The priest who has guided the Vatican's sainthood process for Pope John Paul II has denied any personal involvement by the former Pontiff in his response to clergy sexual abuse and his handling of Fr Marcial Maciel Degollado, reports NCR Online.
Questioned publicly yesterday whether those investigating the saintliness of John Paul II considered if the late Pope had sufficiently handled Maciel, who by the late 1990s was the subject of substantial investigative reporting. Msgr Sławomir Oder said the investigations were carried out 'with the real desire to clear things up and confront all the problems.'
'Even concerning the specific question that you mention, an investigation was carried out, documents were studied, [documents] which are available, and the response was very clear,' Msgr Oder said. 'There is no sign of a personal involvement of the Holy Father in this matter.'
Msgr Oder, a Polish native who serves as a vicar in the Rome diocese, is the postulator of the cause of sainthood for John Paul II and responsible for organising the official investigations into the late Pontiff's sanctity and virtues for the official Vatican process to have John Paul II declared a saint.
Msgr Oder's comments yesterday came during a briefing for reporters at the Vatican on the reasons for sainthood for the two late Popes. Msgr Oder's words indicate that Vatican officials do not have a clear response for questions about John Paul II's relationship with Maciel, whom John Paul II publicly supported for years, calling him in 1994 'an efficacious guide to youth.'
While extensive reporting on Maciel's abuse, eventually estimated by the Vatican to have affected 'more than 20 but fewer than 100' seminarians in Legionary seminaries, was first undertaken by journalists Jason Berry and Gerald Renner in 1997, Maciel was not publicly punished until 2006, after John Paul II's death, when Pope Benedict XVI ordered the priest to a life of penance.
Tuesday's briefing, named 'Why are they saints?,' was billed as an opportunity for the Vatican to focus on the holy and saintly lives of the two popes. Also present was Franciscan Fr Giovangiuseppe Califano, the postulator for the sainthood cause of John XXIII.
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