The feeling that it is just a little bit too soon to elevate John Paul II to sainthood has been echoed by many Catholics who prefer a longer post mortem waiting period to make sure the potential saint’s earthly record holds up. John Paul II will be the fastest tracked saint in the history of Catholic saint-making, beating out Mother Theresa who previously held the record by just 15 days. When he died in April 2005, cheers erupted calling for “santo subito” or “sainthood immediately,” but few actually thought it would be—or should be—this fast.
Loved as he was for his charisma and his role in the fall of communism, John Paul II actually has a quite appalling report card on his handling of the Church’s child sex abuse scandal, which mushroomed during his 27-year pontificate. Barbara Blaine, president of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, or SNAP says it is hurtful for victims that he is being made a saint so soon. “Little can be done by Catholic officials to erase the pain of hundreds of thousands of deeply wounded men, women and children who have been sexually assaulted by clergy,” she says. “But the church hierarchy can avoid rubbing more salt into these wounds by slowing down their hasty drive to confer sainthood on the pontiff under whose reign most of the countless, widely-documented clergy sex crimes and cover-ups took place.”