Sunday, April 27, 2014


There are 4 steps involved in the canonization of a saint. Note the words "canonization of a saint". "Canonize" means to regularize or order. The person in question is already a saint. The Church simply officially recognizes this fact allowing the person to be publicly venerated as a saint.

The 4 steps are:
1. The Vatican issues a Nihil Obstat (nothing hinders)
2. It is proved that the candidate lived "heroic virtues"
3. The first miracle
4. The second miracle
For more detail go here.

I personally believe that both John 23 and JP2 were saintly men and are in heaven and have no problem with their canonizations. However, I can see why there is a problem.

The canonization of both popes at the same time has the appearance of being about something other than the saintliness of these men. It has the appearance of being a statement, but a statement about what?

The short answer is that it is an attempt to shore up the dyke around Vatican II, a dyke that has been hemorrhaging Catholics since before it even ended.

Quite apart from the question of whether this was a Spirit-led Council is the glaring empirical fact the much expected "springtime" has not only never arrived, it has been "always winter and never Christmas", to steal a phrase from C.S. Lewis.

But now to the popes and specifically Item No. 2: heroic virtue.

In the case of John XXIII, we have a man who was pope for a very short period of time 1958 to 1963. Aside from being much loved there is little to point to in the way of "heroic virtue" (emphasis on "heroic"). In fact, though he was mostly thought of as a loving pastor, he in fact never was a pastor, spending all his days, prior to his elevation to the papacy, as a Vatican bureaucrat.

Pretty much, outside of being a nice guy, his credits amount to his calling the Second Vatican Council. I suppose that could be seen as heroic, however all his plans for the Council (the schema), as promulgated at the Roman Synod of 1960, were thrown out by the bishops on the very first day of the Council. And then he died. The end.

JP2 occupied the Chair of Peter for nearly a quarter of a century and a case for his heroic virtues, particularly in his last years, can certainly be argued. However, there are some who believe that in his waning years, he was taken advantage of and the Church began to fall into disarray, a disarray that the already old Benedict inherited, and eight years later admitted he couldn't handle. This caused some to believe that the "heroic" thing to do for JP2 would have been to step aside as Benedict did. But he didn't.

JP2 is credited with the aiding the collapse of Communism and the U.S.S.R. However, in the wake of that collapse the world quickly became a much more dangerous place and ancient tribal hatreds (particularly in the Balkans), held in check by the iron fist of Moscow, were soon let loose and morphed into genocidal campaigns and the worldwide unrest we are even seeing more of today.

I admire both men, and even named my store after John Paul II, calling it John Paul the Great Bookstore. And I am sure both are saints. However, while I do not question their canonizations, I, like many others, question the reason.


A man in Argentina receives a phone call from someone identifying himself as Father Begoglio.

The caller asks to speak with the man's wife.

The call is reportedly in response to the woman's letter to the pope, 6 months earlier, complaining that her parish priest had told her that because she was divorced and remarried, she was sinning by taking communion.

The caller tells her that she is not sinning.

The wife tells her husband of the news. The husband posts the news on Facebook. The "press" reads the man's Facebook page. The story reaches the Italian publication La Stampa. The story is re-reported by the British publication the Telegraph and then out to all the world. 

The story is coincidentally timed with a synod that will soon be discussing the issue of divorced and remarried Catholics. 

So at the root of this, we have nothing more than a posting on a Facebook page by a guy in Argentina.

(The above details recorded here.)

However, HERE'S THE REAL PROBLEM. When the Vatican was approached about the story by the Telegraph, the Vatican spokesman said: "We would neither confirm nor deny that - this was a private telephone call made by the Holy Father and we would not divulge the details." 

And as Fr. Z says in his blog: "Sheesh! ….at least uphold Catholic teaching."

Of course this mad confusion will be blamed on the press. But the press attempted to get the story straight. And the Vatican essentially told them it was none of their business. 

But now let's look at the variables. Here is where the pope would be correct in his advice:
1. The woman's first husband is dead.
2. The woman's first husband was not a baptized Christian.
3. The woman's second husband was not a baptized Christian at the time they were married.
4. None of the above but the woman and her current husband are "living as brother and sister." 
5. There are a multitude of other factors including the complex problems with obtaining an annulment which might necessitate a particular pastoral solution.

However, the larger problem - as this is just one of several now that have cropped up since Francis is in the driver's seat - is captured in an interview with Cardinal Meisner who said:
“At my last meeting with Pope Francis, I had the opportunity to talk very open to him about a lot of things. And I told him that some questions remain unanswered in his style of spreading the gospel through interviews and short speeches, questions which need some extended explanation for people who are not so involved. The pope looked at me “with big eyes” and asked me to give an example. And my response was : During the flight back from Rio you were asked about people who divorced and remarried. And the pope responded frankly: People who are divorced can receive communion, people who are remarried can’t. In the orthodox church you can marry twice. And then he talked about mercy, which, according to my view, is seen in this country only as a surrogate for all human faults. And the pope responded quite bluntly that he’s a son of the church, and he doesn’t proclaim anything else than the teachings of the church. And mercy has to be identical with truth – if not, she doesn’t deserve that name. Furthermore, when there are open theological questions, it’s up to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to give detailed responses“.
To this, Fr. Z responds: "From this we can perhaps glean that Pope Francis may not be entirely aware of the havoc (¿lío?) that some of his home-spun, off-the-cuff comments in the mainstream media have caused."
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...