Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz of Poland has condemned attempts to damage the status of his former superior, St John Paul II, and rejected calls for his "de-canonisation" for ignoring sex abuse in the Catholic Church.
"John Paul II was a man of the Second Vatican Council, which shaped his thinking about the Church and contemporary world", said Cardinal Dziwisz, who was the Polish pontiff's personal secretary for 39 years. "Efforts are being made to undermine his authority and even question his sainthood – and the situation the Church now finds itself in is encouraging this, among people whose consciences are troubled by John Paul II and who seek to weaken the Church's position".
The 80-year-old cardinal, who retired in 2016 after 11 years as Archbishop of Krakow, was reacting to media criticisms that John Paul II, canonised in 2014, failed to confront abuse claims when they became widespread in the 1980s. In an interview with Poland's Catholic Information Agency (KAI), he said the Polish Pope had instituted a "zero tolerance" for abusers in the Church, but added that his policies had not been fully appreciated, even among Catholic clergy.
"Today's media, including the social media, is helping expose issues like this, but also contributing to spreading untested, and even false information and opinion", the Cardinal said.