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Sunday, August 20, 2017
Date Posted:

Last Pope Was No Saint Say RC Theologians

6 January 2006
British Church Newspaper

A group of theologians have published an open letter opposing the beatification of the late pontiff, John Paul II.

Cardinal Camillo Ruini, Vicar-general of Rome, inaugurated a tribunal on 28 June to collect evidence for John Paul II's beatification.

But on 5 December, twelve mostly Spanish and Italian-speaking theologians appealed to those with doubts about John Paul II's sanctity to make them known to the tribunal.

The theologians noted that John Paul II had shown "personal virtues" but said that the pope had upheld clerical celibacy despite evidence that many Roman Catholic priests cohabited with women and that others abused children.

They added that other features of his 26-year pontificate deserved "negative evaluation".

These included that "repression and marginalisation" of theologians, a movement away from collegiality in church governance, and an unwillingness to engage in "real and serious debate about the status of women".

The theologians said John Paul II had failed to control the Vatican's finances, leading to "murky financial manoeuvres" in the 1980s, and had followed a "politics of weakness toward governments in Latin America that pursued and executed people".

The Polish postulator, or official proponent, of John Paul II's beatification, Slawomir Oder, said the letter indicated the late pope's "complex personality".

"It's long been known that he aroused mixed feelings," the priest told Vatican Radio on 6 December. "If these accusations turn out to be meritorious and significant, and not based on resentment, they will certainly be considered presented and examined."

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