Prelates defend John Paul II on abuse crisis

by John L. Allen Jr.

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Slovakian Cardinal Jozef Tomko marks the 300th anniversary of the consecration of the Minsk cathedral in Belarus Oct. 9, 2010. (CNS/Reuters)

ROME -- While victims of clerical abuse in the United States are blasting the beatification of Pope John Paul II for “rubbing more salt into the wounds” caused by the abuse crisis, two prelates who worked with the late pope, one a Slovakian and another an American, insisted that the crisis does not disqualify John Paul from sainthood.

A statement released today by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, the main victims’ advocacy group in the United States, asserted that “in more than 25 years as the most powerful religious figure on the planet, John Paul II did almost nothing to safeguard kids across the world.”

In Rome, however, prelates who knew the pope argued that a tight focus on the sexual abuse crisis misses the big picture of what John Paul II was all about.

“If you take his personality as a whole, you’ll have the measure of the man,” said Cardinal Jozef Tomko, who worked in the Vatican under John Paul II in various capacities throughout his entire papacy.

“He was so clear, so transparent, and so honest,” Tomko said.

John Paul II found revelations of priestly abuse “deplorable and painful,” said Archbishop John Nienstedt of St. Paul-Minneapolis, who worked in the Vatican’s Secretariat of State during the John Paul years from 1980 to 1985.

Read the full report: Prelates defend John Paul II on abuse crisis

More NCR coverage of the beatification of John Paul II

John Allen's Beatification Q&As

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