No one can doubt the holiness and good will of John Paul II. His holiness was great, truly great – said Pope Francis in the interview for the Mexican station. The Pope, among others, explained the sense of the “anecdote”, which he told in February during a press conference in the airplane on the return flight from the United Arab Emirates to Rome.
In the “anecdote” Pope Francis pointed out the courage of Cardinal Ratzinger in his fight with abuse, but in indirect way also John Paul II was blamed. The Pope said that the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had the documentation in the particular case. John Paul II wanted to learn the truth and ordered a meeting. After the meeting, Cardinal Ratzinger had to put the documentation to the archives and admitted that the opposing side won.
Now, after three months, Pope Francis admits that the case related to Marcial Maciel Degollado, founder of the Legion of Christ and the Regnum Christi movement. The Pope emphatically denied, however, any obstacles from John Paul II in examination of this case. “John Paul II was not present at that meeting – said Pope Francis. – It was a meeting of the leaders of the Curia, various dicasteries, to hear the case of Maciel.” Pope Francis emphasized that John Paul II was sometimes deceived, as for example in case of Cardinal Groër, Archbishop of Vienna.
Pope Francis pointed out that in the fight with abuse both Cardinal Ratzinger as well as John Paul II were brave. “You also have to understand John Paul II attitude – the Pope continued – he was from a closed world, from behind the iron curtain, communism was still strong at that time. It was a defensive attitude” – added the Holy Father.
The interview with the Pope is very extensive. Pope Francis addressed the situation in Latin America, as well as various problems of the Church. Among others, he ensured that he did not hear anything in case of former Cardinal McCarrick. In the interview, he talks also about his issues with the media and people who are visiting him, and then on a wave of enthusiasm they are adding more than was actually said by the Pope. Pope Francis mentions also his delight with the last book by Zygmunt Buman, written together with his Italian Assistant: “Nati liquidi – liquid from their birth.” According to the Pope, the book points out a significant problem of eradication of the new generation from their roots.
Krzysztof Bronk – Vatican