In some ways, Pope John Paul II was an admirable man. But the Vatican's unprecedented report on disgraced former cardinal Theodore McCarrick reveals that the pope made some calamitous, callous decisions.
"It is time for a difficult reckoning," NCR writes in our editorial. "This man, proclaimed a Catholic saint by Pope Francis in 2014, willfully put at risk children and young adults in the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., and across the world. In doing so, he also 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."
As with every saint, John Paul has a cult of people across the world that celebrate his memory and encourage devotion to him, but we hope that the U.S. bishops, who are meeting next week for their annual conference, can put a stop to such practice.
"Suppressing the late pontiff's cult would not mean telling people they need to throw away their relics or their medals — people could still practice private devotion to him," we write. "But for abuse victims, their advocates and many others, John Paul's memory is no longer a blessing. It should not be celebrated in public."
- The report on McCarrick makes it clear that Pope John Paul II decided to appoint the priest as archbishop of Washington despite repeated warnings from high-level advisers.
- Catch up on all of NCR's coverage of the McCarrick report here.