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The Apology of John Paul II

By John Patrick Michael Murphy (2/26/00)

In a bit more than a fortnight Pope John Paul II will make a request for forgiveness for the conduct of his church over the centuries. The infirm pontiff has prepared a list of the murders, tortures and horrors the papacy has caused to humanity. It reportedly takes 50 pages to lay it all out--things like the papal pogroms against the Jews, the crusades against Islam, and the Inquisitions that went on for centuries. Will 50 pages be enough?

Not if he tells it all. He knows his church historically engaged in political assassinations and other monkeyshines to impose the will of the Vatican upon the civil governments of the world. Will he mention that, even while families hold up pictures of desaparecidos, their kin, who disappeared in countries run by Catholic bishops and generals, like Argentina, Chili, and Croatia? Will he mention Rwanda?  Will he say he's sorry Pius XII said nothing while million of Jews were taken to their deaths? Will he mention Monsignor Tiso, head of the Slovak State, who delivered the first trainload of Jews to Auschwitz? How about the Catholic Ustashi of Croatia who carried out the "quiet holocaust" of Jews and Serbs? I doubt it.

How about women who had priests inspect their naked bodies, claiming to be looking for "witches marks" so they could light them on fire, in a sacred celebration during the Middle Ages called auto de Fe (act of faith)?  Will he admit to hundreds of thousands of victims in this category alone, or will he avoid numbers?

And then there are other matters, like the mad monks led by Saint Cyril, the patron saint of arsonists, who burned the Great Library at Alexandria, destroying 600,000 volumes of knowledge of the ancient world--the greatest property crime of all time. Surely he should mention that, but he probably won't. Then there was that dust-up with Luther and the wars that followed wherein Germany lost half its population in a generation. And of course the slave trade-shall he admit that his church was an instigator and a major player in that institution? And the destruction, plunder, rape and papal pillage of the peoples of the Americas and the eradication of their culture-will he go into all that? Will he say he's sorry that some of his predecessors tried to kill every Protestant in France when they were called Huguenots?

Will he admit the "Donation of Constantine" was a forgery, and thereby acknowledge that his predecessor, Adrian IV, the only English pope, really didn't own Ireland and therefore had no right to give it to England? Will he admit that forging documents has been a Vatican tradition for centuries, even during John Paul's lifetime, when favored Nazis had Holy See passports to escape Europe and their crimes?

And finally what about all the boys who were castrated to make them into church singers, shouldn't he apologize for that also? What will he say to the children who have had their bodies raped and their trust stolen when the priests of his church molested them? Will he ask forgiveness for the bishops who knew, and re-enabled the priestly perverts by moving them about, giving them access to more and more children? If so, will it be a real apology or some whiny, wishy-washy non-apology, like he gave before he came to Denver. Will he now apologize for insulting the American victims and the American people with that crass, so called apology of seven years ago when he implied we were so bad we had corrupted his priests?

No one expects him to apologize to the Third World, which has been kept in hunger, in major part, due to the Vatican's ideas on birth control. Women may not expect an apology either, as he is convinced they have no right to control their own bodies. Don't even ask about the gays and lesbians.

I think the question must be asked: could a church devoted to deviltry have beaten the record of harm and horror established by this one, which claims it was selected by the Lord to run the world until his return? Could Judas and a long line of betrayers have done worse than Peter and the popes?

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