In case you missed it…

The canonization of Sts. John Paul II and John XXIII. Yay!

JPII, I believe, holds the world record for meeting and/or being personally seen by people, so a huge portion of the world’s population just became third class relics. 🙂

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  • Rosemarie


    Pope St. John Paul II and Pope St. John XXIII, pray for us.

  • HornOrSilk

    So many people (friends and those who are not my friends) have confused the trees from the forest in the case of these canonizations, complaining for one reason or another about it. Some don’t like it if Popes are canonized (as if Popes can’t be, and shouldn’t be, holy people: they should be); some think Saint John Paul II’s weaknesses with the sex abuse makes it impossible for him to be holy (forgetting almost all saints have weaknesses, and it is not their weakness, but their heroic virtues in other regards, which makes them saints: St Peter denied Christ, didn’t want to deal with the Gentiles when Jews were around, etc; yet he is a Saint; St Jerome was a firebrand who hurt many good people, and yet he was a saint; St Louis followed some of the medieval political excesses, and yet he was a saint, etc).

    Popes who call ecumenical councils tend to be saints (it’s not required, but I think it tends to be a saint who feels the Spirit to call the council). So Pope John XXIII makes sense there (I hated one commentary I heard this morning saying John XXIII was the liberal Pope who got rid of the Latin Mass — this on ABC, and I was wanting to do a facepalm). Pope John Paul II went through a great deal in WWII, in Communist Poland, that I think, even if he were not Pope, he would have been found of heroic virtue. His work as Pope was of tremendous value and has helped bring many back to the Church and seek after holiness: which is exactly what Saints do. His ignorance of the real ramifications of the sexual abuse situation, while a weakness, is also where he becomes strong (because all weakness provides a point for grace to make us stronger): when he did realize the real situation, he helped set the Church back in order as only he could (people forget the reforms started with him). He at first thought the abuse crisis was similar to his experience under Communist authorities, who used trumped up charges of sexual abuse as one of their primary means of attacking priests. It seems he initially believed that was what was going on; when he came to realize, late, he was in error, and there was a problem, he set up the process for reform (and the then Cardinal Ratzinger was calling international experts on child abuse and neglect to look into what could be done, I know this first hand). So the weakness of Saint John Paul II shows we can still be saints even with mistakes, shows that we can and need to continue to open ourselves up to overcome our mistakes, and shows it is possible, even within the Church. He could have done less, and followed the secular example of public schools, but he didn’t, and he took a beating for it — in humility, which again, shows the strength he got in return. Humility.

  • jroberts548

    I still can’t understand why the Church would canonize Pope St. JPII, or anyone still in living memory. Things are still being uncovered about, e.g., Maciel and the LC, and about the conduct of the Bishops he appointed during the sex abuse crisis. The Church has called him a saint, and I can’t say she’s wrong, but the absolute best case scenario is that he profoundly mishandled the sex abuse crisis and Maciel. The extent of that mishandling may be even worse than we know it is. With a few more decades’ worth of perspective, we might better understand what went on, and would be in a better place to decide whether or not to promulgate his cult to the universal Church.

    I know that “saint” means “holy,” not “smart” or even “competent.” The distinction between JPII’s holiness and his capability to be in charge of the Church matters – Pope St. Celestine V is a great illustration of this as a saintly hermit with absolutely no business being in charge of the Church. But I worry that the Church, with this canonization, is reinforcing the wrong understanding of what the Pope does. All the stadium masses in the world aren’t as important as prudent episcopal and curial appointments* in evaluating a pope’s significance or legacy. The pope’s job is to be holy in the same way that everyone’s job is to be holy; the pope’s unique job is being in charge of the Church. Recognizing Pope St. JPII as a saint shouldn’t be confused with recognizing him as a good pope.

    *With the caveat that any mass is more important than any appointment, because of the ontological nature of what happens at mass. That’s the same even if the celebrant is the only person there. Celebrating valid masses is important for any priest of bishop, but that should be a very low bar.

    • BillyT92679

      He’s a saint. That’s it. He’s in heaven and that’s infallibly defined. We here in the West want to make everything rational, and ultimately, deep down, even if we don’t want to admit it, achievement based. He could have failed, thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of times, and got absolved on his deathbed and he’s still a saint. So’s a lot of people who were pretty bad on earth for a lot of their lives. All that matters is that he made it to heaven.

      And, frankly, he was pretty much the best instrument of Christ as we’ve had.

      • Marthe LĂ©pine

        If I understand correctly, canonization means that we know for sure that someone is in Heaven. There are a lot of people that we meet during our lives that we consider as saints, and we might be correct, but when the Church uses canonization, it means we are certain. And I certainly believe that someone who converted on his or her deathbed and was met with Divine Mercy is probably in Heaven but the Church does not officially declare that we know for sure that this person was, not only saved, but brought directly to Heaven at the time of death..

        • BillyT92679

          yeah I know Marthe

  • Mark R

    I see some problem with the modern urge nowadays to have popes be saints rather than just great men of the Church. I do think the canonizations of both popes is a good thing…I knew a few of John Paul’s students and he was a great man. That said, in re. to John Paul II’s faults re. scandals and such, there was some motivation from charity on his part. At first he probably could not fathom that priests would behave this way…coming from a time and place where priests behaved heroically, at least to a larger extent than in places where the Church is in decline. And once coming to terms with the fact of the scandals, it seems he tried to deal charitably with the issue. Of course, he was saddled with a vatican bureacracy and the glacial speed with which it deals with such issues and a media culture which expects outcomes at microwave speeds.
    Charity is one of the things Christians are meant to practice.

  • Hey! Who are you calling ‘third class’?