I don't want to go into the details, but I run into or talk to a lot of dissident Catholics. At NCYC, I met a ton and had a chance to talk to many of them. One thing I have noted in the world of liberal-dissenting Catholicism is the rehabilitation of John Paul II. John Paul was always popular among conservative Catholics; these are the ones clamoring for his canonization and calling him "John Paul the Great." Of course, the traditionalist community has its own beef with him, though we should be thankful for the indult that at least paved the way for the Motu Proprio, among other things. But the liberals and dissenters were no lovers of John Paul II. They were angry at his strong stance against Communism, at his disciplining of Hans Kung in 1979, his 1994 Ordinatio Sacerdotalis which closed the question on women's ordination. They clamored against what they perceived as his authoritarian refusal to undue Humanae Vitae, his support of Opus Dei, his stringent opposition to Liberation Theology and his condemnation of euthanasia and abortion. The list of liberal gripes against John Paul II goes on and on, and anybody who lived through the JPII years can remember how often he was vilified by the dissenters as an autocrat and a reactionary.
But now their tune has changed! I talked to a dissenter recently who spoke nostaligically about how John Paul "reached out to all people" and was really a model Pope. What? At NCYC, which was full of dissenting Youth Ministers and priests of questionable orthodoxy, there were tributes to John Paul II to the uproarious applause of the youth. In everybody I talked to, John Paul's pontificate was looked back on as a time of progressivism and horizontalism. It seemed as if all of the sudden everybody who defied John Paul's authority while he was alive was suddenly longing for his return. Why would this be? Why is he suddenly being lifted up by a community that despised him while he reigned?
I can only imagine that it is because they dislike and loathe Benedict XVI even more than they did John Paul II. Whatever they falsely accused John Paul of (he was not authoritarian in any way) they seem to see in Benedict even more. Unlike JPII, Benedict actually is mandating liturgical change and really is undoing a lot of the abuses of the past four decades (which only got worse under John Paul II). He is doing what JPII ultimately failed to do: act. I think Summorum Pontificum was the last straw. They rejoiced when John Paul died, but after two years of Benedict, they want John Paul back! At least they could ignore him with impunity!
It reminds me of a story from history: at the time of the fall of Rome, the Roman people were oppressed by the Ostrogoths. They begged the Byzantines to come free them from Gothic rule, but when Justinian drove the Goths out of Rome, the Romans found that the Byzantines were harsher masters than the Goths and soon clamored for the return of their Gothic rulers. Perhaps this explains the recent rehabilitation of John Paul II by the progressives. This goes to prove something about John Paul: while he was alive, he did some good things, and some bad things. All of the things I mentioned above were good things (cracking down on Liberation Theology, disciplining Hans Kung, etc.), but he also did some bad things like kissing the Koran, having interfaith prayer meetings as Assisi, allowing pagan rituals at canonizations, etc.
Now, of the good and the bad, what is being remembered here? What is being celebrated? I can tell you, the progressives who are giving him tributes at NCYC are not celebrating his stance on women's ordination or abortion. No, they are celebrating that he "reached out to all people;" they are celebrating the bad things he did, and his orthodox actions are quickly being forgotten. This is why a Pope ought never try to compromise with the world and value inclusivity above truth (John Paul himself called this the heresy of "irenicism"). In the end, John Paul's compromising will be remembered and celebrated while the little bit of disciplining that he did will be quickly forgotten in the frenzied melee to take up John Paul's name in the cause of license against the present pontificate of Benedict XVI.
Maybe I'm way off on this, but it seems to be the way things are going in the liberal community. I don't know if you all have experienced this; maybe you have or haven't. But watch for it, because I predict that the degree of hatred that the progressives have for Benedict XVI will be proportional to the amount of praise we see heaped posthumously upon John Paul II.