaders, Sports Coaches, School Teachers, etc. (42, 43, 44, 45). The Catholic Church provided voluntary compensation to victims exceeding $3 Billion, far beyond any other group. Moreover, a study commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education statistically concluded that sexual abuse of students is over a hundred times more likely by a public school employee, than by a Catholic Priest (46)” (

To all of you who are whining and complaining that the canonization of St. John Paul was rushed, let’s put this nonsense to rest. St. Francis of Assisi was canonized without ever being beatified and without being investigated, because Pope Gregory IX suspended all research into the life of Francis. He canonized Francis 22 months after his death. If you read the Bull of Canonization, Pope Gregory says that he knew that Francis was a saint, before he died, because they were friends. No one questions that canonization or even remembers how fast it took place.

Pope Gregory IX canonized St. Anthony of Padua 11 months after his death. His argument, “He was my friend. I have no doubt about his sanctity.” No beatification took place and no investigation.

Pope Gregory consecrated his nephew as bishop and elevated him to be a cardinal so that he could appoint him as the Cardinal Protector of the Franciscan Order. Franciscans have always had a cardinal assigned to be our protector in the Vatican. That cardinal became Pope Alexander IV who canonized St. Clare of Assisi only 25 months after her death. His argument, “She was my friend. I knew her sanctity personally.”

Pope Benedict XVI started the canonization process for St. John Paul II. He used the same logic as Pope Gregory IX and Alexander IV. “I am a witness to his sanctity.” This is the pope’s right. To say that this has been rushed or to question this is rather disrespectful to the pope and borders on spiritual pride. It places the person speaking on a slippery slope, as if the person were saying, “I know better than the pope who started this and who knew the saint.” People may want to be careful not to step on that slippery slope. Also, people may want to be carefully informed of the history of canonizations before making statements that are contrary to historical facts. The opposite has been true, which is why St. John Paul changed the procedure for canonization. Canonizations were taking too much time, too much manpower, too much money, and very often, those who were beatified were put on a shelf to collect dust. Once the eyewitnesses died, the process becomes more arduous. You have to extrapolate from the writings about and by the candidate, rather than hear from real people who knew them intimately and who knew what they knew and what they did not know.

If we begin now to question canonizations and to split hairs over which one is right and which one is wrong, what are we doing to the entire history of canonizations? Those who engage in this kind of nonsense are not helping the Church. On the contrary, they are hurting the Church. If I can question this canonization, why can’t I question that of Saints Francis, Anthony or Clare? Why not question St. Thomas Aquinas? Just because he wrote great theology doesn’t mean that he has to be canonized? We can go on and on.

If we question any pope’s right and power to speak authoritatively on a canonization, then how do we pray? “Saint N, if you’re in heaven, can you please intercede for me?” That’s certainly a religion that offers us security, isn’t it? Not one that I want to be part of, that’s for sure.

This takes us to the sex abuse scandal. No one knew what St. John Paul II knew and how he responded to the sex-abuse scandal better than Cardinal Ratzinger. When Pope Benedict proceeded to lift the waiting period on the process for Pope John Paul II and then proceeded to personally beatify him it was because he knew more about this issue and Pope John Paul’s place in this drama than we know and more than the media claims to know. If anyone wants to know what St. John Paul actually knew and you want to know why he was hesitant to react you may want to read Light of the World. Pope Benedict answers that question in a very clear, concise and reasonable manner.

With that, I’m going back to bed. Pray for me. I’m not doing too way these days.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit