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“Making John Paul II a saint without more precaution was a dangerous decision”


UA series of recent revelations have tarnished the image of John Paul II, whom the Catholic Church canonized in 2014, following an exceptional procedure. Then archbishop of Krakow (Poland), he would have knowingly moved priests guilty of sexual crimes. By rushing, the institution lacked discernment and put a reactionary political and theological agenda before respecting the constant tradition of prudence of the Catholic Church in this matter.

When Christine Pedotti and Anne Soupa (Catholic feminists, founders of the Skirt Committee) called in 2019 to “decanonize” the Polish pope, their position might seem marginal, so great was the pope’s aura. From now on, this line becomes wise, even among Catholics. Making John Paul II a saint without having taken more precautions is proving to be a dangerous decision as the faithful, like our societies, discover the extent of sexual violence within the Catholic Church. The symbol is already catastrophic.

For observers following the case, the revelations of the documentary broadcast by the private Polish television channel TVN have nothing very surprising. The friendship of the Polish Pope with notorious predators like Marcial Maciel or Brother Philippe is now well documented.

Also read the interview: Article reserved for our subscribers Report of the Sauvé commission: “The Church is a privileged observatory of male domination”

As the Sauvé commission in France showed, the dimension “systemic” of the problem explains why the prelates, from Boston (Massachusetts) to Krakow, developed the same behaviors: the preference for silence for fear of scandal, the desire to deal with problems internally and the refusal to dismiss the clerical state of accused persons. The role of the very successor of John Paul II, Joseph Ratzinger (Benedict XVI), when he was Archbishop of Munich (Germany), has been highlighted in several cases in very serious law firm reports.

A botched investigation?

If there is a failure at the legal level, the failure is also institutional. Hasty canonization points to the shortcomings of the procedures of the Catholic Church, which nevertheless often highlights its precious tradition of discernment. Over the centuries, the procedure for making saints has even become more bureaucratic: acclamation by the people of God has given way to a trial called “cause”. For a long time, a moratorium of several decades was necessary before launching one, the time to see things more clearly, especially when it came to a pope.

The choice of the Catholic Church to open proceedings very soon after the death of John Paul II, responding to the cries of “Santo suddenly! » in St. Peter’s Square, induced an imbalance in the process by introducing ideological interests into it – Cardinal Martini was worried about this.

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