CNA Staff, Nov 17, 2020 / 07:00 am
A Polish Catholic university rejected Saturday claims that St. John Paul II failed to combat clerical abuse.
The rector’s college of the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin said Nov. 14 that the assertions had no factual basis and lamented the “fallacious accusations, calumnies, and slander directed recently against our patron saint.”
In a statement, the rector and vice-chancellors of the university in eastern Poland said: “The subjective theses expressed by some circles are by no means substantiated by facts and objective findings -- for example, presented in the report of the Holy See’s Secretariat of State on Theodore McCarrick.”
The publication of the McCarrick Report Nov. 10 unleashed an avalanche of criticism of John Paul II, who appointed McCarrick as archbishop of Washington in 2000 and made him a cardinal a year later.
The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin -- known by its Polish initials, KUL -- said that critics of the Polish pope ignored the steps he had taken to combat abuse.
The rector’s college statement, which began by recognizing the pain and injustice suffered by abuse survivors, said that John Paul II led the global fight against clerical abuse, introducing the principle of “zero tolerance.”
It cited the pope’s 1993 letter to U.S. bishops, in which he recalled Jesus’ words that “for him who gives scandal it would be better to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”
“As early as 1993, John Paul II was pointing out to U.S. bishops that, in the case of sexual crimes, canonical punishments, including expulsion from the priesthood, were necessary and fully justified,” the statement said.