During his 27-year pontificate, Pope John Paul II canonised so many people that some dubbed the Vatican “the saint factory”.
Now, the Polish pope’s own legacy is under a shadow and some Catholics are asking if declaring him a saint in 2014, a record nine years after his death, may have been a hasty decision.
Last week, the Vatican issued its report on ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick, a star of the U.S. Church who was expelled from the priesthood last year after an internal investigation found him guilty of sexual abuses of minors and adults and abuse of power.
It showed that John Paul had promoted McCarrick in 2000 to be archbishop of Washington DC despite persistent rumours of sexual misconduct, believing his personal denial and overruling several senior Church officials who had advised him against it.
The report rekindled a debate between John Paul’s defenders and detractors that had accompanied his canonisation – an official recognition that a person lived and died in such an exemplary manner that they are with God in heaven and worthy of public veneration – or “cult” – across the Church.
“Saints are human beings, and saints, in their humanity, can be deceived,” wrote papal biographer George Weigel.
The head of the Polish bishops’ conference said McCarrick had “cynically deceived” John Paul, but not all Poles agreed. In Warsaw, someone placed a sticker on a street sign reading “John Paul II Avenue” to make it read “Victims of John Paul II Avenue”.
In the United States, the influential National Catholic Reporter newspaper urged bishops to “suppress the cult” of the late pope. That meant that, while he would still be considered a saint, schools or churches should not bear his name and activities of devotion towards him should be private.
“It is time for a difficult reckoning. This man … undermined the global Church’s witness, shattered its credibility as an institution, and set a deplorable example for bishops in ignoring the accounts of abuse victims,” its editorial said.
Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said he had no comment.
The McCarrick Report said John Paul’s willingness to believe the former cardinal’s denial was likely to have been influenced by his experience in his Poland, when communists used false abuse allegations to weaken the Church.
John Paul’s defenders have offered the same explanation to counter allegations that he turned a blind eye to Father Marcial Maciel, the Mexican founder of the Legionaries of Christ religious order who was the Church’s most notorious sexual abuser.
“MODELS TO BE IMITATED”
“The problems that have arisen over John Paul’s treatment of McCarrick prove that it is a mistake to be too hasty in canonising anyone,” said Father Tom Reese, senior analyst for the independent Religion News Service.
“I oppose canonising popes because it is often more about Church politics than sanctity,” he said. “Saints are supposed to be models to be imitated. How can you model yourself after a pope unless you are a pope?”
John Paul canonised nearly 500 saints, compared to 300 in the previous 600 years.
He changed an earlier rule that the process leading to canonisation, known as a cause, could not start until 50 years after a person’s death. He cut it to five years and permitted fast-track exceptions.
When Pope Benedict XVI was elected in 2005, he waived the rule, allowing John Paul’s cause to start only weeks after his death.
Catholic author Dawn Eden Goldstein tweeted that the McCarrick Report had not changed her belief that John Paul was a saint, but had changed how she prays to him:
“I now pray: Dear St. John Paul II, You broke it. You fix it.”
You’re a witch if your husband’s financial life doesn’t appreciate after marriage
Funke Adejumo, a Nigerian author and pastor of the Agape Christian Ministries, has described women whose husband’s financial life fails to appreciate after their marriage as “witches”.
She was speaking on the augmentative role women should play in their marriages during a recent church service.
During her sermon, Funke, who is married to Felix Adejumo, criticised women who she said often sit back, “pump babies”, and leave their man to pay bills.
“You cannot afford to be a nonentity, looking unto your husband before you buy bra. These are the things that remove dignity from a woman. The man helped you to bury your grandmother’s father’s son,” Adejumo said.
“He helped to do a wedding for your cousin’s father’s friend’s brother. Everything, one day he’s going to be tired. Do not allow your husband alone to pay the school fees. Contribute no matter how small.
“Do something with your life as a woman. You were created to add value. I add value to my marriage. My husband looked at me and said, ‘I want to be married to you eternally’. Stop being a beggarly wife.
Don’t be a drag or liability. If your husband’s life doesn’t appreciate after marriage, you’re a witch. Some of you are just sitting down, pumping out children, and doing nothing. No man wants a liability in his life.
“The number of children you have is the number of properties you should have so they won’t curse your memory.
“We’re binding the devil but there are things we need to tell ourselves as women. Stand up and take your place!”
Also Enoch Adeboye, the general overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), advised his church members not to marry ladies who can’t cook and do house chores.
Abducted Abuja Catholic priest regains freedom
The Catholic priest, Reverend Father Mathew Dajoh who was abducted by unknown gunmen on November 22 has regained his freedom after 10 days in captivity.
Father Dajoh was abducted on a Sunday along Yangoji Village in Kwali Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory.
In a statement by the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Most Reverend Ignatius Kaigama, the faithful appreciates God for the release of Father Dajoh to his Family and the church of God.
Most Reverend Kaigama also thanked the family of Father Dajoh for their prayers and patience while the priest was still with his abductors.
Zabarmari: Pope Francis condemns killing of Borno rice farmers
Pope Francis on Wednesday condemned the killing of farmers and villagers in northeast Nigeria by suspected Islamist militants.
CHRYSORA MEDIA had reported that some farmers were killed on their rice fields at Zabarmari, in Jere Local Government of Borno State by Boko Haram insurgents.
The terrorists beheaded the farmers on Saturday night in Zabarmari, less than 20 km from Maiduguri.
Reacting, Pope during his weekly general audience, held virtually from his library in the Vatican described the unfortunate incident as a `terroristic massacre’ that offended the name of God.
He also prayed that God grants peace and comfort to the families of the slain farmers.
“I want to assure my prayers for Nigeria, which unfortunately once again has been bloodied by a terroristic massacre.
“May God welcome them into his peace and comfort their families, and may he convert the hearts of those who commit such horrors, which gravely offend His name,’’ Francis said.
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