Monday , April 15 2024
If the late Pope is considered a saint, I'd hate to meet their idea of a sinner.

The Not-So-Saintly John Paul II

They want to speed up the process of canonization for John Paul II. They’ve already waived the rule of waiting until five years after someone’s death before beginning the process and now their pushing for skipping the proof of miracles stage. “His very presence among us was a miracle” is what his former principle secretary is saying.

What I want to know is, why the rush? He’s not going anywhere. He will still be as dead two years from now as he is today. Could it be because they want to capitalize on the emotion surrounding his death and not let the cold light of facts come into play?

Perhaps they don’t want people thinking about the effect of his policies on the world have been like. That he had been so outspoken against the use of condoms as birth control has probably resulted in the deaths of millions of Africans from AIDS. This is not something the church will want people thinking about just now.

Maybe they don’t want people considering the fact that he was one of the biggest misogynists the world has seen in a leadership position in modern times. He did more to set back women’s struggle for control over their own bodies than any right wing fundamentalist in the United States could dream of doing. Not only was he stridently against birth control and abortion, but also his views on a women’s place in the world were medieval.

Maybe they don’t want people questioning how, during his reign, alter boys were being raped up and down the east coast of the United States with the full knowledge of the church. Not only did the church not turn the priests over to the authorities for prosecution when they found out what was going on, they hid them in other parishes where they could have access to more children to abuse.

I don’t know about anyone else, but that’s called aiding and abetting after the fact and complicity where I come from. He was head of the Catholic Church. He was responsible for dictating policy on how to deal with sexual offenders within the church. No Bishop or Cardinal is going to make those kinds of decisions without clearance from the top.

There were also his attempts to deny people their civil rights by urging governments not to allow homosexuals to have all the same rights as heterosexuals. He went so far as to interfere in the internal politics of a nation by writing threatening letters to the leaders of countries who were considering same sex marriages as law.

There was also his refusal to admit that the Church had ever done anything wrong – including the Spanish Inquisition, their support of Franco in Spain, and their propping up of various dictators throughout the world who also happened to be good Catholics.

During his tenure as Pope, John Paul II came down heavily against the clergy in South America who worked tirelessly on the sides of the peasant farmers or helping refugees escape the oppressive regimes he was supporting. His only concern was the status of the Church in the world and to ensure that he held on to the position of power he had managed to carve out of it.

Everybody loved his little Pope-Mobile and his huge open air masses. Nobody dared to mention their similarities to the Nuremberg Rallies of the 1930’s even though the comparisons were there for everyone to see. How else would your refer to large numbers of people blindly accepting one person’s word as law without question or thought? Under other circumstances it would have been called mass hypnosis, a cult of personality, or at the very least dangerous.

It wasn’t an original thought, but he turned himself into the Catholic Church. In order to prove you were a true believer you had to believe in him. People were no longer worshipping their God; they worshipped John Paul II (the only John and Paul worth worshipping in the twentieth century were Lennon and McCartney as far as I’m concerned) and followed his dictates instead of the teachings of Christ.

Am I the only person who remembers him giving his blessing for building a convent on the site of Auschwitz, insulting the memory of those non-Catholics who lost their lives in that camp and whose ashes scarred the sky? Am I the only person who thinks about all the people he sent out into the world telling people not to practice family planning or use condoms in a time when overpopulation is one of the biggest crises the world faces?

In countries where the infant mortality rate is astronomical because of a lack of clean drinking water and food, encouraging people to have children has to rank pretty high on the insensitive charts. As long as the kid is baptized before he starves to death, who cares about the trauma the mother had to go through giving birth or the grief she has to deal with after the child’s death? It’s one more soul for Jesus and that’s all that matters.

Pope John Paul II was a manipulative and dangerous individual who made the world a lot worse off than it was before he took power. All the talk these days surrounds how a nun who suffered from Parkinson’s disease miraculously recovered a couple of months after the Pope died. It’s quite scary knowing there are people in the world who genuinely think that’s sufficient grounds to make this guy a saint.

I’m sure the Catholic Church is going to go ahead and make him a saint within the nest five years or so — if for no other reason than because it will justify their continued swing towards the right and their reactionary attitudes towards women, homosexuals, birth control, and the use of condoms to help stop the spread of disease — but it doesn’t have to mean anything at all unless we let it.

Like aristocracy and petty dictators the world over, the Vatican will do anything to justify its existence and the need for draconian policies of control and hatred. The easiest way to do to that is make a hero out of a person who exemplified all those qualities. John Paul II was a xenophobic, misogynistic, homophobic dictator. If they consider him a saint, I’d hate to meet their idea of a sinner.

About Richard Marcus

Richard Marcus is the author of three books commissioned by Ulysses Press, "What Will Happen In Eragon IV?" (2009) and "The Unofficial Heroes Of Olympus Companion" and "Introduction to Greek Mythology For Kids". Aside from Blogcritics he contributes to and his work has appeared in the German edition of Rolling Stone Magazine and has been translated into numerous languages in multiple publications.

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