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April 25, 2014

Double Sainthood Sunday

Roy Meachum

Two saints will be added to the Catholic hierarchy this weekend: the shades of John XXIII and John Paul II. The New York Times cheers on the pontiff from Lombardy while raising doubts about the Polish guy.


Specifically, columnist Maureen Dowd doesn’t see the merit in John Paul II, who, according to her, presided over the years of priestly child abuse. As a product of Catholic boarding school, I can assure my friend and colleague that the sex scandals existed earlier.


The Irish hierarchy revealed itself under Benedict XVI, stories went far back. I blame the former Cardinal Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger, who was the head of the sacred congregation for faith all during John Paul’s time. He fired the Rev. Charles Curran, long after the Catholic University’s tumult, which I covered as a reporter. Charles was forbidden to teach in church-affiliated school; he went to Southern Methodist University. We’ve corresponded several times.


During the week Washington’s Archbishop Patrick Aloysius O’Boyle received his red hat, there was much excitement: the Iron Curtain countries were permitted to send people to Rome. I met “the Polish guy” in 1967. Short on English, his personality came through. I’ve never met the former Cardinal Ratzinger.


As for Pope John XXIII, I first went to Rome when St. Peter’s was ruled by Paul VI. I have no idea about the papal personality. But, to concentrate on sex peccadilloes, I saw nothing to jar me from my boarding school days.


The problem is celibacy among men and women. They handle it within the Greek Church by limiting the bishops to non-priests; if you want to advance, you shouldn’t get married – especially to a church member. I know a fella who transferred from the Episcopal Church to a Middle Eastern form of Christianity – in order to marry a second time.


Going too far off the point, there is a double canonization Sunday: John XXIII and John Paul II, when he died the Roman crowds were saying “Subito” (Immediately!) for his early sainthood.


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