A statement of Francis is very important as there are more and more accusations against St. John Paul II of concealing culprits of the crime of pedophilia. Extreme leftist groups from France even began to demand withdrawing the canonization of the Pope and write about ‘decanonization’ known in Church.

Over three months ago it was worsened by an ‘anecdote’ badly understood by journalists, which Francis told passengers on plane when he was returning from the United Arabian Emirates. He was speaking about the times when John Paul II was pope, and cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was a prefect of the Congregation for Faith Teaching. At that time documentation on Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollad from Mexico was sent to Vatican, against whom there had been lots of evidence concerning lots of sexual crimes. At a meeting cardinal Ratzinger was probably told not to deal with that issue, but conceal the documents into archive.

Pope was deceived

Journalists misunderstood the words of Francis. They began to write that cardinal Ratzinger was brave and wanted to purify Church from sexual abuses, but John Paul II did not allow for it. Now Francis explicitly is denying these unauthorized speculations. – It is not true. John Paul II was not there. It was a meeting of chiefs of various dicasteries of the Roman Curia in order to examine the case of Maciel – he said in an interview for the Mexican TV.

Francis noted that the Polish Pope had sometimes been deceived, for example, about the issue of cardinal Hans Hermann Groer, the archbishop of Vienna. He also emphasized that both of his predecessors had been brave in a fight with sexual abuses in Church. – It is certain that John Paul II was sometimes misled – he said.

During the interview a journalist Valentina Alazraki quoted a fragment of her interview with Francis from years before, in which he said that it had just been St. John Paul II who authorized cardinal Ratzinger to investigate the case of Marcial Maciel Degollada. – Yes, Ratzinger was brave in it and so was John Paul II – said Francis. – Nobody should doubt the holiness and good will of John Paul II. His holiness was great, really great – he added.

In the long interview Francis also referred to other situations when his statements are distorted and their sense is completely reversed. He said about his problems with media and people who visit him and later, influenced by a wave of enthusiasm, they say more things than they heard from the Pope.

He was never indifferent

The issue of accusations against St. John Paul II was taking place for three months. It is good that Francis put the end to all speculations. – Actions of St. John Paul II were getting stronger with developing range of knowledge on the scale of sexual abuse in Church – archbishop Stanisłąw Gądecki, the chairperson of the Polish Episcopate Conference emphasized. – He was never indifferent, but reacted definitely which makes us take on the same attitude today.

A list of actions of John Paul II to fight the sin of sexual abuse in clergy is very long. And although the Pope was doing what he could to purify Church, today’s findings prove that he was deceived or at least underinformed.

In defence of St. John Paul II also the senior pope Benedict XVI stood. He reminded the times when a fight with pedophilia was beginning in Poland. ‘Congregation for Clergy is responsible for crimes committed by priests. I agreed with pope John Paul II that it was suitable to allocate competences to the Congregation for Faith Teaching in the case of these crimes (…) – he wrote in his text which came out in April 2019. – Thanks to those findings the heaviest punishment was possible, that is, exclusion from clergy (…). It was a consequence of faith significance for Church. Indeed, it is important to notice that such a bad behavior in clergy brings a harm to faith: only where faith does not define the human behavior, such crimes are possible’.

Translated by Aneta Amrozik

Niedziela 23/2019 (9 VI 2019)

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: redakcja@niedziela.pl