Scandal should delay sainthood
By Chris Freind
If Pope John Paul II's beatification - part of the path to sainthood - takes place as scheduled on May 1, it will have been the fastest in history. Pope Benedict XVI waived the requirement of a five-year waiting period.
What planet are these folks living on? One way or another, John Paul is complicit in the church's sexual-abuse scandals; he's either responsible or irresponsible for what occurred.
Given his vast intelligence and the worldwide publicity surrounding the plague of pedophilia, if the former pope had no idea what was transpiring, then he was irresponsibly asleep at the switch.
But no matter how insulated he may have been, it is simply not believable to think he had no knowledge of those crimes or the inadequate church response. Which leads to the more likely scenario.
Just as he receives accolades for the good things during the 26 years of his papacy - and there were many - John Paul must also be held at least partly responsible for the illicit activities. He may well have had direct knowledge that the transgressions were occurring, and, rather than aggressively addressing the issue, chose to bury his head in the sand. If that was the case, it makes the sin mortal.
Even worse than the abuse itself, was the enabling of predator priests and the subsequent cover-ups by some in the church hierarchy. Not only was appropriate action not taken most of the time, but often victims and their families were discouraged from taking next steps, with some being threatened with excommunication. Even high-ranking church officials were not immune; many were told that if they cooperated with investigative authorities, there would be severe repercussions.
In fact, a letter from 1997 was uncovered last month from the Vatican to Irish bishops demanding that no pedophile cases be turned over to police - blowing away Vatican claims to the contrary. That letter was signed by the late Archbishop Luciano Storero, Pope John Paul II's apostolic nuncio to Ireland.
Given all that we now know transpired regarding sexual abuse on John Paul's watch, sainthood is out of the question. For the church to pursue it just shows how out of touch it has become.
Many believe that the cover-ups took place because the Good Old Boy network was taking care of its own.
But just as possible is that church leaders were deceitful because they feared the worst for their institution if the facts came to light. If that's the case, where was the faith of those leaders? Faith that the church, which can be traced directly back to Jesus Christ and a fisherman named Peter, could weather the storm, faith that it could stand firm in the face of adversity, and faith that the solution is to always do the right thing and tell the truth.
As a human, a parent, and yes, a faithful Catholic, I find it tragic that these leaders didn't practice the faith they preach.
Chris Freind is an independent journalist and commentator. He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com.
Chris Freind is an independent columnist and investigative reporter who operates his own new site, The Artorius News Bureau. Readers of his column “Freindly Fire” hail from six continents, thirty countries and all fifty states. His work has been referenced in numerous publications including The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, foreign newspapers, and in Dick Morris' recent bestseller "Catastrophe."
Freind also serves as a weekly guest commentator on a Philadelphia-area talk radio show, WCHE, and makes numerous other television and radio appearances.