Sunday, April 11, 2010

John Paul II

Expanding the possibility that a pope's problems could be beyond the current pope...

One thought I've been having, as Pope Benedict XVI is getting a thrashing in the press, is that he is somewhat inheriting things that actually belonged to John Paul II - in terms of what hasn't been or wasn't done on behalf of children in the Catholic Church. (It's sort of how, in 2008, John McCain inherited the rancor of unhappy Republicans that G.W. Bush had generated - only this inheritance would be way, way behind the scenes.)

I do know that Benedict, back when he was Ratzinger and in charge of the CDF (called the "Modern Inquisition" office), seemed concerned about Marcial Maciel, a money generator from Mexico and head of his own order called the Legion of Christ. I do know that Ratzinger, once he became Benedict, sent Maciel into a life of prayer and penitence whilst John Paul II had had that same Maciel on a fast-track to canonization. And I did know a fair amount about the allegations that Maciel had groomed young seminarians - recruited from isolated and often poor Mexican towns at tender ages of 10 or 12 - and ultimately abused them sexually. (Newsman Jason Berry, among others, have headed the exposure of stories about Maciel.)

And these past couple weeks, in light of this new wave of concern about the behavior of the Catholic church, I've wondered whether John Paul would continue to escape visible taint.

Not that he was a bad man - just that he made really really bad decisions, imo, when it came to the issue of child abuse. It is my belief, and it was his good treatment of Maciel - in light of such horrific allegations, by many of Maciel's own priests - that in large part brought me to believe that.

Maciel denied any wrongdoing. The Legionaries defended him to the hilt. Money seemed to line coffers.

And now, as it turns out, Maciel also fathered three boys and a girl by two different women. Two of his sons recently accused him of sexually abusing them. (The third boy, youngest of the three, was kept from Maciel, on the insistence of his two older brothers.) As I understand it, the findings of a Vatican investigation will come out by the end of this month. A college owned by the Legionaries went belly up over spring break last week. No money. The National Catholic Reporter apparently has been writing long articles about the group and their money.

What I found particularly helpful for a nutshell version of the money issues here, however, was written by Andrew Sullivan, and his description of all the cash being distributed, right and left, over the years, by the Legionaries to people like Cardinal Sodano, who's the one who talked on Easter day about how we need to ignore all that "petty gossip" out there about those men in the Vatican not doing right by the people who follow their lead....

Here is Sullivan's synopsis. Totally worth the read:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The entire criminal conspiracy is being revealed before our very eyes. The Church does many great things, but if they don't completely restructure the hierarchy after ALL THIS, the Church will be majorly damaged and its followers, the good ones, will fall away en masse.
-Green Libertarian