April 08, 2005

The truth, without blinders, regarding the Pope

The Sentinel

By Gabe Caggiano

Anyone channel surfing with their TV remotes this week has been able to find, at any given time, at least three networks praising the life of Pope John Paul II.

Many world leaders and local religious figures proclaim this Pope was among the greatest and most influential of all time. Fox's Bill O'Reilly predicts Pope John Paul II will be canonized and made a saint.

Earlier this week President Bush said the Pope's "great legacy will be the influence he had on the young." Bush also called Pope John Paul II "a courageous man, a moral person." Political pundits are giving this Pope as much credit as Ronald Reagan and Britain's Margaret Thatcher for ending communism throughout the soviet bloc.

I'm sorry, but as a man who grew up a Roman Catholic in Boston, I find much of the praise underserved. I was in the crowd of nearly a million people when Pope John II gave a mass on Boston Commons in 1979, and I distinctly remember the loudest roar from the faithful came when the pope proclaimed in his heavy Slavic accent "The Pope is your friend."

The truth, without blinders on, brings that declaration into question. Let's start with the Catholic Church pedophile scandal that exploded on Pope John Paul II's watch. As the scandal unfolded in the Boston Diocese, it became clear, much to the horror and outrage of the Catholic laity, that pedophile priests were moved from parish to parish repeatedly and continued to rape children even when the church hierarchy knew these men were beyond rehabilitation.

The former cardinal in Boston, Bernard Law, who had hopes of becoming the first American pope, resigned in disgrace after he lost all credibility as a spiritual leader for transferring a pedophile priest from church to church over two decades.

The pedophile priest scandal has bankrupted the once mighty Boston Diocese and more than 70 churches have closed. The scandal also revealed cover-ups, payoffs and a wall of silence and arrogance about this issue that went all the way to the Vatican. Pope John Paul II never did anything about this horrific problem until he was left with no choice.

Posted by kshaw at April 8, 2005 09:15 AM