Monday, July 15, 2013

Re: The Canonizations

Because I keep getting asked, I'll say a bit on the recent announcement that Blesseds John XXIII and John Paul II are to be canonized.

I've discussed John Paul II's pontificate in some detail here. I stand by the thoughts expressed in that post. While I understand the reservations and concerns of many about this situation, I just can't get past the feeling that there's just way more important stuff out there. Ultimately, the more scandalous acts of his reign are unknown to the bulk of the Catholic faithful. It's sort of like the massive mortifications of St. Francis. Nobody knows about these things. Nobody cares. If they did know, they'd probably be scandalized and question his sanity (not to mention his sainthood). I've seen regular Mass-goers make such comments about Padre Pio after learning more about him. I may be way off-base, but since nobody else cares, including Pope Francis, I can't bring myself to care either. If the Holy Father feels this is right, who am I to argue?

As a general rule, I don't like the current rush to canonize what seems like everyone (unless you're Pius XII, I guess). Maybe that's why I can't muster up more than a historical interest in this announcement. Even if we limit the list to popes, it seems odd to have open causes for canonization for every dead pope for the last several decades. Blessed John XXIII didn't even require a second miracle. Paul VI? JPI? Are they more worthy of such an honor than the stalwart figure of Pius XI? Or Benedict XV, who fought so long and hard for peace and whose neglected advice perhaps could have averted WWII? Or Leo XIII, perhaps the greatest teacher to have borne the Petrine Ministry over the last four centuries? Or Pius VII, oppressed by Napoleon yet offered him forgiveness and comfort in the Emperor's final days? As far as I know, there aren't any open causes for these guys.

Maybe it's the modern ignorance and disdain for history that makes us demand "Subito!" in these matters. I don't get it, but it seems like part of the Church's job to remind people of those kinds of things. I certainly don't see the harm in waiting.

My opinions matter none in these things, and I'm left reminding those so worried about this of that ancient and venerable rule: The first see is judged by no one.


Mark of the Vineyard said...

I'm a bit disturbed by quick canonizations, but I think I'd be disturbed by how "canonizations" were gone about in the first millenium.
Also, St. Anthony of Padua was canonized in about a year after his death, no?

Throwback said...

True. I think Peter the Martyr was less than a year for canonization too. Being a martyr probably helps though.