Pope John Paul II is dead. We are now being bombarded by a massive media campaign on the image of this man, so much so that they have created an atmosphere where it becomes almost impossible to formulate any critical judgement. Even on the left there is a rush of positive appraisals. We have the example of the front page of Liberazione [organ of Rifondazione Comunista] which said “He loved peace, rest in peace”.
Our judgement however can only be a negative one. Karol Wojtyla was the Pope of restoration [i.e. of return to orthodox thinking in the Church]. Inside the Catholic Church, right from the very beginning, he linked up with its most reactionary components, such as the Opus Dei, and protected Cardinal Marcinkus, the chairman of the IOR (the Vatican bank), that had been accused of a fraudulent declaration of bankruptcy during the Banco Ambrosiano scandal at the end of the 1970s. In the article Wojtyla and Teresa, or a Case of Saintly Overproduction the scandalous canonisation of Escrivà de Balaguer, founder of the Opus Dei, is quoted.
He supported all the bloodiest dictatorships in Latin America. He blessed Pinochet during his trip to Chile in 1988, and he came into open conflict with the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua. Angelo Sodano, the present Secretary of State, the highest political position within the Vatican, was papal nuncio in Chile during the military dictatorship. There is also Pio Laghi, who when he was papal nuncio in Argentina liked to play tennis with the colonels of the military junta, and who was rewarded by Wojtyla by being nominated a cardinal.
Again, in Latin America, the Polish Pope clashed head on with the “Theology of Liberation”, accusing its promoters of “collusion with communism”, simply because they supported the struggles for social liberation on the continent. He isolated and repressed his main opponents within the Church by either suspending them or stopping them from teaching in the seminaries and Faculties of Theology.
John Paul II also sent out clear messages with his canonisations. In 2001 he beatified over 200 priests that had been killed by the republicans during the Spanish Civil War because they had sided with Franco.
In 1998 he canonised the Croatian Cardinal Stepinac, who had been the mentor of the dictator Ante Pavelic, a faithful ally of Hitler during the Second World War.
The Vatican also immediately recognised Croatian and Slovenian independence in 1991, thus contributing in a significant manner to the outbreak of bloody warfare that spread across the ex-Yugoslavia in the 1990s. When this Pope visited Croatia to give his blessings to Tudjman and Ante Gotovina, well-known war criminals, was it the same “Pope of peace” that is now being described to us ad nauseam?
Karol Woytyla was an ardent opponent of women’s and gay rights. The Catholic Church, in the name of “defence of life” has come out against the right to abortion, to divorce, the use of contraceptives and scientific research. It is significant that Cardinal Ruini has come out for a boycott of the referendum on fertility treatment [which is to be held in Italy].
Wojtyla’s criticisms of capitalism were always based on a criticism of “modernism” and for a return to the “Middle Ages” when the Catholic Church had enormous political and economic power.
Convinced that we are providing a service to all those left wing activists who are fed up of the one-way propaganda that the mass media are churning out, we are publishing the article Wojtyla and Teresa, or a Case of Saintly Overproduction.