News / Europe

Sex Abuse Scandal Casting Shadow Over Pope John Paul II's Sainthood

Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II
TEXT SIZE - +
Sabina Castelfranco

Five years ago Catholics around the world were mourning the death of Pope John Paul II, who headed the church for 27 years. Now questions have arisen over his record combating pedophile priests and it appears his fast track to sainthood may be slowing down.

Catholics around the world are marking Good Friday but at the same time also the fifth anniversary of the death of Pope John Paul II, the most popular pontiff of the modern age and a prime candidate for sainthood.

Thousands who took part in the Polish pope's funeral in 2005 shouted "Santo Subito!" (Sainthood Now). Just two months later, Benedict XVI, the new pope and a longtime associate of Pope John Paul II, waived the traditional five-year waiting period to kick off the sainthood process for the Polish pope.

Now there are questions over whether Pope John Paul II's fast track to sainthood may be slowing down. His beatification process is very close to its end, but is turning out to be more complicated than anticipated.

There is more than one reason for this.

One has to do with the miracle needed for Pope John Paul II to be declared "blessed". The inexplicable cure of a young French nun from Parkinson's disease had initially seemed like the perfect case. But now there are doubts over whether she has in fact completely recovered and whether she suffered from Parkinson's in the first place.

The other reasons have do with the child sex abuse scandal by priests currently engulfing the Catholic Church. Pope John Paul II's record in combating pedophile priests is being questioned and a battle has erupted in the Vatican over how he should be remembered.

New shadows on Pope John Paul II's image have been cast as revelations about new cases of child sex abuse by priests during his papacy emerge. Victims say he had to be aware and should have done more to stop what was happening.

Father Thomas Reese, a Jesuit and Vatican observer, says Europe must learn from what occurred in the United States because the child sex abuse scandals have been extremely damaging to the image of the Catholic Church.

"Well, I think there is no question that this has been the worst crisis that the United States church has experienced in its history," said Thomas Reese. "It was terrible for the poor victims who were abused, it shocked the people in the pews and really hurt the credibility of the clergy and the bishops."

Speculation has circulated that Pope Benedict may address the issue during the Good Friday ceremonies at Rome's ancient Colosseum. Shortly before Benedict became pope in 2005, he used meditations he wrote for the Way of the Cross services to denounce "filth" in the church.

Now that he is pope and the crisis is at its worst, many are hoping the pope will again to use this opportunity to issue a mea culpa and take responsibility for the scandal.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid