Is Canada a theocracy? No? But if it’s not right now, could it be heading that way? Did you answer ‘No’? Well maybe we shouldn’t be so sure about that.
I was recently stunned to read that the Canadian House of Parliament has passed a private members bill to set aside a national day of honour for Pope John Paul II. Yes, you read that right. Yes, here in Canada. The bill is in the Senate, which hopefully will see its folly and reject it. The National Post in the article “Pontiff’s day facing uphill climb in Senate” (May 13, 2014, p. A6), reported that the MP who introduced the bill, Wladyslaw Lizon, stated that his bill is “not religious but about recognizing a head of state who helped topple authoritarian regimes and was a ‘humanist with a capital-H’.”
However, as other accounts show, the man had many failures to account, despite the successes with which he is credited. A fascinating article for the Associated Press by Nicole Winfield, published in the Regina Leader-Post, details those failures extensively, as well as those of other leaders of this religious organization, especially in regards to sexual abuse. The article, entitled “Sex abuse scandal stains John Paul II’s legacy, Pope to be canonized on Sunday” reported:
“Pope Francis has inherited John Paul’s most notorious failure on the sex abuse front – the Legion of Christ order, which John Paul and his top advisers held up as a model.
Francis, who will canonize John Paul on Sunday, must decide whether to sign off on the Vatican’s three-year reform project, imposed after the Legion admitted that its late founder sexually abused his seminarians and also fathered three children.
Yet the Legion’s 2009 admission about the Rev. Marcial Maciel’s double life was by no means news to the Vatican.
Documents from the archives of the Vatican’s then-Sacred Congregation for Religious show how a succession of papacies – including that of John XXIII, also to be canonized Sunday – simply turned a blind eye to credible reports that Maciel was a con artist, drug addict, pedophile and religious fraud.”
The article also stated that documents from 1948, seven years after the order was founded by Maciel:
“Show the Holy See was well aware of Maciel’s drug abuse, sexual abuse and financial improprieties as early as 1956, when it ordered an initial investigation and suspended him for two years to kick a morphine habit.
Yet for decades, Rome looked the other way, thanks to Maciel’s ability to keep his own priests quiet, his foresight to place trusted Legion priests in key Vatican offices and his careful cultivation of Vatican cardinals, Mexican bishops and wealthy, powerful lay Catholics. Vatican officials were impressed instead by the orthodoxy of his priests and Maciel’s ability to attract new vocations and donations.”
The recent excellent PBS documentary, “Secrets of the Vatican” details similar information, which should hopefully have Senators running away from this proposal to honour a religious leader who has such a stain on his record.