John Paul II, however, is the antithesis of this traditional Catholicism which we believe to be the truth. He incarnated in very public terms what we can call "liberal Catholicism", a corruption of the faith that excommunicated the Church's past and her hard teachings concerning salvation that had bothered those outside the Church for so long.
OK, let's be careful to keep things distinct here - excommunication is a big word. +Lefebvre and the Bishops he consecrated were excommunicated automatically and of course this was lifted by JP2's own right-hand man. For all his errors regarding the SSPX, JP2 permitted the FSSP and some diocesan TLM's to exist.
If an impenitent man like that can be saved, why even bother with traditional Catholicism at all? Certainly, it becomes at least irrelevant, if not spurious. After all, you can lead a regular Novus Ordo Catholic life, indistinguishable from a Protestant, and be on the road to salvation. Heck, even a Muslim or a Jew can!
As far as I can see the thing is: unless he had deathbed conversion, there's no way John Paul II, a man who publicly forfeited Catholic teaching in the name of Ecumenism, be in Heaven.
It's the same thing as saying Luther is in Heaven, and so forth.
Unless, of course, God has changed the rules and faith is no longer a requisite for salvation.
This seems like throwing the baby out with the bath water. You're equating JP2 with Luther. Reading Michael Davies' Cranmer's Godly Order
makes it abundantly clear that Luther was a heinous heretic who rejected the most basic Catholic teachings on justification, transubstantiation, faith and works, indulgences, the Papacy, the priesthood, the Bible and on and on and on.
I was a Protestant. I came to the Catholic church to join them. Communion was out of the question until my formal conversion. My parish priest was a self-described "Vatican II baby" and yet of course I had to be confirmed with the Catholic profession of faith and everything before being admitted to the church.
So I think you're over-inflating the issue here, sort of making a mountain out of a mole hill. Yes, JP2 was extremely misguided on ecumenism but it's not like he gave the Eucharist to all comers or started ordaining Protestants as Catholic bishops, etc. I mean, if all that was true, there'd be no purpose for an Anglican Ordinariate in the first place.
I see it a bit like limbo... to me it's a lot of theological speculation that's gone haywire. And yeah the Pope can blather and fudge words and lots of people can get confused. But the church is still basically intact. Mortal sin is still what it is: lack of Sunday obligation, artificial birth control, communion without confession, not recognizing the presence of Christ in the Eucharist, fornication... these are all still mortal sins that entail eternal hellfire... according to the church.
Devout neo-Catholics are absolutely distinguishable from Protestants. Just look at their attitude towards Our Mother. A typical Protestant believes it's a sin to pray to Mary, that it verges on idolatry, that it is disgusting to their concept of a "Christian conscience". But you don't have to go far to find a neo-Catholic who is dedicated to Our Lady, or one have has given their life over to the Immaculate. That's not what I would describe as indistinguishable.
Those traditionalists who do equate "neo-Cath" with "protestant" should know that many of us on this forum (myself included) were everything-is-great-about-JP2, neo-Catholic sorts at one point before we came to know more about tradition. So that equation with protestantism will never fly with us, will actually prevent us from seeing your points clearly, because we know it is BS. I was there, I went only to the NO, and I absolutely abhorred the idea of going to a Protestant service, despite superficial similarities with Lutherans or whatever I knew the serious differences.