Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Fast-tracking two Popes to Sainthood

I have just purchased the book, The Power and the Glory- Inside the Dark Heart of John Paul II's Vatican (2007) by David Yallop. Hopefully this book will reveal an honest and objective portrait of the 'real' Pope John Paul II, unadorned by the usual biased Vatican approved criteria. The author promises to expose some of the myths about the role Wojtyla played during and after WWII in Poland as well as some of the half-truths about this Pope's long reign. At the same time this book will examine the role of the Vatican in the fall of Communism, the mismanagement of Vatican finances, its failure to address the child sexual abuse crisis, the rise of Opus Dei, to the "Holy Alliance" between the White House and the Vatican. The Power and the Glory, according the fly-leaf is a bold and unflinching look at a man being fast-tracked to sainthood and his profound effect on a polarized institution.

As a convert to Catholicism, married to a cradle Catholic, I initially avoided almost everything and anything that spoke against 'the Church'. Today all that has changed due to a greater inner desire for truth and justice. As an active member of our small parish it was my happy duty to accept the role as Catechist for more than twenty years. In order the present fresh material for our yearly inquirers I specifically avoided using the same material and resources as much as possible (admittedly for the purpose of keeping it interesting for myself). The research lead me into many avenues and alleys along the way. However, the objective as I saw it was to bring people closer to an unconditionally loving Creator. As the years went on, I gradually began to question some of the teachings of the Church against the greater Gospel values. This was to become my 'downfall' as I started to speak out about a God, who did not punish, reward or hand-out favours. Additionally questions about Apostolic Succession, Gays, Abortion, and Sexual Abuse lead to my eventual (predictable?) dismissal by a recently appointed completely Orthodox minded priest. Most of the priests, during the previous year's understood and accepted my more expanded views. I seldom failed to include the Church's Traditional position or teachings. 'Critical thinking' is better than 'no thinking' remains my motto in the search for truth.

Nowhere does this seem more appropriate, then on the subject of Pope Pius XII and his role regarding the Jews during WWII. Yallop suggests that Pius XII may have saved as many as 860,000 Jews. The latest findings by German historian, Dr. Michael Hesemann were hailed as Proof is overwhelming Pius XII saved Jewish lives by a local Catholic on-line news media. The online article stated that Pius XII "arranged the flight of 200,000 Jews from Germany as early as 1938."

The number of books that have been written 'pro and con' about Pius XII during WWII would almost fill a medium sized library. Since the Vatican remains secretive and unresponsive, this controversial subject will remain on people's questioning minds for many more years to come. In the meantime, fast-tracking Pius XII to sainthood, similar to Pope John Paul II, may take a little longer.

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