Makings of a Saint

In the Catholic religion in which I was raised, the pope was second only to God, not just here on earth but in the entire universe. Sometimes even true believers wonder if God is really listening to them. They can’t understand why they would be visited by tsunamis, nuclear explosions, and horrible accidents or illness. Fortunately I’ve not had to endure the first of those two, though in California we’ve had our share of natural disasters; still, I have compassion for unreasonable suffering. I also resent the loss of dear friends and relatives long before their time, while others who are clearly unkind, selfish and destructive continue to live full lives. For example, top level employees at BP continue to rake in millions; we hear of no repercussions for those who built the Fukushima and Chernobyl nuclear facilities; political donors (and the politicians themselves) who steadfastly obstruct natural energy alternatives that wouldn’t cause climate change make fistfuls of dollars, directly or indirectly, from the oil industry.

Now there is a pope about to be beatified, which in Catholic jargon means he’s already being considered a saint and the Vatican is just going through the formalities. There are many who must be incensed by this, particularly those who get no assistance from the uber-wealthy Vatican (only directives about birth control and tithing) and the many who have suffered sexual abuse at the hands and other body parts of the clergy. Pope John Paul ll seemed a nice enough guy, but he was in power throughout all the now-coming-to-light sexual abuse and did nothing to stop it. Let’s be honest: sexual abuse by the clergy has likely been rampant since maybe ten minutes after Peter, ostensibly the first disciple, took leadership of the religion, but it’s difficult to prove with all witnesses deceased. However, in the age of the Internet we know at least some of what John Paul did. We know he turned a blind eye to sexual abuse.

Just as almost everybody born before 1973 knew somebody who died in Viet Nam, almost everybody born before 2005, when John Paul ll died, knows somebody who was abused by the clergy during his reign. You may not know you know that person, but you do. And if you know that person well, you know that beatification of JP ll is completely and utterly wrong. Any good he did is outweighed by the damage he allowed to continue to be inflicted on innocent children.