Two Popes to Be Sainted, Mother Teresa Shafted

Mother Teresa

Today the Vatican announced two popes will be sainted, but Mother Teresa appears to have gotten the shaft. Pope John Paul II and John XXIII will be canonized on April 27 2014.  Within the political and ideological sphere of the Catholicism, the two men represent strongly differing viewpoints.  Pope John is thought of as a progressive and liberal catholic leader responsible for the Second Vatican Council, a summit that revised the ruling dogma and brought the Roman Catholic Church into the 20th century.  He was pontiff from 1958-1963.

Pope John Paul II is a hero to conservative Catholics.  He was a vociferous critic of communism, particularly in eastern Europe.  He also conducted mass in Chile during the despotic reign of Pinochet, allowing the mass to become a form of activism in which people spoke out against the stifling authoritarianism. Despite being a telegenic leader who radiated with grandfatherly love, John Paul’s reign was not without controversy. His pro-life position on abortion frustrated liberal Catholics, but perhaps not as much as his condemnation of contraception.

It was his involvement in child sex abuse scandals though that casts a shadow over his tenure as pope. According to Jason Berry of The Nation, “despite a 1984 warning memo from the Rev. Thomas Doyle, then a canon lawyer in the Vatican Embassy in Washington,”  and  an additional report co-authored by him in 1985,  Pope John Paul provided no victim assistance nor made any attempt to remove pedophiles from the priesthood.  This apathy was compounded by his reluctance to reform church law in respect to child molesters. “In 1989 the US conference of bishops sent experts in canon law to Rome,” looking for a way to defrock perpetrators instead of waiting on the sluggish Vatican power structure. Pope John Paul II did no cooperate.

It is for this reason that his passage into sainthood ahead of Mother Teresa remains baffling.  John Paul himself had beatified Mother Teresa in the wake of her death, placing her ahead of the still living John Paul on the road to Catholic sainthood.  To his credit, John Paul worked to revise the process of canonization of becoming a saint, which involves The Vatican establishing proof miracles were performed in the name of the prospective saint.  In the modern era of forensic medicine, this seems hardly reasonable.

Mother Teresa won the noble prize in 1979 for her work with the poor.  In addition she won the 1971 Pope John XXIII Peace Prize  and the 1971 Nehru Prize.  Pope John Paul II himself was an avid supporter of her work.  Although easy to underestimate because of her frail stature, she was fluent in five languages.   She established The Missionaries of Charity, providing help to the poor, the sick, and the homeless around the world.  Considering that Pope John Paul II has performed no miracles, it appears Mother Teresa has been shafted by The Vatican.  It is most likely unintentional; nevertheless, supporters of Mother Teresa must be frustrated.


Written By David Arroyo


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