John Paul Is No Saint

Remember that whole pedophilia scandal he ignored?

By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 24, 2011 3:28 PM CDT

(Newser) – On this Easter, Maureen Dowd turns to another resurrection of sorts next Sunday: The beatification of Pope John Paul II, or "PR boost" that Pope Benedict hopes to get from the "swiftest ascension toward sainthood on record." And while there was much to love about the "skiing cardinal, mountain-climbing poet, kayaking philosopher, (and) singing author," the "indelible stain" of the sex abuse scandal that John Paul presided over makes next week's ceremony a charade. "How can you be a saint if you fail to protect innocent children?" Dowd wonders in the New York Times.

"John Paul forfeited his right to beatification when he failed to establish a legal standard to remove pedophiles from the priesthood, and simply turned away for many years," she writes. The former pontiff failed to investigate credibly accused pedophiles, refused to put the clergy under the microscope, and "was passive to an absolute fault," one author tells Dowd. "He failed in mountainous terms." So rather than mumbled apologies and checks the Vatican slips to sex abuse victims, Dowd concludes that simply "not beatifying or canonizing John Paul would be hugely symbolic."

In this Sept. 11, 2002 file photo, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany, left, who became the new Pope at the Vatican Tuesday April 19, 2005, is seen with late Pope John Paul II during mass.   (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito,File)
Hundreds of believers attend the Good Friday procession along the streets of Warsaw, Poland, on Good Friday, April 22, 2011.   (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)
This March 30, 2005 photo shows Pope John Paul II grimacing as he addresses pilgrims from his apartment's window at the Vatican, 30 March 2005.   (Getty Images)
This file picture taken on April 4, 2005 at The Vatican shows Pope John Paul II's body transferred from the Apostolic Palace to St Peter's Basilica.   (Getty Images)
In an Oct. 7, 1995 file photo, Pope John Paul II celebrates mass in New York's Central Park.   (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia, File)
People mark the 6th anniversary of the death of Pope John Paul II, on the exact hour of the pontiff's death, 21.37, in Warsaw, Poland, Saturday, April 2, 2011. The pope will be beatified on May 1, 2011.   (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)
A Polish mint worker presents a new silver 20 Polish zloty coin dedicated to the beatification of the Pope John Paul II, in Warsaw, Poland, Wednesday, March 30, 2011.   (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)
This April 10, 2003 file photo shows Pope John Paul II as a white dove is released in honor of his repeated calls for peace by Roman youths, in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican.   (AP Photo/Massimo Sambucetti, File)
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