Pope John Paul II, it is now clear, put enormous effort into covering up the sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests, which enabled it to continue. Then the Vatican invited Cardinal Bernard Law, of all people, to lead one of the Pope’s funeral masses: a great honor to Law, a rebuke to those who dared criticize him for actively covering up child molestation in his archdiocese of Boston, and an unmistakable message that he had the late Pope’s full approval. And now the church, including Pope Benedict, is rushing to make John Paul II a saint.
“Saint” has a very specific meaning in the Roman Catholic Church. To be canonized, one must be a confessor of the faith, martyr and/or miracle worker. But even so, the word also carries its common meaning of “person of extraordinary virtue or benevolence.” Apparently that meaning is being suspended in this case.