Alternet, a sometimes rabidly liberal online site, ran a story on John Paul II’s legacy; The Totalitarian Pope. Alternet slams John Paul II’s papacy for being reactionary, authoritarian and recidivist, especially in regards to the modernization and democratization instigated by Vatican II in the early 1960’s. The article concludes that John Paul II’s impact on the Church will continue to be felt long after he is succeeded. The Pope has appointed all but four of the current cardinals, and a vast majority of the bishops throughout the world. He canonized more saints in his 25 years than all the popes in the previous 500 years – combined.
Well Pope John Paul II is certainly a staunchly conservative man, and many of his published encomiums during his remarkably long tenure were marked by an affirmation of traditional values in the face of modern pressures upon the Church. But then the Roman Catholic Church is a remarkably conservative organization to begin with. Just a few years ago, the Church finally admitted that it was wrong to force Galileo Galilei to abjure and renounce his findings in 1633 under threats from the Inquisition. (Talk about holding a grudge!) So this reactionary Pope, who has stacked the College of Cardinals with his disciples, is merely an expression of the Church’s innate conservatism.