For the last few years, I have been reading some of the material written by/ about Fr. John Hardon.
I understand he is considered very saintly in Detroit (although his sainthood cause seems unlikely to anywhere since he made a poor recommendation in a clergy sexual abuse case involving bad acts committed by another priest), and that he generally led a holy life and contributed much useful theology. I find his teachings on the gifts of the Holy Spirit and on Grace to be very edifying, although they are pretty complicated and hard to read.
I understand he was shunned by the Jesuits for strongly opposing the use of enneagrams as being “new age”. This seems to me like a ridiculous reason to shun someone; regardless of what one thinks of enneagrams, they aren’t essential for Catholics. But given that I have heard other stories from persons who were involved with the Jesuits in that part of the country at the time, it doesn’t surprise me, and it seems like there were a lot of very questionable things going on with both the Jesuits and seminaries in general back in that era as I have heard stories firsthand from men who were there at the time.
However, there are parts of his teachings that bug me a bit. He seems to have a real problem with Thomas Merton, and with some private revelations that are not yet officially approved (so I can’t discuss them here) but they came from other people on the path to sainthood and there is a reasonable belief that the person might be beatified. I imagine if I read more, I will run into more stuff this priest found objectionable.
Again, I understand perhaps his objections were a reaction against some of the rot he personally saw going on, other stuff could be labeled “one priest’s opinion”, and it doesn’t make him less holy as holy people are human and they have opinions which are sometimes fallible.
But just wondering about others’ thoughts on him.
I feel a bit odd praying for his sainthood and the sainthood of Merton and other candidates he disagreed with, in the same prayer session, but then again there have been bishops and theologians who vehemently disagreed on some matters, and still both of them ended up saints in the end.