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St. John Paul II: 1,700 professors respond to ‘wave of accusations’ against Polish pope

The professors said they were responding to accusations leveled against John Paul II, pope from 1978 to 2005, following the publication last month of a Vatican report on disgraced ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

Pope John Paul II prays during a Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican in 2003. (CNS photo by Alessia Giuliani, Catholic Press Photo)

CNA Staff, Dec 12, 2020 / 01:15 am (CNA).- Hundreds of professors have signed an appeal defending St. John Paul II following criticism of the Polish pope in the wake of the McCarrick Report.

The “unprecedented” appeal was signed by 1,700 professors based at Polish universities and research institutes. The signatories include Hanna Suchocka, Poland’s first female prime minister, former foreign minister Adam Daniel Rotfeld, physicists Andrzej Staruszkiewicz and Krzysztof Meissner, and film director Krzysztof Zanussi.

“An impressive long list of John Paul II’s merits and accomplishments is being challenged and erased today,” the professors said in the appeal.

“For young people, who were born after his death, the deformed, false and belittled image of the pope could become the only one they will know.”

“We appeal to all people of goodwill to come to their senses. John Paul II, like every other person, deserves to be talked about honestly. By defaming and rejecting John Paul II, we do great harm to ourselves, not to him.”

The professors said they were responding to accusations leveled against John Paul II, pope from 1978 to 2005, following the publication last month of a Vatican report on disgraced ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick. The Polish pope appointed McCarrick as archbishop of Washington in 2000 and made him a cardinal a year later.

The professors said: “In the last few days, we have been witnessing a wave of accusations leveled against John Paul II. He is accused of covering up pedophile acts among Catholic priests and there are calls for the removal of his public memorials. These acts are intended to transform the image of a person worthy of the highest esteem into one who was complicit in abhorrent crimes.”

“A pretext for making radical demands was the publication of the ‘Report on the Holy See’s Institutional Knowledge and Decision-Making Related to Former Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick’ by the Holy See. However, a careful analysis of the report does not point to any facts that could constitute a basis for leveling the above-mentioned accusations against John Paul II.”

The professors continued: “There is a huge gap between promoting one of the most serious offenses and making wrong staffing decisions due to inadequate knowledge or outright false information.”

“The said Theodore McCarrick was trusted by many eminent persons, including U.S. presidents, while being able to hide deeply the dark criminal side of his life.”

“All this leads us to assume that slander and unsourced attacks against the memory of John Paul II are motivated by a preconceived theory which sadden and deeply concern us.”

The professors acknowledged the importance of carefully investigating the lives of significant historical figures. But they called for “balanced reflection and honest analysis,” rather than “emotional” or “ideologically motivated” criticism.

They underlined that St. John Paul II exerted a “positive influence on the history of the world.” They cited his role in the collapse of the Communist Bloc, his defense of the sanctity of life, and his “ground-breaking acts” such as his 1986 visit to a Rome synagogue, his inter-religious summit in Assisi in the same year, and his appeal, in the year 2000, for forgiveness of sins committed in the name of the Church.

“Another grand gesture, especially important for us, was the rehabilitation of Galileo, which the pope had anticipated as early as in 1979 during a solemn remembrance of Albert Einstein on the centennial of his birth,” they wrote.

“This rehabilitation, carried out at the request of John Paul II by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences 13 years later, was a symbolic recognition of the autonomy and importance of scientific research.”

The professors’ appeal follows an intervention earlier this week by Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, president of the Polish bishops’ conference. In a Dec. 7 statement, Gądecki deplored what he called “unprecedented attacks” on St. John Paul II. He insisted that the pope’s “highest priority” was combating clerical abuse and protecting young people.

Last month, the rector’s college of the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin also said that the criticism had no factual basis, lamenting the “fallacious accusations, calumnies, and slander directed recently against our patron saint.”

The rector and vice-chancellors of the university in eastern Poland commented: “The subjective theses expressed by some circles are by no means substantiated by facts and objective findings — for example, presented in the report of the Holy See’s Secretariat of State on Theodore McCarrick.”

In their appeal, the 1,700 professors argued that, if the denigration of John Paul II went unchallenged, a “fundamentally false” picture of Polish history would be established in the minds of young Poles.

They said that the most serious consequence of this would be “the belief of the next generation that there is no reason why a community with such a past should be sustained.”

The initiative’s organizers described the appeal as “an unprecedented event, one which has brought together academic communities and exceeded our wildest expectations.”

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  1. I loved St. John Paul II. His legend is well known by the faithful and others. One of his most dangerous and life threatening moments was the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II which took place on Wednesday, 13 May 1981, in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City. The Pope was shot and wounded by Mehmet Ali Ağca while he was entering the square. The Pope was struck four times and suffered severe blood loss.

    As I read the article I became more concerned as to the knowledge and apparent lack of actions by the church hierarchy with the decades-long clerical sexual attacks on children and monastery candidates. Look at McCarrick’s long history. It is so daunting and mysterious that no one in power were advised of the atrocities. Their legacy is still ahead!

  2. St. John Paul ll was deceived by many false prophets. It is known that men in the Church put on a mask of exceptional faithfulness to the Church which deceived the Holy Father. After they got the promotions they sought then they took off the fake masks and showed their true colors. Many of them then turned on the Holy Father with treacherous treason. These men had better rethink what they done because they will have to answer to God for betraying Jesus Christ. Also Modernist Bishops deceived the Holy Father about candidates for promotion, hailing them as great faithful sons of the Church when in fact they were far from faithfulness. I knew a Monsignor that was nominated to succeed the retiring Bishop, nominated by the Bishop himself. Letter writing liberal priests defamed the Monsignor as being anti-Vatican ll only because the Monsignor remained faithful to the teachings of the Church. His nomination was dismissed in Rome. This is the type of deceit that has been practiced in the Church for 55 years. How was St. John Paul ll to know that the wolves were deceiving him, the only mistake the Holy Father made, was to trust the Modernist advisors who were only betraying him.

  3. St John Paul II doesn’t need to be “defended”. He was man so he was imperfect, like every saint except Mary. He held a tottering Church together for almost 3 decades. Priests ordained in the 60s and 70s. He experienced more than enough Nazi and Soviet evil to know what it looked and felt like. He had no illusions about humankind. And he was totus tuus. Enough!

  4. Francis and his allies are behind the attacks. If the professors would have acknowledged as much, they would have traced the problem to its root. This papacy has been devoted to undoing the best of JP II’s work and blaming him for the misdeeds of themselves and their friends.

  5. I believe it would have been prudent for John Paul’s Canonization to have been delayed which has been normal practice for generations as to test the waters so to say.

    John Paul himself did not ask to be Canonized rather we see internal politics at play which Pope Francis himself consented to; Yes, pressure was most probably put on him by the elite within the Hierarchy but without his consent we would still be waiting Pope John Pauls Canonisation.

    The canonization of John Paul 11 before the world media by Pope Francis and the Bishops was an act of emotional violence on those who have been abused and their families, by having to watch (relive) and see again the hypocrisy of so many of the elite in our Church who the majority of mankind believe contrived in the cover up and then to be seen participating in bestowing its highest Honour on the one man, who so many believe could have averted the untold suffering of so many innocent and vulnerable victims, this action has to call into question the integrity of the leadership of the Church and to some degree our Shepherds who stood by and permitted this act to happen.

    From my long post given by the link below

    “Pope Francis and his Bishops would have been fully aware of the tens of thousands of derogatory articles and comments on the Canonization of John Paul 11 over the previous years and especially those made by the victims and they families of the child abuse scandal, was not their pain enough reason to delay the Canonizations of these two popes and facilitate the justifiable concerns of so many families and organizations that have assisted victims, their concerns were total disregarded, why?”

    Pope John Paul most probably trusted his close friends/associates within the hierarchy while apparently showing little regard to the sufferings of the vulnerable within the flock. Similar to what Pope Francis did in giving his consent to Pope John Paul’s early Canonization as he too showed little regard for the suffering of the most vulnerable within the flock.

    kevin your brother
    In Christ

    • Kevin Walters, That the 5 year waiting period was waived was expected by faithful Catholics. With the shout of “Santo Subito” and other reasons Pope Benedict XVl waived the 5 year period. Even before the 5 years, the Congregation for the Saints had on their hands 279 documented miracles that came after the death of the Holy Father. After the Beatification there was a new wave of documented miracles attributed to John Paul ll. That there are derogatory comments about St. John Paul ll only proves that he is a true Saint who lived in union with Jesus Christ, and now reigns with Christ. Christ said to those who would be faithful to Him, “No servant is greater than His Master, if they persecuted me, they will persecute you, if they hated me they will hate you, if they lied about me they will lie about you”. This has long been the Litmus test for true followers of Jesus. His enemies have not forgotten him, they are still raged with fury against him because our Saint foiled their plots against Christ and the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. 15 years after his death and his enemies are still rabid about Our Saints powerful witness to Jesus Christ.

      • Thank you, Andrew, for your response and I apologize for not responding sooner, when I checked a few days ago for a response to my post my post was not on display (Or your Post) and with a few others appeared to have been removed.

        “With the shout of “Santo Subito” and other reasons Pope Benedict XVl waived the 5 year period”

        Just prior to Pope Francis’s visit to Ireland in 2018 The ACP Ireland conducted a survey ahead of the Pope’s visit. People were invited to submit their views on what the Pope should hear about the (Irish) Church.

        My Post in italics
        “On Monday 31 May 1982 Pope John Paul II visited York England and hundreds of
        thousands of people flocked to the racecourse I was one of them with my wife
        and young daughter accompanied by a ‘fiend’ .
        While we waited in a sectioned enclosure, for his arrival the choir in the back
        ground constantly sang in unison, obscure hymns some in Latin, we were like
        sheep without a Shepherd. After several hours we caught a glimpse of him, as he
        quickly passed in his Popemobile. I went home feeling dejected”

        I believe that Pope John Paul 11 was enwrapped in a worldly image/cult of Goodness which was most probably encouraged by the dark forces at work within the church, evil always works to our weaknesses and in this weakness, he was oblivious to realty of a suffering church. This worldly image was reinforced by the blasphemous divine Mercy Image which emanated from spiritual and nationalistic pride which resulted in the breaking of the second commandment by the elite within the Church. See link

        You say “Pope Benedict XVl waived the 5-year period” Yes! and in doing so reinforced his own position as Pope, no one can say that Pope Benedict (Previously known as the Rottweiler) was naïve or lacking the ability to manage ‘all situations’ this can clearly be seen in his visit to the UK as

        “Twenty-eight years later Pope Benedict XVI’s visited the United Kingdom, but there was to be no flocking this time, it was to be a much smaller, privileged all ticket affair, organized to perfection, hymns were known and sung in unison an ‘image’ of a holy church, possible 20% the size of the York gathering.

        Naturally I was not invited, I had no one to accompany (Vouch for) me. I think I saw some friends of the ‘fiend’ who ‘accompanied’ me to York all those years ago.
        It has been said the extreme Conservative and Liberal elements in the Church hold hands behind each other’s back

        For over thirty-five years as a sinner and outsider I have observed the on-going demise of the church by manifestations of evil.
        From laity in ‘privileged positions’ some of whom sing Deo Gratias as Deo ‘arse’us, while coyly smiling at each other. Others I have seen walking down the aisle flipping up and holding (Signaling) jacket vents, in an haughty manner. Some of the said then seen to follow the monstrance/ ostensorium with a parasol above it, from the main altar to the side chapel behaving in an ostentatious manner, accompanied by ‘heightened emotion’
        Over the said years I have witnessed other Christians been accompanied by a ‘fiend’ in many different situations, who covertly signals others with glee

        “May God help us!

        Face reality Pope Francis, stop hiding behind a worldly image of the good Shepherd, and cancel your visit to Ireland, stay in Rome and do your duty, as Peter, and be seen to commence to clean up the putrid stink of corruption, emanating from the Vatican and protect what is left of the flock”

        Conclusion Pope John Paul 11 on his watch also failed to protect the most vulnerable within the flock and for that reason alone I stand by my statement “I believe it would have been prudent for John Paul’s Canonization to have been delayed which has been normal practice for generations as to test the waters so to say.

        kevin your brother
        In Christ

        • kevin, I read your response with great interest. Sounds like your in a position we all have to go through, it is called obtaining the gift of understanding. You watched and observed. Perhaps never having the opportunity to find the answer to your questions on what you observed. That is where prayer, study and contemplation comes in. Do this and you will be very grateful at the Canonization of St. John Paul ll. St. John Paul ll was of the school of St. John of the Cross. Our Saint was a Third Order Carmelite of the Brothers of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila were masters in the spiritual life and they teach the toughest but sweetest form of the spiritual life. Its not a spiritual life so much on paper but as one that is lived. One experiences the fierce brutality of God, only for God’s purpose of us finding Him. I say this so that you can understand that St. John Paul ll was no ordinary man but one of the greatest of Faith, Hope and Charity to perfection. A man of the greatest wisdom the Holy Ghost will grant to a man who loves Him.
          Yours in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary
          Andrew Angelo

          • Thank you, Andrew, for your comment while taking an interest in what I am saying.

            “You watched and observed. Perhaps never having the opportunity to find the answer to your questions on what you observed”

            Yes, observing is one thing, while understanding is another, as that is where Trust in the Will (Word) of God comes into play and we find that Trust when we embrace the reality of our own fallen nature before His goodness as we are taught by the Master His Way of the “spiritual life” in these words “learn from me I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves”

            We look to Him ‘alone’ for His Gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit which is given to those who continually humble their hearts before Him as love of God emanates from humility (St Bernard, Humility; a virtue by which a man knowing himself as he truly is, abases him-self).

            It could be said that authority comes with Truth and those who serve It. (As manifest in a humble heart)
            So, mankind needs to see the light of the Holy Spirit dwelling/working within us, as only a humble Priesthood/Church can lead mankind away from evil, as a humble heart (Church) will never cover its tracks or hide its short comings, and in doing so confers authenticity (Holiness), as it walks in its own vulnerability/weakness/brokenness in trust/faith before God and mankind. It is a heart (Church) to be trusted, as it ‘dispels’ darkness within its own ego/self, in serving God (Truth/Love) first, before any other as the Holy Spirit cannot dwell in an untruthful heart because “The Truth” will not permit evil to hide itself. We are ALL sinners, but been honest with ourselves and others permits us to walk in humility (friendship) with the Holy Spirit, where no deception or lie is tolerated within ourselves or between each other.

            The unseen innocent within the flock, have paid the price, as it could be said, self-protection is what the Church/leadership/elite sort, dereliction is what it has bought as our emptying Churches testify.

            “St. John Paul ll was no ordinary man but one of the greatest of Faith, Hope and Charity to perfection”

            One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is Wisdom; Wisdom is both the knowledge of and judgment about “divine things” and the ability to judge and direct human affairs according to divine truth; as you say “It is not a life so much on paper, (Image) but as one that is lived” Yes and if lived with the Holy Spirit’s gift of“Knowledge which is the ability to judge correctly about matters of faith and right action, so as to never wander from the straight path of justice. Which the most vulnerable were denied under John Paul’s 11 watch.

            kevin your brother
            In Christ

          • Addendum to my post Andrew “One experiences the fierce brutality of God, only for God’s purpose of us finding Him” Yes! Absolutely, I was made aware by visual observance of St Pope John Paul personal ‘nativity’ by those mocking wolves close to him, who showed him the reality of his own fallen selfhood in the later stages of his earthly life which if borne in humility would lead to spiritual enlightenment accompanied by the Holy Spirit into full Christian Charity.

            God bless you

            kevin your brother
            In Christ

          • Adjustment to my addendum post on 24/12 at 11.23pm.
            ‘Nativity’ should read ‘naivety’ I suffer from a form of word blindness today I would most probable be diagnosed as suffering from dyslexia.

            kevin your brother
            In Christ

        • Kevin Walters, I find what you say very interesting, I guess I could say “Been there done that”. You speak of dyslexia, I have a greater problem, several mini-strokes and a stroke. This has affected my ability to remember some things and a certain confusion when I write. I had given up commenting as my daughter told me at one point that my comments were so badly written that she was embarrassed for me. I am interested in what you are saying. I found the truth only with the assistance of the Holy Ghost who watches over His Church and us. I was led to read only Classic books on the Church at the age of 15 or 16 and I fell in love with a Church that was One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic, Infallible, indefectible, perfectly pure, all perfect. It is us men the members who are not perfect as we are fallible. A Monsignor taught me this important rule that I have lived by, “When the Church officially teaches something and you have a different opinion, know it is you who are wrong and not the Church. It is you who needs to change and not the Church”, This advice has guided me all these years, I go by what the Church has taught for 2000 years, all pre-Vatican ll. The Post Vatican ll Church or the Conciliar Church is filled with rot spread by men with rotted minds. Its called the Modernist heresy which was officially condemned in 1907 by St. Pius X, but sadly Modernism has now become the official Church, what a diabolical mess they have made. That is why I agree with Archbishop Vigano on setting Vatican ll aside. There are members in the Church, who like children are playing with fire, they have no understanding that we do not fool around with God. All the errors in the Church were caused by the Modernist heresy take over of the Church. All the questions you have you can have the answers to in the Catholic Encyclopedia from 1966. There you will find the great wisdom of the Church. I bought the whole set of the Encyclopedia on eBay for only 200.00. I got lucky. But before that since the age of 16 I went to my local library to do research using the Catholic Encyclopedia that came out in 1966, it was decades in the making. There is a new Edition which I’m sure I have no use for as it was done by Modernists and can only cause confusion. Spiritual reading and Prayer are the main paths by which God the Holy Ghost inspires us and teaches us. He promises to write His law upon our hearts. That is, He engraves what we learn and put into practice upon our very souls. When someone attacks the Truth, God’s law is already written into us and we can come out and defend the Church. I can still do it face to face. Its only in writing that I fail. But as scripture tells us, “The Lord gives and He takes away”, so this stroke, I thank Him for because it is His very Cross He has given me to carry with him. In this comment I speak to you as a friend, I hope I can depend on your prayers for me. I assure you I have included you in all my prayers and Crosses from now till my demise. This I cannot stress enough, Pray the Rosary, wear Our Lady’s Brown Scapular and pray with devotion the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy as given to St. Sister Faustina. Her diary is a must reading.
          Yours in the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
          Andrew Angelo

  6. The assault on John Paul mirrors that which occurred against Pius XII with the advent of the Roncalli papacy. It is an ecclesial enterprise to eradicate the impediment to the “new paradigm.” Both John Paul and Pius were held in the highest esteem in their lifetimes. Their powerful moral credence was unassailable while they lived. Upon their death they become vulnerable to calumny with impunity by petty cowardly little ecclesiastics bent on the advancement of their personal secular materialist notions. It will only find any impediment when it is forcefully repudiated. Accountability is sorely absent from the current pontificate.

    • Saint are supposed to offer time-tested role models. His cause for sainthood should not have been rushed. And JPII himself should not have killed the role of Devil’s Advocate in the process. Especially in this age of photo-driven celebrity. I tend to appreciate Kenneth Woodward’s take on all that in his book on saints.

      • I perfectly agree with you. His “reform” on the causes of saints was well intentioned but tragically misguided. “Well intentioned but tragically misguided” characterize not a few of John Paul’s enterprises but he would have been hard to replace at that moment in October 1978. He was the man for that era and I do regard him as saint despite any deficiency in his papacy. He displayed heroic virtue if not always perfect insight, while no one can deny when he was brilliantly on target. His contribution to the life of faith is unassailable particularly given his historical context.
        Yes, causes for canonization must have the Promoter of the Faith restored vigorously and no one should be canonized until at least fifty years after their death. Particularly in our era when information — accurate and otherwise — is so easily disseminated there can be cause for scandal. There is no reason to hurry. Heaven can wait and so can we if there is authentic heroic virtue at hand. The enterprise has been diminished to a sort of ideological and personality cult. It verges on sacrilege. The authentic cult of the saints is far too important to the life of souls to have been reduced to the level it now endures.

  7. As Fr. Peter Stravinskas noted in another essay on this site, the Report is specifically intended to lay all the blame for McCarrick on Pope St John Paul II, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, and Archbishop Carlo Vigano, while simultaneously absolving Francis of all blame. This despite the fact that it was Francis who lifted the sanctions from McCarrick that were imposed by Benedict, and even employed him as a diplomatic agent. Francis has also elevated and rewarded many of McCarrick’s cronies, including Kevin Farrell (his former Auxiliary Bishop). Blaise Cupich, and Wilton Gregory.

  8. Many predicted rightly that PF and the Vatican would pin this on Pope John Paul. What a farce, a lie! it is clearly Pf’s way of deflecting guilt and incompetency in the face of sex abuse. The Pennsylvania report did mention that PF knew clearly about McCarrick. And Archbishop vigano also told him.. a nasty trick by the Pope and his gang!

  9. Perhaps St. John Paul II was the only human in history to visit 129 nations of the world. That doesn’t speak for his high character and holiness?

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