Used to be that to become a saint, you needed to do something pretty spectacular, like emit sweet smells after you die (St. Theresa of Avila) or appear in two places at once (Padre Pio–and no, it wasn’t to go to competing parties). Nowadays, keeping pedophiles in the Church and throwing gays and lesbians out seems to suffice. Just ask Pope John Paul II.
On Sunday, the Vatican—where the finest minds of the 12th century reside—beatified Pope John Paul II, bringing him one step closer to sainthood. For an organization which usually measures speed in centuries, the move is warp-fast and required a waiver to skip the usual five-year waiting period after death. The Church cited John Paul II’s humanity. And to give him credit his emphasis on personhood instead of materialism and his willingness to embrace his own physical decline are great qualities.
Sure, JP2’s a swell guy. Let’s go ahead and Saint him! Why not! They Sainted Christopher, and he had the head of a dog. Or perhaps he was a dog with the body of a man. Anyway, the more the merrier.
But wait. Let’s take a look at what John Paul II had to say about the gays: “Even when the practice of homosexuality may seriously threaten the lives and well-being of a large number of people, its advocates remain undeterred and refuse to consider the magnitude of the risks involved.” Or this description: “[Gay marriage is] perhaps part of a new ideology of evil, perhaps more insidious and hidden, which attempts to pit human rights against the family and against man.” Hmmm… John Paul II’s take on gay marriage it sound an awful lot like the consequences of the Vatican covering up pedophilia in its ranks.
Of course, even if the Church gets around to changing its opinion on gay rights in the coming millenia, JP II will be unaffected. Sainthood isn’t a driver’s license: it can’t be revoked.
Photo credit: José Cruz/Abr; Agência Brasil