Pope John Paul II Canonization Marred By Link To Sex Abuse Scandal: 4 Fast Facts About Involvement With Marcial Maciel

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Pope John Paul II waves as he leaves Rome's Gemelli hospital after major surgery in 1992. REUTERS/Luciano Mellace

Pope John Paul II (né Karol Józef Wojtyła) and Pope John XXIII (né Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli) are scheduled to be declared saints by the Roman Catholic Church on Sunday, April 27, 2014 in Rome. The canonization process will be led by the current pontiff, Pope Francis, at the Catholic capital, which is estimated to receive 3 million visitors to celebrate the occasion.

Many have said that Pope John Paul II -- the Polish pontiff led the Catholic Church from 1978 until his death in 2005 -- was the obvious choice for sainthood but there is more to being declared a saint than winning a popularity contest. According to the church, a pontiff must have two church-verified miracles attributed to him in order to be considered for sainthood.

For Pope John Paul II, the two miracles attributed were a French nun claiming to be cured from Parkinson's and a Costa Rican woman being cured from a fatal brain aneurysm. Even Pope Francis gave testimony, in 2005, to support the sainthood of Pope John Paul II. “John Paul II taught us, by hiding nothing from others, to suffer and to die, and that, in my opinion, is heroic,” said Pope Francis, then Jorge Mario Bergoglio, archbishop of Buenos Aires.

Pope John Paul II's legacy is not all miracles and words of praise from Pope Francis, as his involvement with Rev. Marcial Maciel Degollado, a Mexican-born Roman Catholic priest and the founder of Christ's Legionaries, has proven to be controversial, to say the least. The allegations against Pope John Paul II is that he, and his papacy, ignored the credible claims that late Maciel was a pedophile, drug addict, con artist, and religious fraud.

Now, the week leading up to Pope John Paul II's canonization, the Associated Press reports that the Catholic Church is saying that there is no evidence suggesting that he had any "personal involvement" with Marcial Maciel or the scandal that is plaguing the Legion of Christ religious order. "There is no sign of personal involvement of the Holy Father in this case," said Monsignor Slawomir Oder.

Here are four things to know about Pope John Paul II's relationship with Marcial Maciel:

1. Father Maciel founded the Legionaries of Christ in 1941 and was ordained to the Roman Catholic priesthood in 1944  in Mexico City. He accompanied Pope John Paul II during the late pontiff's visits to Mexico in 1979, 1990, and 1993. In 1990, Father Maciel was appointed by Pope John Paul II to the Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the Formation of Priests in Circumstances of the Present Day.

2. There have been many documented allegations and accusations against Father Maciel--from pedophilia to drugs and plagiarism -- but the Vatican, and Pope John Paul II, backed Father Maciel. The church is said to have admired the order's ability to grow and fundraise.

3. In 2006, a year after Pope John Paul II died, the Vatican's investigations into Father Maciel concluded that the allegations were true and he was removed as the head of the order in 2006 by Pope Benedict XVI. Benedict reportedly ordered Father Maciel, who died in 2008, to a life of "prayer and penitence." After Father Maciel's death in 2008, the Vatican learned that he had relations with at least two women and fathered several children.

4. Earlier this year, after a United Nations committee accused the church of ignoring child abuse, the Legionaries of Christ denounced their founder and former leader. “We want to express our deep sorrow for the abuse of minor seminarians, the immoral acts with men and women who were adults, the arbitrary use of his authority and of material goods,” said the order in a statement, as reported by The New York Times.

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Susmita Baral

Susmita Baral joined Latin Times in April 2013. Her work has been published in VICE, Weight Watchers Magazine, Unique Homes Magazine, US Airways Magazine, Vista Magazine, Daily Glow and Kaplan. She holds a B.A. Psychology from Rutgers University. A self-proclaimed foodie, Susmita is a freelance list maker, part-time Shaq devotee, and a full-time eyeliner junkie who believes mac and cheese is a birthright.