In 1999 it was the mania to try to pick a Man of the Century. Time Magazine picked Einstein but I have always thought that the true man of the 20th Century was Karol Woytija, Pope John Paul II. He was a victim and opponent of both of that century's evils Nazism and Communism and he also was an opponent of that other great evil, materialism. To say that he was not a good man and an important figure would be untrue but to say that he is a saint?
It seems that Conservative forces need to canonize their leaders see the blessed Ronald Reagan for example but to call John Paul II a saint caused me and millions of other Catholics to pause and wonder what exactly does it mean? Yes it is true that John Paul did good things. But he also allowed some very bad things. Things that are still with us today. He allowed the curia to ignore global sexual abuse and pedophilia. These were not isolated insodents, in over 40 countries hundreds of priests have been convicted of the worst abuse many protected by their bishops so that they could damage multiple children. I know from own life at least three former priests that have been indicted or convicted of these crimes and my bishop covered this up. This happened on John Paul's watch.
I know many will say the Church is a big institution and the Pope cannot see everything. But John Paul and the Present Pope Benedict had interest in all kinds of minutiae. They silenced theologian Hans Kung, Charles Curran and Leonardo Boff. The destroyed in Latin America the Christian Base Community movement allowing Evangelical Churches to fill that void and they created whole new decades of the Rosary. They had the time to redo Church liturgy and prayers and to investigate Nuns and Sisters but they did not have the time or desire to protect Children.
Is this the life of a saint?
There are many people whose sainthood is self evident for their greatness, Francis, Ignatius, Teresa of Avila, Catherine of Siena, Dominic and Benedict. There are people whose sainthood was simple and quiet, Teresa of Lisieux, St Maria Goretti or St. Charbel. There have been Popes who were also saints but has there ever been a saint who allowed evil to thrive?
John Paul is a great man not a saint