Well, Maybe Pope John Paul II Wasn't All That "Great" After All
The quiet changes of Pope Benedict
No, this isn't a "slam JP 2" post. But as faithful, thinking Catholics, it's something that we need to consider.
A year after his election, no one seems to have noticed (or possibly they choose to ignore?), that Pope Benedict XVI has executed an unmistakable about face (corrections?) from some of the causes that were near and dear to the heart of his predecessor, Pope John Paul II. And when I say 'near and dear', I mean
near and dear.
Case in point; Father Marcial Maciel Degollado, the founder of the Legion of Christ, was accused as far back as 1976 of sexually abusing "more than 20 and less than 100 victims" in seminary. In 1998, a canon-law suit seeking Degollado's ouster was submitted. Pope John Paul was begged by the accusers to investigate. Instead, Pope John Paul buried the case and even protected and publicly praise Fr. Degollado.
Under Pope Benedict, Fr Degollado was handled far differently. The pope "invited" Fr. Degollado to give up his public ministry in favor of a quiet life of "prayer and penitence". In doing so, Pope Benedict did something extraordinarily unusual: He cast doubt on Pope John Paul's judgment
. And that in itself is quite stunning.
Something else to consider and be brutally honest about... Pope John Paul was considered by many as the foremost champion of ecumenism and 'building bridges' with the moslems. Pope John Paul was the first pope ever to visit a moslem country (France doesn't count... yet). The first pope ever to visit a mosque. The first pope ever to kiss the koran. Let's not kid each other. Ever time Pope John Paul had a chance to cozy up to the moslems, he did. I'm not saying this to be hard-hearted, I'm trying to be objectively honest.
Under Pope John Paul's pontificate, a none too quiet moslem invasion of Europe took place. We all know the horror stories; 20% of Switzerland is moslem, the most popular name for newborn baby boys in Brussels is Mohammed, moslem males in Scandinavia wear shirts saying '2025, That's When We Take Over'
, etc, etc.
Again, it's time to be brutally honest. Did Pope John Paul ever say or do anything of substance concerning the de-Christianization of Europe? His silence was deafening.
On the other hand, Pope Benedict, has come out and called for Europe to "rediscover it's Christian roots". He also has opposed Turkey's inclusion in what he called the "Christian-rooted European Union".
Instead of the John Paulesque apology-of-the-day, Pope Benedict has the bad manners to call out mohammed as the 6th century terrorist that he was. Not exactly endearing to the moslem horde, would you say? I've even read quotes from moslem leaders essentially asking "why can't Benedict be more like John Paul?".
Why, indeed. And thank God he isn't.
And in spite of the past friction, there has been a very quiet move towards greater Catholic-Russian Orthodox ties. Keep in mind, the Russian Orthodox is the largest of the various Orthodox denominations.
Archbishop Antonio Mennini, Vatican nuncio to Russia, said ”it is also noteworthy that in recent months there have been repeated statements by high-ranking representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church speaking positively of closeness in Orthodox and Catholic positions on most of the challenges brought by modern times”. Gee, I wonder what he meant by 'challenges of modern times'? You don't have to be a seasoned diplomat to figure that one out.
As 'lovable' and 'grandfatherly' as Pope John Paul was, we have to be yet again, brutally honest. He was a... oh, shall we say 'less than effective'
You know, because of the actions of many popes 500 years ago, Pope St. Pius V had to kick in a little something called The Catholic Counter Reformation. It was God's plan all along for those errors to happen. Are we on the verge of a Catholic Self
Pope Benedict has an uphill fight if there ever was one. There are a number of things our Holy Father can do to improve the situation. From chasing the wolves out of the rectories, to freeing the Traditional Latin Mass, to Consecrating Russia to the Holy Mother, to being a unifying leader for all Christendom under a Catholic banner in stemming the moslem tide.
Pray for our pope.