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They Do Hate JP II, Don’t They? Print E-mail
By Austin Ruse   
Friday, 14 January 2011

The sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Little birdies sing in the sunshiny day. And heterodox Catholics possess a shocking enmity toward Pope John Paul II. The Associated Press, calling JPII “a universally beloved figure,” reported just yesterday that Benedict XVI may announce today the beatification of his predecessor. But the reaction was quite different when John Allen first broke this story last week in the pages of the National Catholic Reporter.

Within minutes of his report the comment boxes at NCR sputtered with outrage. Immediately, someone wrote, “Evidence that corruption is active at the highest levels. A disgrace.” Followed by, “John Paul 2 [sic] sat as the Head [sic] of the Roman Catholic Church and allowed rapists to continue to prey on their victims.” Third comment, “How do you say ‘what a farce’ in Latin? Is there ANYTHING [sic] credible in institutional Catholicism?”

Another advocate of the church of peace, love, and social justice added, “I’ll tell you what a REAL [sic] miracle would be . . . Mr. Ratzinger drops dead tomorrow so they can bring on the next stooge.”

John Allen does not share these views. And blog commenters are not necessarily representative of the editorial content of a website. Certainly, every website has its own nuts in the comment boxes. But these types of comments are common at NCR and echo the point and tone of many NCR contributors, e.g., almost any Eugene Kennedy column.

Commonweal – a slightly more responsible, slightly more respectable, and certainly more crafty among heterodox outlets – linked to the Allen piece on its blog. The debate over JPII went on for five days. The comments were not so blood-in-the-teeth as NCR’s. Commonweal contributors and followers specialize in what they consider to be a more thoughtful critique, which becomes therefore even more insidious as they persistently undermine confidence in the Church and Her teaching. There does not seem to be a Church figure – except dissident nuns – or a Church teaching – except maybe transubstantiation – they do not question.

The initial commenters were in basic agreement: “Has Rome no shame?” “Many catholics [sic] on the left will perceive this as another move to glorify hierachs [sic], especially popes, who move the Church to a more ‘purer’ [sic] standing.”  “Groan, say it isn’t so. Does Rome want the pews emptying any faster than they already are?” “Do the concepts of credibility and integrity have ANY meaning to the Vatican anymore?”


         John Paul II: Why do heterodox Catholics oppose his path to sainthood?

Not all the dotCommonwealers criticized JPII. One lauded his accomplishments including “his dancing with African natives in the liturgy.” And the aggressively orthodox also have their odd commenters, one of whom drifted over to dotCommonweal to say that John Paul II’s “burial face was the look of a man who had come to realize at the last that much of his life’s work was in error.”

You have to wonder why they are so angry, bitter, and sometimes unhinged. They will say their complaints are legitimate. They wonder why the rush to beatification. Six years is rapid. Rather than trusting the Church, which they do not, they see this as nothing more than a political sop to conservatives. And one gets the feeling they want more time so that they can sully his reputation, looking for a Pius XII moment that will forever scar him.

Some seem angry that he presided over the papacy at the time the sex-abuse scandal reared its ugly head, believing he was, at best, willfully ignorant. Others are angry that he was friends with and largely ignored the charges leveled at the now thoroughly shamed founder of the Legionaries of Christ.

Does any of this speak to his lack of heroic virtue? Folks like Cathy Kaveny of Notre Dame and dotCommonweal will doubtless cite theological chapter and ecclesial verse – oh so chin-scratchingly thoughtful – about how these problems suggest – perhaps, maybe, one might think, only speculating here – that JPII might lack heroic virtue. But it seems as if they would be gleeful to know that he is not in Heaven. 

Their real anger, and they are quite open about it, is that one of his primary projects was the proper implementation of Vatican II, which means taking the Council at its word and reining in the “spirit of Vatican II” that has so pleased the heterodox and so vexed the Church in recent decades. They are especially troubled about the new generation of JPII bishops now beginning to sprout orthodox wings.

The country is debating about our sometimes fractious political discourse, but it is especially disappointing to see it erupt in the Catholic blogosphere. I am not immune from the temptation. I’ve weighed in aggressively at various left-wing Catholic blogs including dotCommonweal, where I was eventually banned for I’m not sure what.

I think the anger is a sign that they see it all slipping away, all their hopes and dreams. How else to explain their giddiness over the Holy Father’s supposed blessing of condom use by homosexual prostitutes and other attempts at catching at straws? Has the liberal project fallen so low? Well, yes, read the comment section of National Catholic Reporter and dotCommonweal and, in an odd sort of a way, you will see that their anger and frustration is a barometer of the health of the orthodox project.

 
Austin Ruse is the President of the New York and Washinton, D.C.-based Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), a research institute that focuses exclusively on international social policy. The opinions expressed here are Mr. Ruse’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the policies or positions of C-FAM.

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Comments (24)Add Comment
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written by Anonymous, please., January 14, 2011
God bless John Paul the Great. However, as someone who works in a Catholic institution, I pray for an even healthier orthodox project. There are catacombs within the Church where those who share John Paul the Great's project of properly implementing Vatican II work in constant fear of getting fired by our heterodox superiors. Much like readers of National Review are treated like David Duke supporters by the Political Left, those of us who share "the hermeneutic of continuity" are treated as though we are Lefebvreites. The liberal project cannot slip away fast enough.
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written by Fr. Kev Kevin, SJ, January 14, 2011
This is unfair. There are crazy comments on every blog. If you want to argue with a magazine, argue with their published opinions.
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written by Bill, January 14, 2011
Saint John Paul II? What in his life are the laity supposed to emulate? Kissing the Koran, Assisi I and Assisi II, giving Fr. Marcial Maciel and the Legion a pass for fifty years, silent assent to Universal Salvation? John Paul is to be given the same honor as Pope Saint Pius X who "bought" a fifty year respite for the Church from the errors of Modernism? He was the pope for twenty-five years. Benedict has been pope for five. As a loyal Catholic I defer to the judgement of the Church.
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written by Brian, January 14, 2011
This from those who canonized Ted Kennedy immediately upon his death.
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written by Yezhov, January 14, 2011
It would appear that the Vatican is unmoved by the cant of the unhinged to which you refer. JP II's
beautification is scheduled for 01 MAY.
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written by John, January 14, 2011
Truly, who cares what the pagans believe? Beatification or sainthood is not a popularity contest. Remember the first public opinion poll took place on Pilate's front porch and, as I recall, Barabbas got a lot more votes than Jesus.

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written by Dennis Larkin, January 14, 2011
There are many who long ago left the Faith, and haven't got around to leaving the Church.

A middle-age priest in a prairie diocese wrote us for Christmas that 60-ish "Age of Aquarius" priests there are resigned to the fact that the new, growing vocations roles are more 'conservative' than the aging rebels. This poor diocese was lost in the weeds for 40 years but has been returning to health this past 5 years.

Were it my choice, John Paul II would not be canonized, but if the Lord provides it, then I defer.
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written by The Moz, January 14, 2011
There are many things I don't understand about these so called Catholics but what is most puzzling to me is that they insist on calling themselves Catholics. The fact is that JPII should have been made a Saint many times over many years ago: without him the Soviet Empire may have taken 100s of millions of innocent souls with it when it collapsed. Why don't these hate filled and irrational bigots not simply quit the Church and join some other? Are they sadomasocists? Do they protesteth too much?
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written by Sherry, January 14, 2011
It really saddens me to hear the angry and condemning voices relative to JPII. I think that the AP got it right in calling JPII "a universally beloved figure". People should revisit the tremendous outpouring of love from around the world when JPII died. It was far beyond anyone's expectations. He was a holy man and people knew it

If nothing else, what he did for the young people with the World Youth Days will live on and help bring our Church back to Life. It is painful for me to hear someone I love, and the Church I love, talked about in such vitriolic terms. Sometimes I think that those who speak the loudest and harshest are the ones who should examine their own consciences.
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written by Martha, January 14, 2011
Of course they hate him. They hated Jesus. They hated the apostles. The World and those of the world will always hate us (by us I mean all Christians that speak truth--I am not Catholic, though I have a great reverence for the Catholic Church).
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written by Austin Ruse, January 14, 2011
Well, actually, Grump, everyone in Heaven is a Saint...and, yes, there is housing...
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written by Grump, January 15, 2011
Austin, a room with a view would be nice. On the other hand, I imagine the furnishings in purgatory are a bit more spartan.
Sheen tells the story about a guy who went to heaven and said he wanted to go to hell for the weekend to see what it was like. So, he is allowed to go and after two days there he goes back to heaven. St. Peter asks him, "So, how was it?" The guy says, "Actually, it was pretty good. Had a nice time. I'd like to go back for another weekend." So he goes back and spends another two great days and tells St. Peter he'd like to go again. So he goes back a third time and he finds he is miserable. He says to the Devil, "I had such a wonderful time the last two weekends, but now I am miserable. Why is that?" The Devil says, "You were a guest then. Now you're a permanent resident."

Or something like that.

As for me, I'd settle for a Motel 6 on the fringes of the New Jerusalem, as long as I could be with my dogs, eat lasagna and break par.
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written by Don, January 15, 2011
This is wonderful! And, I am so looking forward to the Beatification of Pius XII on October 9, 2012. Awesome!
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written by Howard Kainz, January 15, 2011
Austin, your being banned by the Commonweal blog is indicative of what is going on. I read John Allen's blog, and added a comment that the blog is in danger of being a support group for Catholic dissidents. This comment was censored (omitted), like some of my previous comments. But at least I haven't yet been banned by NCR!
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written by Ken, January 15, 2011
I would try not to read too much into the slavering rants of faceless commentators. There is something about the comfortable anonymity of the internet that encourages even the most outwardly docile to pointlessly release their inner rage, even against the most innocuous targets.
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written by Jack T. , January 15, 2011
Why does everything Mr. Ruse writes need to be so condemnatory of others? My guess is that upon hearing the good news about John Paul the Great Mr. Ruse immediately went to the NCR and Commonweal blogs to find some hostile quote he could use to chastigate their Catholicism and publicly deride them on this page. When he could not find any such comments, he turned to commentators on their blogs finding the most salacious quotes and examples of poor spelling in an attempt to smear the reputation of the journals at large. That is intellectually dishonest. And having read some of the past comments on this blog, I should think Mr. Ruse would be wary of so closely associating comments on blogs with authors who write for them.
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written by Louise, January 15, 2011
" the Beatification of Pius XII on October 9, 2012."

Please tell me. Is this true or only wishful thinking?
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written by Bill, January 15, 2011
In 1917 the Lady of the Rosary appeared in Fatima to three children who were shepherds for their families, Lucia,9-Francisco, 7 and his sister Jacinta, 6. She showed them a vison of Hell. They were horrified. Lucia: Will I go to Heaven? Yes but you will live for many years. Will Jacinta go too? Yes. Will Francisco? Yes, but he will have to say many Rosaries. A girl between the ages of 18 and 20 had died. Is Amelia in Heaven? The Lady replied "Amelia will be in purgatory until the end of the world." Belief in those six apparitions was what built the pre-Vatican II Church. The disbelief in them is what has destroyed It.
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written by Austin Ruse, January 15, 2011
Actually, Jack, I receive John Allen's report in my inbox. I read the news with great joy and immediately made plane and hotel reservations on one of the dates he guessed it would happen. I scrolled to the bottom of his story and was slapped in the face by the comments. I then, yes, checked in the other heterodox central and discovered the same unhappiness but with more temperance. I think I reported this accurately and also made distinctions such as one cannot judge a site strictly on the comment boxes. But, the chum one puts in the water attracts a certain kind of fish. In the case of dotCommonweal and especially with NCR, the chum they put out attracts the bitter and/or the dissident. This is undeniable.
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written by Jack T., January 16, 2011
Austin: Thank you for your response. The concern that I have is with the ambiguous "they" you have in the title and then bringing in figures like Kaveny and placing them in this "they" that hate JPII. Kaveny is wrong on a lot of things, but to ascribe hatred of the Holy Father to her without any reference is unfair.
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written by Graham Combs, January 16, 2011
A couple of Thanksgivings ago a cradle Catholic shouted me down at the dinner table for simply stating the truth -- that the Church prohibits abortion period. He was a "personally-opposed-but-won't-obstruct" a woman's "right to choose" Catholic. As for emptying the pews... One mile south of the Catholic parish where I entered the Church on Easter Vigil 2009 is the Episcopal parish where I was an altar boy. I recently came across its Sunday bulletin (now published once a month). Among the stats for that previous spring: births - 0; baptisms - 0. Meanwhile the orthodox Catholic parish has a K-12 program (whose robotics team wins international events) and several well-attended masses each weekend and a 24-hr Adoration Chapel. John Allen's books on the papacy and the Holy See are well worth reading for converts such as myself. But I can barely spend more than a few minutes on the NCR site. I prefer CNA.
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written by Robert, March 07, 2011
"Extra Ecclesiam Nullus omnino Salvatur" - absolutely no salvation outside of the church - Lat. Council 1215 and Council of Florence 1441 - ex cathedra/de fide: However, his end no one knows but Pope JPII did: Preside over an enormous pedophile/homosexual scandal - that he allowed pagan gods to be worshiped on the Catholic Altar at Assissi as a Dominican priest ran out of the church screaming, "sacrilige, sacrilige" - that he took part in pagan rituals as with African Animists, who worship satan and during which a snake came out of its liar and slithered around JPII,s feet - that he allowed lewd and half naked acts to preform in his presence, that he attended non-catholic worship in both Jewish and Protestant temples, which was a mortal sin against the faith from the time of Christ until Vatican II - that he professed and espoused doctrines, albeit in his personal and private capacity as a Bishop, that were contrary to near 2000 years of Catholic belief and teaching, etc., etc, and that during the pontificate of JPII, millions of Catholics, scandalized by the actions of the Church and it's hierarchy, left the faith or no longer attend the sacraments. This is no where near the legacy of a saint but of one who presided over the destruction of the faith.

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