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VATICAN CITY (ChurchMilitant.com) - An award-winning author and journalist who conducted extensive research on Pope St. John Paul II has slammed the McCarrick Report for attempting to "cast doubt on his sanctity and smear his incredible legacy."
Patrick Novecosky, author of the recently published best-seller 100 Ways John Paul II Changed the World, lamented the fact that "many will be swayed by the report's libel."
Speaking to Church Militant in an exclusive interview, Novecosky, who met the Polish pope five times — including three private audiences — vigorously defended him as "perhaps the most consequential pope of the past 500 years — and the most visible human being who ever lived."
Following the publication of the McCarrick Report, the left-wing National Catholic Reporter (NCR) called upon the U.S. bishops to "suppress the cult of St. John Paul II," for his "calamitous, callous decision-making."
"Given what we know now about the long-lasting repercussions of John Paul's decision-making," the NCR editorial asked U.S. bishops to "discuss requesting that the Vatican formally suppress John Paul's cult," as "abuse victims deserve no less."
But Novecosky, who has won more than two dozen national awards for writing, told Church Militant that "the best the report could do is to point out that John Paul II believed McCarrick's handwritten note declaring his innocence, rather than the then-unsubstantiated reports of McCarrick's impropriety."
"More than anything, John Paul lived for his relationship with Jesus Christ. His prayer life fueled everything he said and did," Novecosky emphasized. "To put the blame on the deceived, John Paul, rather than the deceiver, McCarrick, is simply the work of the ultimate deceiver, Satan."
Novecosky explained how McCarrick "gamed the system, and he did so brilliantly for years."
"McCarrick deceived John Paul II," the author conceded. "The fact that he fooled the pope is no great surprise. He deceived virtually everyone, including wealthy Catholic donors, the media, priests and bishops."
"McCarrick is in the same category as Bp. Michael Bransfield and Fr. [Marcial] Maciel. All three men deceived Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. All three were pathological liars who had a history of deception," Novecosky observed. "Sanctity does not mean one cannot be deceived."
"What these three men — Bransfield, Maciel and McCarrick — needed was a confessor like Padre Pio, who could read souls and could have called them to repentance," the researcher remarked.
Novecosky underscored John Paul II's "abhorrence of gossip" — a virtue that undermined his assessment of reports against McCarrick.
"The Holy Father took men at their word. He had lived under communism, where the authorities would use lies, especially about sexual impropriety, to smear the reputation of priests and bishops," Novecosky stressed. "Thus, the Polish pope had reason to doubt that McCarrick was guilty."
Novecosky's book demonstrates how Pope St. John Paul II would never hesitate to call out evil.
"As vicar of Christ, he knew it was his job to read the signs of the times and to interpret what the Holy Spirit was saying to the Church," Novecosky writes.
"We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the gospel versus the anti-gospel, between Christ and the Antichrist," he told Philadelphia's Eucharistic Congress in 1976, speaking as Cdl. Karol Wojtyła.
"Very little is made of McCarrick's homosexuality and the rampant acceptance of such deviant behavior by those in power in the Church. This seems to be the subtext of the report," he added.
Meanwhile, the rectors' conference of the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin issued a statement defending the Polish pontiff:
Trying to hold John Paul II responsible for the tragedy of people who have been victims of clergy sexual abuse is insinuation and manipulation. The pope from Poland was the one who started the fight against the perpetrators of acts against the basic dignity of the weakest and who introduced the principle of 'zero tolerance' towards pedophilia.
"We cannot remain indifferent to the deceptive charges and defamations recently directed against our patron saint," wrote the rector and vice-chancellors of the university where John Paul II taught.
Earlier, papal biographer George Weigel stated: "There is absolutely no evidence in the McCarrick Report to prove that John Paul II deliberately named a sexual predator as archbishop of Washington."
"John Paul II made a mistake because he was deceived by a pathological liar," Weigel remarked, lamenting that the McCarrick Report gives rise to "hasty conclusions."