Centenary of JPII’s Birth

st john paul ii

On Monday, we marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of Pope St. John Paul II. Pope Francis celebrated Mass at the late pope’s tomb. The Holy Father said:

John Paul went to find the people. Throughout the whole world, he went to visit his people, searching for his people, making himself close… A priest who is not close to his people is not a pastor. He’s a hierarch, an administrator, maybe even a good one, but he’s not a pastor.

Saint John Paul II gave us an example of this closeness, to the great and the small, to the close and the far away. He always drew them near.

Yes, that’s me on the left, on my way down to kiss the fisherman’s ring, March 9, 2000.

Twenty years ago, meeting John Paul II gave this particular seminarian great hope. I had read every word he ever wrote. I regarded him as the wisest man on earth. I wanted to become a priest like him.

But some other people could not see him this way. And for good reason.

On the occasion of the beatification of Pope John Paul II, Mr. Peter Isely wrote an essay. He got to the heart of a problem that has since come to preoccupy me a great deal.

We victims of priest abuse didn’t need a papal saint. We needed a Citizen-Saint, who embodied catholic citizenship as much as catholic sanctity, and who was as adept and insistent at forming such citizens among his seminarians, priests, and especially his bishops.

It is as a fellow citizen, humbly assuming this most ordinary role, where John Paul’s sanctity really fails. This failure is all the more dramatic with the late pope because he advocated so passionately as a “citizen of the world” for human rights around the world.

That advocacy clearly and decisively ended at the front door of the church.

Fellow citizens report child molesting clerics to the police. Fellow citizens eject sex offenders from professional employment with children and families.

The pope, who had the power to do both of these urgent citizen acts, never did the first, and made the second virtually impossible.

Citizenship, like holiness, requires sacrifice, defending if necessary, and dismantling if required, practices and traditions that attack the equality of rights regardless of one’s status (such as the basic human rights, say, of children inside the church). Concerning criminal priests, John Paul was never prepared, or saw no need for, the kind of sacrifice citizenship requires.

jp ii habemus papamIsely did not muse idly here. He wrote from personal experience:

In 1991, a group of some 30 survivors of childhood sexual molestation by priests and I wrote to Pope John Paul II in painstaking and excruciating detail of our harrowing experiences of being raped and sexually assaulted as youngsters while attending a boarding school for boys operated by the Capuchin Franciscan religious order in rural Wisconsin.

We delivered our letter, along with newspaper clippings, supporting legal documents, and videotaped depositions to the papal nuncio in Washington.

What we were hoping for from Pope John Paul II was justice.

What we received instead was a certified letter from the nuncio curtly informing us that our letters and documents had been acknowledged. We never heard anything more.

Hans Hermann Card. Groer
Hans Cardinal Groër

You may remember, dear reader, how we considered the Hans Card. Groër case. Between 1995 and 1998, evidence piled up against the Cardinal Archbishop.

The Vatican at first refused to act, then tried to lower Groër’s profile. Pope John Paul II visited Austria, apparently intending to smooth everything over by ignoring the problem. The visit just made the problem worse. The results of a Vatican “investigation” never saw the light of day.

Finally, the bishops of the country–over Vatican objections–publicly declared themselves “morally certain” that Groër had, in fact, sexually abused minors. Which was the closest to a guilty verdict that Groër ever came.

You also may remember, dear reader, how we considered Jason Berry and Gerald Renner’s book Vows of Silence, when we reviewed James’ Grein’s accusation against the late Joseph Card. Bernardin.


In the 1990’s, nine victims of the founder of the Legion of Christ found the clarity and courage to speak about the crimes they had suffered at the hands of the man they had trusted with their young lives.

On multiple occasions, different Church authorities in Mexico and the U.S. reviewed and endorsed the testimony, and sent it to the Vatican. Nothing happened.

Berry and Renner wrote, in 2004:

The Vatican is under no obligation to assist investigative journalists. In the seven years since we first contacted the office of the papal spokesman, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, for comment on accusations by nine ex-Legion members that Maciel had abused them, the Vatican refused comment.

No Vatican official ever told us Maciel was innocent. There was simply no answer to the accusations in media reports.

The charges that Vaca and others filed against Maciel in a Vatican court of canon law in 1998 were shelved: no decision. Instead, Pope John Paul in 2001 praised Maciel at a sixtieth anniversary celebration of the Legion’s founding.

That symbolic acquittal from a pope who championed human rights under dictatorships is a numbing message on the state of justice in the church.

Pope John Paul II died on April 2, 2005. I remember it like yesterday. I felt I had lost a father.

Maciel died in 2008, never having faced a trial. In 2010, the Vatican finally acknowledged:

The very grave and objectively immoral actions of Father Maciel, confirmed by incontrovertible testimonies, in some cases constitute real crimes and manifest a life devoid of scruples and authentic religious meaning.

This life was unknown to the great majority of the Legionaries, above all because of the system of relationships constructed by Father Maciel, who was able skillfully to create alibis for himself, to obtain trust, confidence and silence from those around him, and to reinforce his personal role as a charismatic founder.

Not infrequently a deplorable discrediting and distancing of those who entertained doubts as to the probity of his conduct, as well as a misguided concern to avoid damaging the good that the Legion was accomplishing, created around him a defense mechanism that for a long time rendered him unassailable, making it very difficult, as a result, to know the truth about his life.

The sincere zeal of the majority of Legionaries led many people to believe that the increasingly insistent and widespread accusations could not be other than calumnies.

Therefore the discovery and the knowledge of the truth concerning the founder gave rise among the members of the Legion to surprise, dismay, and profound grief.

Do those of us who loved and admired Pope St. John Paul II have to undergo some form of the same grief?

Not that JPII himself abused anyone. But that, as a pastor, he had a willful blind spot? A blind spot the size of Texas, when it came to sexual abuse by the clergy?

Peter Isely put it like this:

It is likely John Paul, during his long tenure as pope, received hundreds, if not thousands of letters denouncing abusers in the clergy. Not one survivor, in writing or in person, was ever known to have received a direct reply from him.

The legacy of John Paul II has been, literally, sanctified by Popes Benedict and Francis as official church history. Part of that legacy, whose vast dimensions are still being uncovered, includes thousands of unprosecuted child molesting clerics.

38 thoughts on “Centenary of JPII’s Birth

  1. Dear Speck of Dust,
    You called Sloan a “Pig” because he suggested Fr. Mark make amends with the bishop. Making amends is exactly what is needed in this out-of-control situation. Mature individuals take responsibility for what they have done and stop blaming others or situations for their errors.

    Mature people also have empathy toward others’ feelings rather than insisting on the correctness of their actions and behavior. Further, they apologize sincerely and remorsefully and not glibly. That sincerity comes from a long and hard self-reflection and taking ownership of one’s mistakes without blaming others or making excuses.

    It seems people like Cynthia, Terry, Sloan, and Mary Helen Christian have tried to help Fr. Mark see the situation and to show him how to remedy it. People, who are adulating and egging him on, are the ones that are leading him into the dark pit, with the superficial sweetness to his ear, where he can’t get out, which is so obvious now. Bitter pills of self-reflection, owning up to responsibility, in the long run, will help heal all those involved.

    No one can be so reverent toward bread and wine, when he is so irreverent and disrespectful to people and the Church, particularly Bishop Knestout. It is incongruent and seems false. It is apparent Bishop Knestout has shown much restraint and been conciliatory. No organization would have tolerated, even for a day, of this kind of public shaming of and campaigning against his superior without being fired.

    At this eleventh hour, I see two solutions to remedy this grave situation: 1) Fr. Mark apologizes to the bishop sincerely and publicly (his action will show his honor and maturity), as he has excoriated and shamed the bishop publicly; 2) Fr. Mark leaves the priesthood. One can only hope that someday he will come to realization how much he has hurt himself and many people with his insane drive to “win” at any cost.

    Peter Simmons

  2. You don’t understand the purpose of Mark’s blog if you don’t grasp the huge — and continuing — injustice by the Catholic Church to the victims of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy.
    Ann White

  3. Peter, this is sooo not about anything you’ve written here or suggest remedy the situation. But I would say to take the reverse, and yes Bishop Knestout should apologize to Fr. White for smearing him and for persecuting him unjustly for doing the will of God. AND FOR STANDING UP FOR THE VICTIMS OF ABUSE! Let’s not forget the root of this evil and conflict. Stop making it personal between 2 men. It’s so much for than that.
    God will prevail here. Fr. White will prevail. You read it here first. “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”― Edmund Burke

  4. The Lord said, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32. We owe it to Christ to continue to seek the truth and carry His light into dark places.

  5. Peter… i may not agree with everything you said…. but one thing i do agree with… in thecatholic life…. there is no place for this name calling etc.
    while i disagree with the bishops actions… the people in the church ive talked to about it have a basic message… that is to let the process happen… you wrote your letter… now pray and put it in Gods hands. I think that to a large degree is what all if us as the lay faithful has to do. As several have been reminded our church is not a democracy…. as i found in my readings…a very common reason that a bishop will move a priest is so that parishioners remember the eason we attend mass. Name calling…. threatening to boycott to withhold funds… none of this is going to help father mark.. we are all entitled to opinions….but giving the bishop a reason to act as he is… helps no one. We all need to pray…we also all need to follow st Faustina… jesus. I trust in you. She meant it all her heart and soul…we have to do the same. As a new catholic radio program coming on just said… pray hope and dont worry… that was padre pio…

    As for St John Paul II…as much as it sucks that he kept many things quiet… he was not alone… it wasnt right…. but it was what was done.. we have to pray to make sacrifices … to ask Gods forgiveness…none of us are without sin… but we can live our lives as we should to show the gospel in our lives…to show in our lives our love for Christ…

  6. I called Sloan a PIG and I am wrong to have done so. My emotion was over Sloan comments, which were completely void of any basic human compassion. Kicking Fr. Mark while he is bearing his heart to his readers does nothing but reveal the contempt Sloan and others like them have for Fr. Mark. There is plenty of fault to go around here and it ALL doesn’t rest with Fr. Mark. Where is the Church’s zeal for justice with regards to the victims of sexual abuse? What if one of the victims of such horror were you or a family member? What if the filthy hands of a monster like former Cardinal McCarrick were laid upon you in the sacrament of Holy Orders? I call that abuse! Anyone with a heart would feel compassion for Fr. Mark. He is a victim too people! If the Church pursued justice for the victims of abuse half as aggressively as She has applied Herself to punishing Fr. Mark for things which he himself has admitted guilt, we wouldn’t be fighting here on this blog and in fact this blog wouldn’t even be necessary. I for one am done with this blog. I am thankful for Fr. Mark for it and I have learned much from it, much of which I wish i didn’t. The Church we have now will crush priests like Fr. Mark for demanding answers, even if at times disrespectfully, turning it into a “personal issue” between two men, while turning a blind eye to MONSTERS like former Cardinal McCarrick. Fr. Mark, I will never stop praying for you. I care for you deeply and I thank God for you and for priests like you. I wrote Bishop Knestout on your behalf for what it is worth.

  7. There are a number of issues to address here. First, Fr. Mark did, on more than one occasion offer an apology for something he wrote in the blog that he later felt was inappropriate. The blog revealed a very “human” priest who had passion for what he believed, and was willing to speak out about it. Fr. Mark also offered an apology at least twice in more recent blogs for anything he wrote that might have been offensive and/or inappropriate. So Fr. Mark is more than willing to apologize. He has also reached out to the Bishop with a plan to have his blog “moderated” by responsible people in the church prior to being published. I believe he has offered to do all he can to reconcile with the Bishop.
    The Bishop has made it clear he does not want reconciliation. He wants blind obedience, in my opinion. He wants Fr. Mark’s voice silenced. I have written to the Bishop several times, and asked him to demonstrate to the world that the church practices what it preaches…which is forgiveness. Pope John Paul II forgave the man (Mehmet Ali Agca) who attempted to assassinate him on May 13, 1981. The Pope met with him while he was in prison, and also requested that Agca be pardoned, which he was in 2000.
    The church has the Canon laws. These outline what may and may not be done in such cases. The Bishop chose to ignore those laws; Fr. Mark chose to use them. Is that a crime? Would anyone falsely accused of an action not appeal to the law? The Bishop’s actions have been extreme, to say the least. I remember the day I left the sanctuary at St. Francis of Assisi, following a time of meditation and prayer, only to have to watch as the locks on the doors were changed. I was now barred from my own church. My key would no longer work.
    For me, the behavior of the Bishop brings to mind the religious leaders in the New Testament who were so wrapped up in their own egos, their self-serving interpretation of the laws, their fear of loss of power, that their actions ultimately led to the crucifixion of the Son of God.
    The story of this “conflict” between Fr. Mark and the Bishop has now spread across the area, the state, and is in national publications. No matter what platitudes and ecclesiastical arguments the Bishop spouts, he has damaged himself in the minds and hearts of the parishioners, and presented a very poor picture of the Catholic church to the world. The parishioners love, respect and TRUST Fr. Mark White. NONE of that applies to the Bishop. How very sad.
    I believe that it was Fr. Mark’s concern over exposing sexual abuse in the church that initially led to much of the Bishop’s discomfort with the blog. Why would that be so? It is now and will continue to be harder and harder for this sin to be contained and hidden. And why should it be? Should not those who declare the dedication of their lives to serving God be expected to live accordingly?
    The days are gone when an un-educated mass simply believed and obeyed whatever they were told. Social media, in all its forms, has drastically altered our lives. People are informed. People care. People make decisions. People look to their faith to sustain them. They worship because they believe. But, they are not blind to the reality of the problems within the Catholic church today regarding sexual abuse by clergy.
    I pray that Fr. Mark White will be returned in full to his service as priest of these two parishes and will be allowed to complete the customary six-year term. I believe he will do all within his power to ensure peace in his relationship with the Bishop. I hope the Bishop will demonstrate the same willingness.
    May God be with both of them and with us all. Amen.

  8. For those of us who are concerned with the bishop of Richmond’s actions, his leftist politics, his persecution of a good priest who speaks the truth, but continues to hide the facts of McCarrick, please listen to this YouTube video. This young priest speaks the truth.

  9. Please start listening to God in the Holy Spirit and stop living in the past, in sin, in hate and negativity and worshipping politics. Read the Bible. Read the Catechism. Read the full works of great Saints. Turn off these videos. Turn off the television. Turn off the radio. Turn off the politicians. Turn off blogs. Go to Confession. Reconcile. Go meet Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, the living manna from Heaven and the source and summit of the Christian life. Find God in His Church. Stop rejecting the trith in the Holy Spirit of our God.

  10. Let’s pray for the victims of abuse and for those guilty of the ongoing cover-up and their enablers to repent.

  11. Thank you Judy for your thoughtful, intelligent and very charitable post. You have accurately summed up what has transpired.

  12. Let us pray for all victims of abuse, not just those who make for good politics and headlines, as well as all perpetrators for a conversion of heart. Let us live in the present Spirit of our God and stop denying the power of the Spirit to heal by living in a sinful past. Amen.

  13. Let’s pray the people who want to bury the past, adding insult to horrific injury upon the victims of clergy abuse, that they may open their hearts to the victims’ suffering. Prayer should lead to action in response to the Holy Spirit. It’s evident from his homilies that Fr. Mark is motivated by his love of Christ, regardless of the vicious verbal attacks launched against him. Thank you Fr. Mark for seeking truth and justice and genuine healing. It would be so much easier to just be silent and polite and appease those who care more about keeping up the appearance of holiness rather than actually doing the right things such as asking questions and trying to hold our bishops accountable.

  14. In reading these comments over the last few days (and not weighing in to avoid adding fuel to the fire), I’m left with one conclusion: The Bishop is ignoring the letters written by (and on behalf of) Father Mark, which tells me he doesn’t want to acknowledge anything further on the subject and he doesn’t care what parishioners think (but keep the donations coming, folks).
    It also tells me the scandal will continue to be covered up, and any current or future abuse will also be covered up. I’m thoroughly disgusted that so many people knew it was happening and let it continue. The victims deserve justice. To learn pope JPII knew about it, too, makes me sick to my stomach. I adored him. But step back and think: we made him a saint. What does that tell you about our Church?
    We’re supposed to be good little sheep and obey the shepherd, go to Mass, help the needy, support the Church, and do unto others. We’re not supposed to question authority but if we do, we are given the silent treatment or relieved of our duties–all while the sin and abuse continues!
    I’m not saying Father Mark is perfect. No one on this planet can hold that claim. But removing a priest from duty because he writes from his heart on a blog for all to see is no way to settle the issue. It seems like someone is trying to hide the truth.
    Maybe if justice were served, Father may ease up on his blogs. Just because he’s a priest doesn’t mean he should be a pushover.
    If this offends you, I’m sorry, but I’m feeling very let down and confused right now. We fight for the rights of the unborn but what about the rights of the born? Most of the victims were very young when it happened and have no voice. Why is it okay to cover up the abuse? Why is it when someone stands up for the victims, they are reprimanded by the leaders of our Church, yet the abusers simply get a stern frown and are shuffled of to a new parish, where the parishioners have no clue what has just blown in their door?
    I don’t know how much more Catholicism I can stand.

  15. To Bev: I read your comments and understand and share your frustration. I am a convert to the Catholic faith. I think of the day in 2015 when I was received into the Catholic faith as the most important and happiest day of my life. I said then, “I will be Catholic or I will be nothing.” For me, the Catholic faith is the one true faith. I do not see myself, in the pursuit of truth and justice, as fighting against the faith but as fighting for the faith. So, what can I as one voice, a lay person in the pew, do? First, I can pray. Second, I can to the best of my ability support Fr. Mark White and other priests who seek change. Third, I can accept that change may be a long and difficult journey for the church. All I can do is take it one day at a time. There may be times when I fail to do my best. But I must not give up on my faith. The faith of the church is not the problem. The problem is those among the leadership who have turned away from what is right. May God’s mercy be upon us.

  16. Thank you, Judy. You are a wonderful inspiration. You have learned in 5 years what I seem to have forgotten as a life-long Catholic. You are so right, all we can do is pray and take it one day at a time. We must use our voices to demand justice be served against those who do not have the Church’s best interest at heart.
    The Church doesn’t just consist of priests, bishops, cardinals and popes; we are all part of the Body of Christ and we must fight to preserve what Jesus began. Heaven knows there are forces out there trying to destroy Christianity; we don’t need to destroy it internally.
    God Bless.

  17. Once again, Fr. White was not silenced because of his concern for victims. He was disciplined because of his inappropriate, anti-Christian behavior and a lack of honesty. This is why: “I ask you, dear reader: How does an American bishop–who ostensibly pretends to care about his faithful people back home–how does he not get off the airplane at Fiumicino and immediately do this: Kneel at the Apostles’ tombs. Walk into the pope’s parlor. Kiss the Ring of the Fisherman. Then ask, “Where is the g.d. McCarrick Report, Your Holiness?! WTF? You are fricking killing us. What in the actual f?” (Or something to that effect.) But these feminized cowards in miters will do no such thing. Instead they will tweet things like, “Oh, mother, bring me my aqua vitae! I just got to meet the Successor of Peter! And he has such twinkly eyes! And amazing jowls. So cute! I just love him!”

    Fr. White was given a directive from his Bishop and that was to shut down this blog because of the questionable content above and other inappropriate comments. He AGREED to shut it down. He arbitrarily violated that order by opening it back up with the same offensive material he was directed to stop publishing. He did this under the guise of Covid-19 without express permission from the Bishop. He is still publishing the same diatribe and now calling our Bishop a “petty thug” in public.

    He was not reprimanded for defending children. That is a LIE.

    As for the abuse scandal, if you would pay attention to the Church and your Diocese and rely on facts over fantasy and stop living in 1970, you might be relieved of your constant angst in this regard. Abuse of children has been severely reduced. Priests are being reported and arrested for crimes against minors all over the country. Funny how all so-called Catholic publications, including this one, failed to report on the clergy arrested in the last two years for abuse or harassment of minors, including ones in Steubenville, Washington DC, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, etc. Many were crimes against minor females. Funny how that went ignored. Let us make this clear, there is a difference in abuse of children, sexual assault, and sexual harassment of adults. The first two are crimes. The last is not. No Priests should be permitted to do any of the above whether it is against males or females, children or adults.

    How did this happen? It happened the same way it has always happened throughout history. It happened the same way it happened with Harvey Weinstein, Roger Ailes, Anthony Weiner and Donald Trump. Money, power, corruption and deviancy.

    You can keep on wallowing in the sins of yesterday. Keep hating. Keep loathing instead of forgiving. Keep worrying about things have already been addressed. Make up stories. Spend your days concocting fantasies and fake scenarios. Go in circles like a dog chasing its own tail. Go ahead. We already know what happened. It is not a big secret. We have known since 2002 what they did.

    The rest of us are taking on what faces us in the here and now and protecting children and adults in the here and now like mature Catholics.

    I am going to repost this over and over again. Fr. White was NOT removed because of defense of children. He was removed justly and correctly due to his foul mouth, anti-Christian behavior, and insubordination to an order he agreed to follow.

  18. Cynthia, why do you keep posting the same thing over and over? Mark has admitted he was wrong in the writing that day (which was way back in November) and apologized for it. Let it go. You are not helping anyone with it.
    I don’t believe Mark was the only one at fault in this situation. The bishop certainly has not acted very Christian-like in this whole situation. It’s a do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do scenario with the bishop.

    We all have seen how you feel on this. Thank you, once again for showing us how Jesus would NOT have acted.

  19. ‘Abuse of children has been severely reduced.’

    Thanks Cynthia. We will all sleep much better tonight knowing this. Little comfort if you happen to be one of the children still being abused, isn’t it?

    You remind me of the nuns from the old days who beat naughty schoolchildren in the name of Jesus.

  20. Hey Cynthia, what are you on little lady? Take your own advice where you said “stay off blogs”. Get off this one. And FYI you’re so in the minority here!!!!

  21. Again, the infantile character assassinations reign supreme. Like Fr. White like his followers …

  22. I don’t hate the Church. I don’t hate anyone, but what is going on here by the leaders of the flock, is wrong. You can call me names all you want Cynthia, but it doesn’t change the fact that the leaders of the Church have been lying for YEARS to all of us who follow in good faith and try to live our lives in accordance to God’s Will.

    Please tell us, Cynthia, how covering up the abuse scandal is in any way, shape or form BETTER FOR US??!!

    My guess is you can’t. All you can do is spew your hatred of anyone questioning the leaders of the Church.

  23. Stop harassing the Bishop. You learned well from Fr. White with the infantile character assassinations. I am not scared to defend Jesus Christ, His Church and her leaders from unfair attacks.

  24. Unfair attacks? You’re a riot!
    I’m not harassing the Bishop. Maybe you should stop harassing Father and everyone else on this blog who disagrees with you.

    You are one of the sheep who follows blindly. One of these days you will be led right over the edge of a cliff. As for me, I have my eyes wide open. I can see through your antics. Are you on the Bishop’s payroll?

  25. I feel sorry for you Cynthia. You will never have the guts to think for yourself or stand up for your beliefs. You simply follow the leader and do as you’re told.

  26. Maybe, just maybe, you should step into reality. You are the one going off of the cliff Bev. I am happily going to Mass this weekend with Priests I respect because I understand what it means to be in Communion with Rome, my Bishops, and my brother and sisters in Christ in the TRUTH. I do not need to lie and pretend like the Church has done nothing since 2002. I do not need to live in anger and hate and misery every single day because I live in the here and now. They have worked very hard to end the scourge of abuse in the Church. Pretending they have not does not work in reality.

    All of this can end if Fr. White owns up to his own bad behavior. Recompensing evil for evil is not the way of Christ.

  27. Recompensing evil for evil is not the way of Christ, true, but you said yourself in an earlier post you would repost Father’s blog ‘over and over again’. Again, none of us are free from sin, that includes you, dear Cynthia. You want to accuse me of living in anger, but you are doing just that by rehashing something that has been acknowledged and apologized for. But alas, I am sure you will want the last word, so I’ll wait…

  28. I have just finished reading again (and printing) Fr. Mark’s blog as well as the 33 comments. I share the following additional comments.
    First, I have been a regular reader of Fr. Mark’s blog and have commented frequently. I try to be gracious and fair in my comments and respectful of those who hold different opinions. This morning, however, I wrote to Peter, “What planet are you living on?” Not really rude, but in retrospect I could have just been silent. Now, however, I respectfully add that I totally disagree with your comment, “It is apparent that Bishop Knestout has shown much restraint and been conciliatory.” Based on all I know, it is Fr. Mark who has reached out for reconciliation and been rebuffed.
    Second, in my earlier comments re forgiveness I referred to Pope John Paul II’s forgiveness of Mehmet Ali Agca, who attempted to assassinate him in 1981. The point being forgiveness. That did not mean I was unaware of his failure to show concern and pursue justice for the survivors of sexual molestation by priests. But it seems to me that when we remember the lives of people we need to remember the good accomplished –not just the bad. None of us gets through this world in perfection.
    Before anyone “screams” that I am justifying the late Pope’s actions, or actually lack of it, that is not the case. I was not Catholic then but I knew who he was and that he was greatly admired. I know his death greatly grieved Catholics including Fr. Mark. I understand the revelations after his death re his decision to overlook what it seems certain he knew about sexual abuse pierced the hearts of many. Unfortunately the world was different then. There was a way things were done. Right or wrong, it was often unchallenged. As “briteyyez” wrote, “As for St. John Paul II…as much as it sucks that he kept things quiet…he was not alone…it wasn’t right..but it was what was done.”
    I have commented before that the Catholic Church put itself on this “road to hell” with the very first payment for silence. Now we continue to reap the consequences. It will take a long time to cleanse and heal.
    Which brings us to the issue of Theodore McCarrick, who was finally laicized but still lives comfortably in his old age. It was only at the insistence of a few that this was finally brought into the open. The damage is done. People now look with a great degree of suspicion and lack of trust at the Pope and others in the hierarchy…including Bishop Knestout.
    I think the different views of the situation between Fr. Mark and the Bishop have been abundantly expressed by those who comment on these blogs. I see no need to “reinvent the wheel” by recounting all of them.
    What does concern me now is that a few contributors who are against Fr. Mark seem to feel it is necessary to address those of us who do not agree with them as though we were too unworthy to have a differing opinion. We are chastised by a few who see themselves as the truly righteous. There is a difference between expressing our opinions and feelings, even if somewhat “vividly,” and self-righteously putting down others. If we defend Fr. Mark, we are admonished to “stop living in the past, in sin, in hate and negativity and worshiping politics.” It is assumed that those who defend Fr. Mark obviously do not read the Bible or the Catechism. We are instructed that we must not watch videos, the television, listen to the radio, and must turn off blogs. (That is rather ironic, since this is a blog.) We are told we must stop “rejecting the truth” — of course that is their view of truth. Relying on our Diocese for facts–I think not!
    I do not truly understand why someone who dislikes Fr. Mark so very much is even interested in reading his blog, other than for the opportunity to spout their venom via his blog. Or perhaps as Bev opined to one person, “Are you on the Bishop’s payroll?”
    I do not mind opposing opinions. I try to keep an open mind and consider what the writer “said”…but there are limits. If I have over-stepped the lines in expressing my opinions, I apologize. May we all remember that our opinions and beliefs are just that: “our” individual opinions and beliefs.
    I close with thanks for the support given to Fr. Mark by Christ Episcopal Church (Martinsville). One comment in particular: “Before Fr. Mark was censored and removed from ministry, we viewed his criticism of the Church as an act of honesty, rather than malice: one that was seeking to strengthen the Church.” Amen.

  29. Hello Fr. White, you really ought to clarify the meaning of your statements quoted below. They could easily be understood to promote the sins of impiety and dissension.

    You write: “The legacy of John Paul II has been, literally, sanctified by Popes Benedict and Francis as official church history.” You use the word “literal” here… It is an interesting qualifier. It makes your meaning ambiguous. What has been “literally” sanctified? Sex abuse cover-up?

    You write later on: “But some other people could not see him this way. And for good reason.”
    What exactly is the “good reason”? It is that John Paul was not the wisest man in the world? Or is it that he was not an objectively real “saint” in the eyes of God Himself?

    These are not frivolous ambiguities. Notice that Bev Stover has been inspired by your comments to write: “To learn pope JPII knew about it, too, makes me sick to my stomach. I adored him. But step back and think: we made him a saint.”

    It is difficult to discern from the ambiguous syntax of your writing if Bev Stover and yourself share the same position. Are you claiming that “we” [[fallible creatures]] “made him a saint”? This would be the same as holding that the formal declaration of a “saint” by the Vicar of Christ is subject to human corruption. Please rectify the ambiguity of your meaning, unless this is what you actually mean. In that case, you would be no better than the many compromised shepherds out there destroying the Church in Souls. Whatever “Peter Isely” has judged to be a “likely” probability does not override the relevant judgment of: St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Alphonsus Liguori, and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. (Citations provided below)

    “Since the honour we pay the saints is in a certain sense a profession of faith, i.e., a belief in the glory of the Saints [quâ sanctorum gloriam credimus] we must piously believe that in this matter also the judgment of the Church is not liable to error” (Quodlibetal Questions. IX, a. 16).

    “To suppose that the Church can err in canonizing, is a sin, or is heresy, according to St. Bonaventure, Bellarmine, and others; or at least next door to heresy, according to Suarez, Azorius, Gotti, etc.; because the Sovereign Pontiff, according to St. Thomas, is guided by the infallible influence of the Holy Ghost in an especial way when canonizing saints” (St. Alphonsus Liguori, The Great Means of Salvation and Perfection).

    “With regard to those truths connected to revelation by historical necessity and which are to be held definitively, but are not able to be declared as divinely revealed, the following examples can be given: the legitimacy of the election of the Supreme Pontiff or of the celebration of an ecumenical council, the canonizations of saints” (Paragraph 11, “Profession of Faith,” Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, June 29, 1998).

    **P.S. It was recently in the news that a cocaine-fueled homosexual orgy was broken up by Roman Police at the Vatican Apartments within the residence of a Cardinal. True story. https://bit.ly/3cV6daU
    If I may offer an equally plausible alternative to “Peter Isely,” perhaps some of this same crowd who Cardinal Pell was investigating (who still infest the Vatican today) physically received and filtered the thousands of letters of mail each day [[and not the pope himself]]. Is this not a realistic possibility? Why pretend that the sheer conjecture of “Peter Isely” is disclosed as factual?

    In the episode of St. John Paul II kissing the spurious, heretical book authored by a paedophile-murderer, (i.e., the “Koran”), in the context of an “ecumenical” prayer service, it was definitely a personal sin committed on his part (against the 1st and 8th Commandments). Regardless of his intention, this created scandal on a large scale among the faithful. The point being: even men who GOD sanctifies are not incapable of sinning.

    1. I appreciate your points, Mr. Protomartyr. I don’t have answers for you at this point. But I congratulate you on articulating the issues very thoughtfully. I respect what Mr. Isely has to say; the possibilities of mail miscarrying in the Vatican is not something I can address, since I don’t know anything about that.

  30. Mr. Protomartyr, just as information for other readers who may possibly not have read the article you referenced (**It was recently in the news…”,) it was dated July 5, 2017, updated July 26, 2017. The home was inhabited by Francesco Cardinal Coccopalmeria’s secretary. The Pope was “infuriated” according to the article. The residence “belongs to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith – the arm charged with tackling clerical sex abuse.” Updated included “the Italian paper ll Fatte Quotidiano reported.”

  31. I know I am a little slow but I think I’ve got it. Our Church has a problem that has been around for decades and was ignored or covered up by many of our Church Leaders. I know this is a significant understatement but it gets me to my point. Let’s stop debating who is right and who is wrong. I suggest we work with Fr Mark
    to establish a strategy to promote a cultural change in our Church. You who have commented here make up our Church. It is not the Pope, our Bishop or even Fr Mark. It is you and I.
    We are wasting too much time and energy debating if Fr Mark harmed the Bishop or the Bishop harmed Fr Mark. Let’s call it a draw and move on.
    I respectfully suggest we change the focus of this blog from determining ” who done it ” to how can we assist in correcting the issue. The Bishop has made some effort to resolve the issue but there is still much to be done. Let’s show the Bishop that this blog with significant input from you the reader as well as the direction and coordination of Fr Mark can add value.
    Fr Mark I know you would like to have total transparency within our Church. That is a slow and difficult change for any organization. Our Church will be no different. Please be patient and persistent. It will come.

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