Wednesday, May 24, 2023


"We believe that Bishop Dave has received his recompense for his life and his ministry...We know that he is in heaven. Let us ask for his intercession..." 

- Archbishop Jose H. Gomez, at a novena for the recently murdered Bishop David O'Connell, quoted in Angelus, the official publication for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Mar. 10, 2023, Vol. 8 No. 5 (and also here on CNA). 

I didn't know that an individual bishop could canonize another one, all by himself. 

He can't of course. 

It appears that Archbishop Gomez has fallen victim to the mostly post-Vatican II penchant to place loved ones in heaven...and immediately. 

While that may make us feel better - which is what Archbishop Gomez may have been trying to do - it is probably the most uncharitable thing one (a Catholic) can do. 

As Catholics we believe the following:

Those who die in God's grace and friendship and are perfectly purified live for ever with Christ. They are like God for ever, for they "see him as he is," face to face. - Catechism of the Catholic Church, Par. 1023

The key words are "perfectly purified," and only God can know that. 

In fact the command to "judge not" (Mt. 7:1) goes both ways. 

While we "use" the command to "judge not" mostly (and often wrongly) [1] to admonish others not to judge the sinfulness of others, we are also not to use it to judge the rightfulness of others - such as placing the dearly departed in heaven because he or she was a really good person, or we because we really liked him or her, or because we just really want to feel better. 

Other than canonized saints - which is an act of authority to "bind and loose" possessed only and ultimately by the Successor of Peter - no one can say what Archbishop Gomez said...about anybody. 

In fact, given what we Catholics believe about the Four Last Things (Death, Judgment, Heaven, and Hell), by believing or "placing" a departed soul in heaven, we may be uncharitably condemning that soul to a much longer term in Purgatory. [2]

Curiously, the Angelus article titled "Mourning a peacemaker," featured a picture of a crowd gathered in the parking lot of a local church on the second night of a novena organized by members of the Knights of Columbus "to pray for the repose of O'Connell's soul..." 

The picture includes Archbishop Gomez, rosary in hand. 

There is no point in praying for the repose of O'Connell's soul if, as Archbishop Gomez declares, O'Connell is already in heaven and we are to pray to him for his intercession. 

Just more confusion in the name of "charity." 

What a shame. 


[1] While we can, and must, judge acts as to their sinfulness or rightfulness, we are not to judge "hearts" as "the Lord looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7 ) 

[2] See: "Greater than Any Pain of this Life: The Hard Truth About Purgatory" at

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