In Wake of McCarrick, Catholic Recalls John Paul II’s “Heartless Legacy” on LGBTQ People

The Vatican’s report on ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s pattern of abuse, and the clerical culture that allowed it, has renewed discussion on the legacy of Pope John Paul II and, more specifically, on his canonization as a saint. One Catholic has raised the former pope’s LGBTQ-negative record.

Shortly after the report’s release, the National Catholic Reporter (NCR) printed an editorial that called for U.S. bishops to suppress celebrations of the late pontiff who is described as having been “willfully blind to the abuse of children and young people.” The McCarrick report, in conjunction with decisions the pope made that protected Legionaries of Christ founder and serial abuser Fr. Marcial Maciel, reveal a pope who repeatedly ignored warnings from advisors and church officials about abusive prelates. NCR’s editors conclude that John Paul II should therefore “not be celebrated in public” any longer because his memory is “no longer a blessing.”

One NCR reader, Jon Schum, responded to that editorial in a letter to the paper, suggesting the canonization of John Paul II  was done in a “hasty, thoughtless, uncritical rush. . .before the dust settled on his papacy.” For Schum, a major part of the late pope’s legacy involves his mistreatment of LGBTQ people, too:

“We should also not forget that this premature canonization was a deep insult and offense to LGBTQI Catholics and their families, given John Paul’s endorsement of then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger’s 1986 letter on the pastoral care of homosexual persons, which was anything but pastoral in it messaging. That letter’s content found its way into the Catechism of the Catholic Church and its condemnation of LGBT persons as ‘objectively disordered.’

“To this day, these two words have caused immeasurable oppression and suffering and are still dragged out whenever there is an urge to demonize and marginalize LGBTQI persons. This includes firing them from their positions in Catholic institutions, leaving them without employment and income, and opening deep wounds in the institutions and communities that cherished their witness and work. This is not past history. The Supreme Court heard arguments this fall that would permit religiously affiliated institutions that accept taxpayer funding to prohibit LGBTQI persons and couples from legally adopting children. This scandalous and heartless legacy is not one of a saint.”

Robert Shine, New Ways Ministry, November 25, 2020

5 replies
  1. Dana Prescott
    Dana Prescott says:

    Indeed, there are far too many skeletons rattling in the Papal closets. Pope John Paul The First was found dead in his bed, just a day or two after his Papacy began. On the table next to his bed was a detailed report of criminal activities perpetrated by Cardinals who were known to be members of the Mafiosi. And it’s a documented fact that Pope John Paul The Second was vehemently anti-GLBT, while at the same time covering up for the sexual transgressions of members of his own College of Cardinals. Basic questions: What Would Jesus Say? What Would Jesus DO? Go figure.

  2. Richard Rosendall
    Richard Rosendall says:

    I entirely agree. They rushed JPII’s sainthood a bit, don’t you think? But then I’m intrinsically disordered, so you’ll have to make allowances.

  3. Tom Bower
    Tom Bower says:

    Finally there is starting to be a discussion about the hypocrisy that the papacies of JP II and B 16 and their hateful Inquisition against the LGBT children of God. Each had some virtues, but they always found time to condemn their favorite homosexual black sheep while defending/hiding those guilty of straight or gay abuse of minors. They were blind to the sin of who was abusing and confusingly focusing on the traditional format of shame.

    Rather than joining a world gradually changing its view that LGBT individuals are good and capable members of society no better or worse than others of God’s family, they regularly chose to bash a convenient political scapegoat that had been shamed for centuries yet was never a part of those about whom Christ found at fault. A saint should lead us to a vision of the ever expanding scope of Jesus’ love. Sadly JPII failed in this and B16 was his loyal servant in continuing this history of hate where they should have sown love.

  4. Annette Magjuka
    Annette Magjuka says:

    The church must stop its discrimination against LGBTQ and women. It must root out the craven, power-hungry bishops who use scapegoating of LGBTQ people and women as a way to divide and control the faithful. It is past time to affirm the social justice mandate Jesus came to teach us. In America, our democracy is at risk because of these power hungry men. Let’s turn this around before it is too late.


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