Hold the Halo, by Maureen Dowd


“Hold the Halo,” by Maureen Dowd, Op-Ed, The New York Times, April 23, 2011.

An excerpt:

Santo non subito! How can you be a saint if you fail to protect innocent children?

For years after the Rev. Marcial Maciel Degollado, the founder of the Legion of Christ, was formally accused of pedophilia in a Vatican proceeding, he remained John Paul’s pet. The ultra-orthodox Legion of Christ and Opus Dei were the shock troops in John Paul’s war on Jesuits and other progressive theologians.

There was another reason, according to Jason Berry, who has written two books on the abuse crisis and is the author of the forthcoming “Render Unto Rome: The Secret Life of Money in the Catholic Church.”

“For John Paul,” Berry told me just after returning from Good Friday services, “the priesthood had a romantic, chivalrous cast, and he could not bring himself to do a fearless investigation of the clerical culture itself.

“He was duped by Maciel, but he let himself be duped. When nine people accuse the guy of abusing them as kids, the least you can do is investigate.

“Cardinals and bishops had told him about the larger abuse crisis for years. And he was passive to an absolute fault. He failed in mountainous terms.”

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5 Responses to “Hold the Halo, by Maureen Dowd”

  1. God bless Maureen Dowd. What a wonderful article! This so desperately needed to be said. How can we possibly rejoice at the beatification of John Paul? Yes, he did many things as far as the downfall of communism is concerned that merit our admiration, but what he DIDN’T do for our children overshadows it and should exclude him from beatification. May 1 will be a very sad day for the church – just another in a long string of mistakes.

  2. Maureen Dowd is spot on! To reiterate: the pomp, expense, and over-indulgence re JPII’s beatification process is in line with the arrogance, avarice, and audacity of the hierarchy. This superfluous grandiosity is pure DISTRACTION from the coverup(s) that are unawares all around us.

  3. Maureen Dowd has written the right words, again. However, the Vatican has not given evidence that it has any interest in what the people want. The people of the Church need to continue to write and speak on this horrible subject. From my point of view, when the statute of limitations on crimes against children is lifted, we will begin to see real change in the Church. It is important for each one of us to write to our representatives in Congress to ask that the SOL is lifted. The threat of jail, or the actuality of jail, may be the best force for real change in the Church.

  4. Just an FYI, all. There are a number of instances where declared saints have made temporal mistakes, yet are still worthy of canonization.

    Sainthood is a declaration is a recognition that an individual has lived a life of holiness/virtue in such a manner that he/she is declared worthy of our prayers for intercession or emulation of their lives. It does not mean they they get temporal Church governance issues (or related issues) correct all the time.

    I bring this up to simply make that point that, although I agree that serious mistakes have been made with the sex abuse scandal, that Catholics (such as Maureen Dowd) should first educate themselves before speaking out on doctrinal issues…when they, theologically speaking, do not know what they are saying. Sure, comments like hers make for good ‘rah rah’ support from people, but they reveal a real ignorance of Catholic teaching.

    In short, JPII’s mistakes with Fr. Maciel do not nullify his being declared a saint. BUT, who among the NYTimes readers (or readers and commentors on this blog) will know that. So, again, unfair damage is being done to the Church…and the devil dances. This, again, does not mean that the Church has not made temporal mistakes. I’m simply commenting that Catholics, who are not as formed as we should be, will be further set back by this misinformation provided by Dowd.

  5. Beatifying and subsequently canonizing Pope John Paul II would be a travesty. I’m still waiting for the canonization of Pope John XXIII. That is long overdue!

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