She is now comparing Pope John Paul II to Barack Obama in terms of leadership. Guess who wins! For some reason, she fails to acknowledge that under John Paul II, thousands of children were raped by members of the organization John Paul II ran, and the machinery he was in charge of not only failed to stop this, but actively perpetuated it and covered it up. Nowhere in her column does this come up – it’s yet another reality (like American torture) she wants to walk swiftly past (“Some of life has to be mysterious”). Noonan goes on to say:
Great leaders are clear, honest, suffer for their stands and are brave. They conduct a constant dialogue.
Whatever else one can say about the pontificate of John Paul II, the idea that it was about a constant dialogue is absurd. Under John Paul II and his orthodoxy-enforcer, Joseph Ratzinger, the scope for any dialogue within the church was essentially ended. Whole areas of theological debate were ruled impermissible; discussions about faith and morals were also discouraged and any hints of heterodoxy, i.e. thinking, were monitored and punished. John Paul II’s papacy was capable of detecting the most trivial form of theological dissent and punishing it relentlessly, while it found itself miraculously blind when it came to the endless rapes and abuse of children and adolescents that we know now were endemic.
This wasn’t leadership; it was the abdication of basic moral responsibility for the church John Paul II ran. And these were not only crimes of commission but also of omission. A monstrous figure like Marciel Macial was lionized by John Paul II even as he sold drugs, was a bigamist, abused countless young men, and even raped his own son. Cardinal Bernard Law was rewarded for his own disgusting cover-up of child-rapists with a sinecure in Rome.