Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Was John Paul II Part Of The Problem?

Damien Thompson has raised this question due to Cardinal Schonborn's latest revelations on the abuse scandal. Per Cardinal Schonborn, there was at least one incident where then-Cardinal Ratzinger had pushed for a full-bore investigation of a particular predator, only to be rebuffed in his efforts.

Vienna’s Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, in defence of the pope, told ORF Austrian television on Sunday that Benedict wanted a full probe when former Vienna Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer was removed in 1995 for alleged sexual abuse of a boy.

But other Curia officials persuaded the then Pope John Paul that the media had exaggerated the case and an inquiry would only create more bad publicity.

“[Ratzinger] told me, ‘the other side won’,” Schoenborn said.

Thompson is quick to say that Pope Benedict probably made some screw-ups along the way in dealing with these things, but he adds that the current Holy Father's legacy will be as the guy who started the clean-up. This makes me wonder what sort of affect this will all have on John Paul II's memory. He admitted himself in Memory and Identity that he wasn't the best administrator and could have been a lot more stringent in cracking down on problems. I think it's fair to say that he was in the early part of his pontificate, but his leadership style took a pretty heavy change in the mid 80s or so. I wonder how much of this might be attributable to his change in direction. And why the change anyway?

This is not meant as a bashing of JPII. It's more to do with speculating on what the world's memory will be of one of the longest reigning pontiffs ever. I'm not really sure, but I think it's fair to say that things are going to get worse for him as more of these stories are circulated.

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