Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Canonization of John Paul II

Damian Thompson at his blog Holy Smoke takes a look at a post by a law student named Eric Giunta at RenewAmerica.

Thompson includes long excerpts of Giunta's column, including:

Though Catholics and others are loathe to admit it of an otherwise beloved Pope, John Paul II oversaw a church which deteriorated in both its inner and outer life. His callous indifference toward the victims of priestly sexual abuse in refusing to meet personally with a single one of them, and his stubborn refusal to compel the resignation from office of any of the bishops who aided, abetted, and covered-up the abuse, are testamentary to his utter failure: not as a Catholic or a theologian, but as a Pope.

And so on. Read the entire thing at RenewAmerica, but that's the gist. After the long excerpts, Thompson concludes with the following:

I don’t endose these views: in fact, it seems perfectly obvious that the reign of John Paul II was one of slowly growing orthodoxy in the Church, nurtured by his Catechism and a series of magnificent encyclicals. And those Catholics who want to draw a sharp distinction between the agendas of John Paul and Benedict are overlooking the fact that the theological direction of the last pontificate owed an enormous amount to the current Holy Father, who would be horrified by Giunta’s article.

Yet this debate is clearly gathering pace. JPII loyalists are also on the warpath. (George Weigel is using the Maciel scandal as a stick with which to beat this administration, not the last one.) So I’d be interested in your views.

Though Mr. Thompson is right that a lot of good that we're seeing now began first during the pontificate of John Paul II through the continued influence of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, I think that Mr. Thompson ignores by painting over Giunta's comments as just more anti-JPII rhetoric that Giunta's points deserve at the very least direct refutation since they aren't dealing necessarily with /theology/. John Paul II was by most accounts an indifferent administrator at best. Whether that in itself is grounds for blocking canonization I cannot say, but that indifference certainly had consequences that we're living with and cleaning up to this day.

This comment left by Hamish McGlobbie contains the best advice:

I think we could wait 20 years or so before rushing to canonize anyone. Presumably it is God who decides whether they go fast-track to Heaven, rather than a Vatican committee, and it will be easier to make such evaluations when we have had more time. JP2 = good guy? (yes). JP2 = saint? (hard to tell).

1 comment:

Louis E. said...

Sainthood seems a verdict best left to history rather than to one's contemporaries.