Q: There has been criticism of his legacy, especially on questions of abuse and quite a few people have said that we should wait with the beatification. Do you think he did enough to combat abuse in the Church?
Nichols: I think beatification about a person’s holiness. It’s not a reward for being a good Pope. It’s not a prize for good management. It’s an acclamation that this person was close to God and in his life and work showed us some of the attributes of God, God’s creativeness and his abundant mercy and I think that is the only context to really reflect profoundly on the moment of beatification.There is a giant question mark here. For if—and it is "if"—Pope John Paul 2 failed to do enough to respond to the abuse crisis, then we might see that hypothetical failure in two ways:
- As an administrative failure; that is he failed to grasp the full response required by the gravity of the situation or grasped it but wasn't a strong or efficient enough administrator to make it happen.
- As a moral failure: that is if he, like so many of the priests and bishops involved, decided that protecting the church from being shamed justified not doing more to bring those responsible to justice.