Blessed John Paul II (Veeery Sooooon!)

Which is kind of a translation of “beato subito”. This is just in from Vatican Radio:

Vatican announces beatification of Servant of God John Paul II

On Friday the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints published the decree for the beatification of the late great Servant of God John Paul II. Below we publish the full text of the decree

Click the link to go to the decree! (HT to Rocco Palmo)

Interesting that the rites will be performed on 1st of May – for a whole number of reasons.

May is the month of Mary, to whom Ven. JPII was particularly devoted.
It is International Workers Day – specially celebrated by the Socialists whom JPII helped overcome.
Christianised, this is also the feast of St Joseph the Worker.
It is also a Spring festival, and JPII often spoke of his confident hope in the future of the Church as a “springtime”.

Now, time for the first SCE Poll! Which icon do you like the best?

About Schütz

I am Catholic, married to Cathy, father of Maddy & Mia. Since 2002, I have been the Executive Officer of the Ecumenical & Interfaith Commission of the Archdiocese of Melbourne. I was once a Lutheran pastor, but a "year of grace" and soul-searching led me into the Catholic Church. It was a bumpy ride, but with the support of my (still Lutheran) wife, I was finally confirmed on June 16, 2003.
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26 Responses to Blessed John Paul II (Veeery Sooooon!)

  1. Tony says:

    I wonder how many times in history has the incumbent Pope presided over the beatification of his predecessor? I wonder how many individuals (not counting martyrs) have been beatified bearly a decade after their death?

    (The beatification of Mary MacKillop, for example, took 70 years and even that, by church historical standards, was relatively quick I think. )

    It seems to me that the church’s traditional way of making saints had a lot going for it; it was slow, it was rigorous and it most often happened long after the clamour of contemporanious supporters (or detractors) died down.

    • Gareth says:

      For once I actually agree with you Tony! (keeping in mind that information can travel qucikly in this day and age and speed up any administrative process).

      The traditional process of canonisation left little open for criticism from detractors and was based on dare I say rigorous science-based evidence (e.g. a ‘miracle’ had to be proven beyond reasonable doubt).

      The new fast-tracked process leaves it open to detratactors that some canonisations are based on ‘political’ rather than spiritual reasons. This is particularly concerning in the case of a Pope.

      And for me personally, when there are too many people being raised to the altars, it takes that certain uniqueness away from that ‘special’ saint. A classic example is at the canonisation of St Mary of the Cross, I thought the Church could have recoginsed by himself Brother Andre but the poor guy had to share the limelight with six other people.

      • Schütz says:

        When I was a kid, the Lutheran Church was increasing the regularity of their communion services from four times a year to once a month or even once a fortnight (every Sunday has caught on now in some places, but by no means the majority of LCA parishes). There were Lutherans at the time (including my parents) who complained that having Holy Communion more often made it “less special”. The logic was, that if we do it rarely, it will be spiritually more significant.

        Your argument about “too many saints”, Gareth, seems to be along this line. There are and will be just as many saints as God wills – and last I checked, he wanted us all to be saints.

        • Gareth says:

          David: When I was a kid, the Lutheran Church was increasing the regularity of their communion services from four times a year to once a month or even once a fortnight (every Sunday has caught on now in some places, but by no means the majority of LCA parishes). There were Lutherans at the time (including my parents) who complained that having Holy Communion more often made it “less special”. The logic was, that if we do it rarely, it will be spiritually more significant.

          Gareth: Getting off the topic, but this argument was also around when St Pius X began promoting daily Mass/Eucharist. The logic went that the Holy Pope was demeaning the Eucharist (and indeed I have talked to some Eastern Orthodox priests who argue against daily Mass for this reason) by promoting its daily reciplocation amongst the faithful. The arguement went that the faithful may profound the ‘holy of holies’ by accessing it on a daily basis (and there is some sincerity behind this arguement)

          Lucky for us and the Church, I guess Pius X’s arguments found favor.

          Look on the issue of beatications, for some of the reasons Tony outlined, I think it could do the Church no harm (like most things) to look into a return of some of the 141 canons of Code of Canon Law of 1917 that had regulated both the processes of beatifications and canonisations since the sixteenth century.

          We all know that several stages of the serious process of canonisations were deleted so that John Paul II for better or for worse could institute the practice of granting a beatification or canonisation of a person from each country or region that he visits, or simply when he wants to please some movement or country.

          In my humble opinion, this caused beatifications to lose something in the way of gravity and sacrality, and taken on the aspect of a Pope bestowing favors whenever and wherever he chooses.

          Indeed, it would broaden my knowledge of saints if the Church raised to the altars two or three Maria Goretti’s each year as opposed to granting 50 or so Saints that I forget about at the drop of the hat.

          To prove my point, I can’t even remember anything about the five other saints that were canonised with St Mary and Blessed Andre, besides they from Italy or Poland??

  2. Dan says:

    The 1st of May is also Divine Mercy Sunday! We can see also the obvious symbolism and importance in that, to our Great Pope!

  3. PM says:

    Be careful about ‘the Socialists whom JPII helped overcome’. He was, despite that, a staunch supporter of trade unionism and by no means the uncritical booster of the cult of the market that George Weigel makes him out to be.

  4. Dan says:

    May 1st or labor day, what was once a major communist holiday. LOL Oh, the Irony!

  5. Schütz says:

    Tony, St Francis was canonised within two years of his death. When he died, he was fairly universally regarded as a saint. Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul are unusual cases but not unknown in the history of the church.

    • Tony says:

      Yes, they are unusual cases and, in church history terms, so close together.

      Why are they unusual? Because time has always been an important ingredient in the process of recognizing saints. Is there any reason to believe that time is less important ingredient now?

      It is easy to find passionate supporters (and detractors) of individuals who are well known in their own time. But it’s not that easy to be objective. Again, the church has known this and acted accordingly and left the decision to a more dispassionate generation.

      The clear implication is that acting too soon is much more risky and that future generations may feel compelled to paper over the cracks rather than admit the church acted too hastily.

      What is the risk of not acting too hastily? None, I think.

  6. LMA says:

    Praise the Lord! I think this is just wonderful and I can just imagine the joy of being in Rome for the celebration. I think most would agree that this holy man whose whole life was an example of love of God and love of neighbour and one of faithful service is in heaven and I’m sure the beatification process was quickened because there were so many living witnesses to attest to his life of holiness. I think I like the first icon best David. God bless.

  7. Schütz says:

    again, I cite the case of St Francis. was the church too hasty then?

    • Tony says:

      If ‘hastiness’ is the argument, you’ve come up with one case to support it, David. The tradition of the church is, overwhelmingly, to use time as part of the process.

      By that tradition this is hasty, I’m not sure how you can come to any other conclusion. I’m also not sure how the conclusion that, traditionally, the church has regarded taking considerable time as a factor in reducing the risk of getting it wrong.

      When you add this to the fact that the whole canonization process was ‘streamlined’ by PJPII himself, the idea of ‘risk’ becomes even more compelling.

      But, you make the point again so I have to ask, do you think PJPII is comparable to St Francis?

    • Salvatore says:

      The difference is that St Francis lived a comparatively short life, and didn’t govern the Church for nearly thirty tumultuous and controversial years. There was simply less investigation to be done. Like Tony, I just think this is too soon.

      I think the choice of Low Sunday for the beatification is interesting; allowing the private devotion of a (Polish!) nun to trump the Octave Day of Easter is redolent of Wojty?a’s contempt for the Liturgy on so many levels.

      • Schütz says:

        St Francis almost ended up “Arch-heritic Francis” – not his fault, but rather the fault of the times in which he lived. He just looked too much like the other (heretical) poverty movements that were going around at the time. During his lifetime, and certainly immediately after it, there was a great deal of controversy over his stipulation of poverty. Not everyone in the Church (especially the hierarchy) at the time thought he was a saint. But the people did. So he was canonised virtually immediately.

    • Tony says:

      PS: PJPII himself was a great ‘saint maker’ and if you look at the list of saints who were recognised in his potificate there are, again by traditional church standards, examples of great haste. Two of the hastiest were Josemaría Escrivá, who died in 1975, and Pio of Pietrelcina, who died in 1968. Both were canonised in 2002, near enough to 3 decades after their deaths.

      Typically though, there are many decades (if not centuries) that separate the death of a candidate and his (or her) canonisation.

      • Gareth says:

        Whatever happend to Pius XII – if JPII can make it this far, surely Papa Pacelli also deserves a gong?

        • Schütz says:

          Pius XII was elevated to the status of Venerable (that is, the decree of heroic virtue was issued) at the same time as John Paul II. What we are waiting on now is a miracle attested to the intercession of Pius XII. IOW, it is in God’s hands. If you want to hurry things along a little bit, start praying for divine favours by his intercession.

      • Schütz says:

        Again, both Josemaria Escriva and Padre Pio had significant popular cults. I thought you thought this democratic way was the way these things should be done, Tony?

        • Gareth says:

          Josemaria Escriva

          I have to be careful when responding to this as I have a great respect for and still recieve spiritual direction from some Australian Opus Dei priests as a non-member, but I think putting it diplomatically the mere mention of St Josemaria’s name proves the point that the modern day process surrounding canonisations can cause contovesy, especially amongst detrators within and outside the Church.

        • Tony says:

          I think you’re being flippant, David.

          You may find it ironic that I’m defending ‘the mind of the church’ as expressed in its overwhelming preference to ‘make haste slowly’ when it comes to saints, but that doesn’t really constitute an argument.

          I think this string is but a taste of what people are expressing all over the Catholic world. It is unfortunate that we can’t characterise that concern with grab lines like ‘liberal dissenter’ or ‘conservative zealot’ or whatever. The concerns are being expressed by a wide range of people.

          I think those concerns need to be listened to — and, perhaps just as importantly, shown that they are listened to — as well as the cries of ‘santo subito’.

  8. Stephen K says:

    I once cherished locket-encased “relics” of Ste Therese and St John Baptist de la Salle. If I’m candid about the source of such cherishing, I think that it was the religiously Catholic equivalent of having an autographed anything of one’s favourite movie star: that is, a kind of yearning for intimacy and/or identity with the object of a species of religious desire. It was – and I suggest is often or even mostly the case – a sub-species of a religious “being-in-love”, particularly in the case of Ste Therese. I think there is a lot of “in-loveness” in traditionalist Catholicism. (I don’t say this from the point of a view of an outsider, either; my observations and understanding are rooted in a sympathetic experience and immersion in it.) This “in-loveness”, to be sure, is not an exclusively traditionalist thing, but it’s very typical of it. It’s religious, not secular, but I think it is partly (not wholly) made of the same psychic stuff as erotic desire. (Which of course is also a good and mysterious thing). But it’s useful to realise that it inhabits the realm where the senses and spirit comingle.
    All this was by way of necessary prelude to my post offering which is that we can rightly recognise the tendency to “claim” and proclaim saints as both symptoms of rah-rah-ing, politically-tinged promotioning, and highly personal head/heart spacing in our religious dimension. That being the case (and I say that it is), I cannot share the jubilee over John Paul II’s beatification. It is, to my thinking, less a reflective honour of a sincere man – that he undoubtedly was, than simply one more example of an institution marketing itself – in the market of hearts and minds yearning for someone to be in love with.

    I don’t want to be read as saying that this ‘being-in-loveness’ that characterises a lot of religious sentiment and consciousness is intrinsically a bad thing – I don’t say this: being in love and attachment to idols and love-objects is a very human thing. But I do say that it and saint-attachment can potentially keep people at the “bread-and-circuses” level of the spiritual journey.

    • Tony says:

      It is, to my thinking, less a reflective honour of a sincere man – that he undoubtedly was, than simply one more example of an institution marketing itself – in the market of hearts and minds yearning for someone to be in love with.

      The institution marketing itself is but one of the many speculations — some far less charitable (from both sides of the church-political fence!) — that are being circulated. I think that’s quite understandable in such a well-known figure and such a long-serving leader. This makes time — away from the clamour (or ‘cl-amore’ Stephen?) of his contemoraries — more important.

    • Schütz says:

      I think there is a lot of “in-loveness” in traditionalist Catholicism.

      Without a doubt. I personally fell “in love” with the Catholic Church long before I joined her. Lovers overlook all sorts of faults in the beloved, and “explain their actions in the kindest way” (as Martin Luther once said of the 8th commandment). That early infatuation is settling down a bit, but the love is still strong.

      Sure we are “in love” with our saints. The whole cult of the saints is about a personal relationship with departed heroes of the faith. I admit that. There’s nothing scientific about it. It’s the stuff of love poetry. Not everyone likes the same poems.

  9. Christine says:

    I like the first icon best. Having said that, I find myself agreeing with Salvatore on this:

    I think the choice of Low Sunday for the beatification is interesting; allowing the private devotion of a (Polish!) nun to trump the Octave Day of Easter is redolent of Wojty?a’s contempt for the Liturgy on so many levels.

    It seems to me that this Pope overlooked too many liturgical abberations that Benedict is now trying to address.

  10. Stephen K says:

    I think both pictures fail and I think both are ugly. The second appears to resemble Byzantine style but the first is just a poorly drawn “Pelligrini” card. I also have a problem with calling any representation of anyone other than Jesus an “ikon”.

    Mind you, I think religious feeling and one’s asethetic sense, are ultimately highly subjective things, not in any way things to insist others have in like mode or measure, so my opinion is worth no more nor less than anyone else’s.

    My only caution would be to remind people not to be seduced by pastiche in the cause of ‘truth’ or ‘orthodoxy’ or ‘tradition’.

    • Schütz says:

      I also have a problem with calling any representation of anyone other than Jesus an “ikon”.

      That’s an odd idea. Jesus is himself an “ikon” of the Father, but the word “ikon” can refer to any image at all. Technically, of course, in ecclesiastical speak, it refers to a particular kind of image which is guarded by a fairly strict tradition. It isn’t supposed to be a photographic representation, but a representation of the saint in heaven. And so it shouldn’t really show obvious signs of old age (like the second one). It is a rather “static” image, because it is supposed to represent the unchanging nature of eternity.

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