The Roman Catholic church has redefined the meaning of being a saint. The first time two Popes will be canonized at the same time in the 2,000 year church history will be John XXIII and John Paul II. The “Canonization of Saints” process has always been held to a high standard, sometimes taking centuries before canonization. Pope Francis exercised ” equipollent canonization”, the process of fast tracking prospective candidates by not requiring all of the criteria and glossed over the most important factor in determining Sainthood, the miracle.
Proofs of a Miracle
The Vatican props up a 1966 “suspect miracle” of a nun being miraculously healed after praying for her cure in the name of the Pope John XXIII. In John Paul II’s case, a Costa Rican mother of four diagnosed with an inoperable brain aneurysm prayed to a picture of the Pope on a magazine and was cured. Listen, I want to believe but this is nonsense and all it does is muddy the waters for the next case of a miracle. Does much more harm than good. Doing this, Pope Francis lowered the bar and effectively created the Hall of Fame of the Catholic Church. No longer will miracles be part of the criteria for Sainthood. It will be about popularity. It seems to be the new rule is to start canonization of any Pope regardless of any standard.
Pope John Paul II was a popular saint because of his mass appeal as a “father figure” to the world’s Catholics. His attempted assassination and decline in health during his papacy only furthered heightened his popularity. But the reality is he ruled during the time of some of the worst hypocrisy in the church, namely the hiding of priests who were child pedophiles and concealing their acts. A nice man but hardly a Saint.
Waive Miracle requirement
Father Lindeijer, an advocate for prospective Saints and a senior Catholic church official compared the absence of miracles to allowing ” everyone to be a major league baseball player.” Maybe not the best analogy, but I get what he is saying. ” Miracles are a great protection of justice, a sign of approval from God,” Lindeijer said. In other words, being Pope is just not good enough criteria for Sainthood. Yes, A Pope is a special person but Saints are one step above.
Beatified or Canonized?
Pope Francis could have easily let these two Popes be beatified and not canonized. A small difference but enough where most would consider the two Popes to be “Blessed” rather than “Sainted”. Personally, I would be an advocate of this alternative. Kinda the same way I felt about Mother Theresa. I always felt she was a Beloved person, not a Saint. Beloved Mother Theresa has not been canonized because of a lack of miracles. Exactly as it should be.
One million people are reported to be flocking to Rome to attend the Canonization ceremonies for the two inductees. That’s a tremendous boost for a declining fan base for the Vatican and the Church in general. Souvenir stands will be busy, more Pope refrigerator magnets will be sold, and more donations to the Church will follow.
If this is to be a popularity contest without criteria, then make it so. But don’t hold out double standards of admission as it undermines the credibility of the process and the candidate. Should the church succumb to the “fast food” serving up of Saints or should the long process of vetting thru investigation and review be the proper path for determination of sanctity.
Being educated by the Marianist brothers and a lifelong Catholic, I believe in the sanctity of Saints. I was taught that a Saint held a more direct path to God and that praying to a Saint was better since they had the “ear of God” and could directly intercede on one’s behalf. I opine that the highest standard benefits the Church, it’s members and future candidates for Canonization. Fast tracking self serves the existing church bureaucracy and undermines future prospects and their deeds.
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