Beatification Link Roundup

Here, some of the best and brightest weigh in on Pope John Paul II’s beatification, and correct some popular misconceptions.

The Curt Jester
ripostes John Paul’s critics by explaining the difference between heroic virtue and administrative brilliance.

Fr. Z. reminds readers that they shall know a saint by the fruits of the people mourning him.

While defending John Paul’s sanctity, Pia de Solenni calls for more transparency on the handling of the Maciel and sex-abuse cases.

In the National Review, George Weigel sets the record straight on John Paul the man, the so-called saint factory, and the Vatican’s motives for beatifying him so soon.

John Allen, Jr. points out that Pope Benedict may be quick to beatify, but is slow to canonize.

Updates to come; be prepared!

– Max Lindenman

Update: MSNBC’s “Citizen Journalist” has compiled stories on “Exceptional Encounters with Pope John Paul II”:

I met Pope John Paul II in 1998. I kissed his ring and rubbed his hand on my cheek. When I finally let go of his hand he reached over to my other cheek and rubbed and patted it. I think he is the greatest Pope we have had. I cried and cried when he died. As he got older and the Parkinson became more pronounced, he still kept going and doing and wanting to be a part of everything he could do. He is my hero. I have Multiple Sclerosis and I am the same way. I still go and do as much as I can. I need the help of my husband more and more but I do not want to give up and just sit in a corner and miss out on so much. Pope John Paul II gave me the strength and the guidance to keep going. He is definitely Pope John Paul the Great and in my eyes he is already a saint. My prayers go out to him.

I admit, I sometimes find it difficult to consider the former pope’s personal sanctity in a separate box from the wisdom of his executive decisions — until, that is, I read stories like this. Only the humblest, most generous soul could field so effusive a greeting without turning into a raving egomaniac. Imagine what would have happened if fans had started kissing Barry Bonds’ hands — his head would have had to take out its own lodgings.

  • Bernadette

    My parents saved up all the presents they got for their 25th wedding anniversary and used the money to travel to Rome. My sister was studying there at the time, so the main purpose was to visit her, but before they left, they obtained a letter of recommendation from our bishop. When they arrived they submitted it at the Vatican. One evening when they returned to the hostel where they were staying, there was a message that they should present themselves at a certain gate at some very early hour (I think 6am). They did, and found that they were attending John Paul II’s private early morning Mass.

    Afterwards they and the others attending had a small audience with him. He came around and greeted each of them in turn. My sister (forgetting that this is the man who spoke I forget how many languages) started trying to talk to him in Italian, but because she was so nervous, kept mixing it up with her high school Spanish. From this John Paul gathered that they were German, and started speaking to them in that language. Eventually everything got sorted out, and after my mom gave him a hug (she hugs everybody) he blessed their rings.

    I myself never got to meet the him. The closest I ever got was as his Popemobile passed a few feet away from where I stood behind a barricade at World Youth Day in Toronto. Still, just seeing him so close to me, so bent with age, sickness and pain, and yet looking at us with so much love and joy, made me cry. I knew then how much he loved us. I think it’s that love, beyond all his great gifts of learning and thought, that truly made him great. And for his mistakes, well, for those who love much, much will be forgiven.

  • Max Lindenman

    That’s profound. I once wrote, re: Maciel: “In his dovelike innocence, John Paul gave him the run of the place.” Jesus said we should be generous and shrewd, but really, it’s very hard balance to strike. I’m not smart enough to know the ontological significance of JP’s tendency to believe the best of people, but at the moment, I want to put it to his credit.

    Your sister shouldn’t feel too bad. I might have addressed him in Russian, the one language that might have gotten him in a fighting mood.

  • Bernadette

    I read an article somewhere that attributed John Paul’s too-easy acceptance of Maciel to his (John Paul’s) formation under Nazi and then Communist rule. The article argued that for John Paul, priests tended to be heroes who fought and died for the faith and their flock. The idea that a priest could be a psychopathic con man would be so far out of his experience that it would be like declaring that the sky is orange. I don’t know that I buy that. Any priest who hears confessions, much less a bishop who must deal with the failings of the priests under his care, knows that priests are all too human. But it does help me, perhaps, understand it a little better.

    Then, too, I think sometimes the will to believe the best about people isn’t so much a belief in the goodness of the people themselves, but a deep faith in the power of grace to change even the most hardened heart. I’ve seen it work that way sometimes – that the power of one person believing that another can be different empowers the other to become that better person. But I don’t know that this really applies to what happened with Maciel. That whole situation is sickening all over, and slimes everything it touches.

    But then, I only ever believed that John Paul was holy, not that he was perfect.

  • Bernadette

    Also, now I’m trying to imagine my sister speaking Russian, except it mostly sounds a lot like Boris & Natasha, and it’s just bad. And sortof awesome at the same time. And now I think I’d better stop typing before I finish trying to decide whether JP II would be Rocky or Bullwinkle.

  • jkm

    Oh, Bernadette, JP II is definitely Bulwinkle. B XVI is Rocky.
    What I’m remembering today:
    I was hired by the US Bishops Communication Committee to write the narration for a nationally aired documentary on JP II’s 1987 US visit. The job included drafting some remarks in English for him to greet the US audience at the end of the show. My joy in ghostwriting for a pope quickly turned to terror as we realized that (a) I had overwritten (not a surprise) and (b) his English was so slow and measured that we would need to cut a minute or two to make airtime. None of the production crew wanted to incur the heavenly wrath of cutting the pope, so it became my job. I was later able to be in the room for his live speech to the Hollywood entertainment community–and better still, to bring my mother, my confirmation sponsor, and my 12-year-old son to the event. That was memorable–but of course, the first thing I thought when today’s festivities were announced was “Uh oh, you cut a Beatus! You are going straight to you know where . . .”

  • Max Lindenman

    Ms Brah:

    Sick minds think alike. John Paul, like the moose, was an expansive optimist. Benedict, like the squirrel, iss a hard-headed realist. In other words:

    “Hey, Ratzi, watch me pull this renewal out of my hat!”

    “But that trick never works! Maybe you ought to try something smaller and purer.”

    And don’t sweat a thing. If the truth be known, most beati could have stood some editing.