Saturday, April 30, 2011

Beatification Questions John Paul II

Now, before I begin this article let me just say that I have not personally taken a stand one way or the other on this topic other than I am concerned about the rushing of the process.  It is my goal in this article to present both sides of this matter - both pro and con - so that all issues are on the table for discussion and consideration.

On the Pro side:
1) He was the pope who streamlined the process of canonization.
Why should not the pope who streamlined the process benefit from it?
2) He was well loved by millions of Catholics.
It is unquestionable that Pope John Paul II was loved throughout the world by literally millions of Catholics.
3) One of the most popular and traveled popes of all time, reaching out to the world.
Pope John Paul II, who led the Catholic Church for more than a quarter century, also did more traveling throughout the world to reach out to Catholics, and non-Catholics alike, than any other pope in history.
4) A miracle has been attributed to Pope John Paul II and has been confirmed by the Church.
It is necessary that a miracle be confirmed by the Church for beatification to move forward.  A second miracle is needed for canonization.  Confirmation of the first miracle is reported here:
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/miracle-confirmed-john-paul-ii-to-be-beatified/story-e6frg6so-1225988107487
http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2011-01-14-pope-john-paul-ii-beatification_N.htm
http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2011-01-14-pope-john-paul-ii-beatification_N.htm
 5) The Church has the authority to beatify and eventually canonize whomever they please.
See Matthew 16:18-19 and Matthew 18:18.  No time restrictions are applied there.
6) Pope John Paul II was integral to the fall of Communism in the U.S.S.R.

7) Pope John Paul II demonstrated saintly forgiveness in the face of his attempted assassin.

8) It is not without precedence for a papal successor to raise his predecessor for beatification and sainthood.
(Though the last time this happened was over 10 centuries ago).


On the Con side:
1) The process is moving too fast.
For the very reason that Pope John Paul II initiated this expedited process, extra care should be taken to avoid any reason to question the process - especially for his own beatification/canonization.
Addendum:  This is valid argumentation - and we must keep in mind, he has not been canonized yet.

2) Did Pope John Paul II indeed kiss the Koran?
I've heard speculation that this was not a Koran, but an Arabic Catholic missal - I've had no confirmation of this.
Addendum:  This speculation is valid - and the size of the book is the size of an altar missal, so it could indeed be just that.

3) Not only inviting non-Christians to Assisi, but allowing for idols to other gods and/or non-gods to be placed upon Christian altars there.
Statue of Buddha (close up)
Altar in Assisi with statue of Buddha on it and Buddhists praying before it.


Addendum:  The fact is, this was NOT the main altar at the Church of St. Francis of Assisi, and not even the same building.  This was a side-building not typically used for any Catholic worship.

4) It is asserted that Pope John Paul II taught universalism (a heresy) in at least the following documents:
John Paul II, Redemptor Hominis (# 13), March 4, 1979:
“We are dealing with each man, for each one is included in the mystery of the Redemption and with each one Christ has united Himself forever through this mystery.”

John Paul II, Redemptoris Missio (# 4), Dec. 7, 1990:
“The Redemption event brings salvation to all, ‘for each one is included in the mystery of the Redemption and with each one Christ has united himself forever through this mystery.’”

John Paul II, Centesimus Annus (# 53) May 1, 1991:
“We are not dealing here with man in the ‘abstract,’ but with the real, ‘concrete,’ ‘historical’ man. We are dealing with each individual, since each one is included in the mystery of the Redemption and through this mystery Christ has united himself with each one forever.”
John Paul II, Homily, June 6, 1985:
"The Eucharist is the sacrament of the convenant of the Body and Blood of Christ, of the convenant which is eternal.  This is the covenant which embraces all.  This Blood reaches all and saves all."
Published in: L' Osservatore Romano, July 1, 1985, p. 3
Are these teachings in universalism?  Would, or should, such teachings derail the canonization process?
Addendum:  cathmom5 is working on a response to this section, and I appreciate the time she's put into it thus far, especially in light of her other commitments at this time.  Her response will be an article/response and will be linked here.

Those of you who have answers to these - please share!  If you have more and/or better reasons on the "pro" side, please share!  

Thank you in advance,
Scott<<<

32 comments:

  1. Another fairly well balanced article can be seen on the Catholic News Service site.

    Thoughts, anyone else?

    In JMJ,
    Scott<<<

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  2. Advocatus Diaboli
    ("Advocate of the Devil" or "Devil's Advocate").

    A popular title given to one of the most important officers of the Sacred Congregation of Rites, established in 1587, by Sixtus V, to deal juridically with processes of beatification and canonization. His official title is Promoter of the Faith (Promotor Fidei). His duty requires him to prepare in writing all possible arguments, even at times seemingly slight, against the raising of any one to the honours of the altar. The interest and honour of the Church are concerned in preventing any one from receiving those honours whose death is not juridically proved to have been "precious in the sight of God" (see BEATIFICATION and CANONIZATION). Prospero Lamertini, afterwards Pope Benedict XIV (1740-58), was the Promoter of the Faith for twenty years, and had every opportunity to study the workings of the Church in this most important function; he was, therefore, peculiarly qualified to compose his monumental work "On the Beatification and Canonization of Saints," which contains the complete vindication of the rights of the Church in this matter, and sets forth historically its extreme care of the use of this right. No important act in the process of beatification or canonization is valid unless performed in the presence of the Promoter of the Faith formally recognized. His duty is to protest against the omission of the forms laid down, and to insist upon the consideration of any objection. The first formal mention of such an officer is found in the canonization of St. Lawrence Justinian under Leo X (1513-21). Urban VIII, in 1631, made his presence necessary, at least by deputy, for the validity of any act connected with the process of beatification or canonization.

    It is said, in many sources, that this has been done away with. Some say Pope John Paul II did away with it in 1983, others say Pope Benedict XVI did so at a later date.

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  3. continued...

    OK, more questions:

    It is said that Pope John Paul II did away with this office in the 1983 revision of the Code of Canon Law:
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8383719/...d_news-europe/
    http://www.talkceltic.net/forum/showthread.php?t=36794
    http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2011...sainthood.html
    http://www.christianorder.com/editorials.html

    Is it true the Promotor Fidei (Promoter of the Faith aka: Devil's Advocate) is no longer part of the canonization process? If not, who is the Promotor Fidei in the case of Pope John Paul II?

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  4. On Catholic Answers Forums "pnewton" responds to the "Devil's Advocate" question:
    In an answer to the question about the promotor fidei, I think it is good to remember that for the first half of Church history, saints were canonized by popular acclaim, as occurred at the funeral of the late pontiff. Then it was another five centuries (1587) before the office of promotor fidei was established and took its current form in 1708 . Canonization was a slow process, but then so was travel, communication and information. It is expected that things would procede fast now because the can procede faster. The idea that the canonization process is so traditional that it should not be change does not hold water historically. There simply is no right or wrong way. It is a matter of judgement, in this case, of the Holy Father. The Catholic Church is not a democracy and this is a discretionary decision of the current pontiff. As to why John Paul II is given such a quick consideration, I think you have to credit that to the hundreds of millions who love him and called him Papa for so long. How many of the other saint candidates have such a huge following?

    http://www.catholic.org/encyclopedia/view.php?id=9665
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devil's_advocate

    __________________

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  5. I don't like the church to appear to do anything in haste; but this process strikes me as hasty.

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  6. I respectfully disagree that the Church is being hasty. As CathApol has stated many times, the Church has the authority to do such things in her Holy Spirit guided judgement. I have studied the saint process in the past. It is thorough and it is extremely just and fair.

    Blessed John Paul's cause may seem hasty to some, but I posit that the Church is not and cannot be guided by perception. We don't know what went on behind closed doors. And much of the perception of the 'cons' column are not all correct. Much of it is erroneous (in the case of JP's words) or unproven (as in the case of the Koran or Arabic Missal). Let's look to his work for the youth of the world, the wisdom of his written works, and his work to strengthen the Church.

    Don't get me wrong. He was a man and made mistakes like every man did. I for one believe his good works far outweigh any mistakes he may have made, or is perceived to have made. I think the Church, in her Holy Spirit-guided wisdom feels the same way.

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  7. cathmom5 said: I respectfully disagree that the Church is being hasty.

    Well, it is hastier than all recent beatifications (beating out Mother Theresa by 2 weeks) - but not as fast as some in our ancient past. Certain safeguards were put in place over time, some of those have been removed (some by Bl. Pope John Paul II himself!).

    cathmom5 continues: As CathApol has stated many times, the Church has the authority to do such things in her Holy Spirit guided judgement.

    Yes. This is absolutely true, or else Matthew 16:18-19 and Matthew 18:18 have nothing more than a Protestant meaning.

    cathmom5 continues: I have studied the saint process in the past. It is thorough and it is extremely just and fair.

    Well, things have changed a bit, but I would not question the justness or fairness... In the end (canonization) it is a matter of infallibility, and therefore cannot be errant.

    (continued...)

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  8. (continuing...)
    cathmom5 said: Blessed John Paul's cause may seem hasty to some, but I posit that the Church is not and cannot be guided by perception. We don't know what went on behind closed doors.

    Well, I think beatification (which is not under the umbrella of infallibility) can be and is influenced by perception and popularity.

    cathmom5 said: And much of the perception of the 'cons' column are not all correct. Much of it is erroneous (in the case of JP's words)

    Did you have some insight to share on the erroneousness of (the interpretation, I assume) of JPII's words? That's why I posted them... others have pointed out these words (I just copied and pasted) and I would like to have some good answers for them.

    cathmom5 said: ...or unproven (as in the case of the Koran or Arabic Missal).

    Unproven, yes - but that picture appears to be quite incriminating. Again, I would like to have a "good answer" to that picture and not just speculation from Catholics.

    cathmom5 said: Let's look to his work for the youth of the world, the wisdom of his written works, and his work to strengthen the Church.

    I do not challenge that he's done a lot of good - however, not ALL I've seen at the "World Youth Days" would I support, not to mention some of the liturgical changes he approved - which I believe actually weakened the Church.

    cathmom5 said: Don't get me wrong. He was a man and made mistakes like every man did. I for one believe his good works far outweigh any mistakes he may have made, or is perceived to have made. I think the Church, in her Holy Spirit-guided wisdom feels the same way.

    I'm actually not trying to weigh his good against his bad... I want answers to those allegedly "bad" things because maybe they're not "bad" to begin with.

    In JMJ,
    Scott<<<

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  9. Most of the articles on the Pope kissing the Qur'an point out that other Muslims are there with him and they gave him a Qur'an as a gift; and it would be strange to kiss an Arabic book on the mass. He was doing out it of respect for the Muslims, but it gives the appearance of worship and adoration and respect for the whole book, which denies the Crucifixion and the Deity and Sonship of Christ. He obviously went overboard on the "being loving and friendly" side; and compromised on the side of "truth and doctrine". Very bad.

    Many Muslims I know use that to say, "see, the Pope agrees that Islam and the Qur'an are good and from God."

    Also, the Buddha statue and pagan prayers at Assisi - this was also a really bad example and testimony.

    He could have met with them and had some kind of discussion/ debate on what true peace is; instead it looks like some liberal pagan modern kind of "all religions are the same, just different paths to the same God" etc.

    The RCC needs to give up the whole unbiblical thing of calling some people who have died saints anyway.

    All true beleivers are saints - Eph. 1:1; Phil. 1:1; Col. 1:1, I Cor. 1:1-2; 6:9-12; Heb. 10:10; 10:14

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  10. And all called 'saints' by the Church were/are true believers.

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  11. Scott,
    This would be a good place to *start for anyone interested in the process, its history, and how it changed.

    "Making Saints: How the Catholic Church Determines Who Becomes a Saint, Who Doesn't, and Why" by Kenneth L. Woodward
    http://www.amazon.com/Making-Saints-Catholic-Determines-Becomes/dp/0684815303

    *I say start because it was written in 1996 and some things may have changed. I am sure it is not a comprehensive book, just a place to start

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  12. My apologies. I posted comments inadvertently under another's email address. I have corrected the comment boxes.

    +JMJ+

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  13. @cathmom5: I understand how it changed and ultimately it's part of the Pope's charism of infallibility - so fundamentally speaking, it's his call.

    Those who were declared Saints by the populous (in the Early Church) are not considered as under the charism of infallibility.

    In JMJ,
    Scott<<<

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  14. @kkollwitz: I too am uncomfortable with the speed in which Bl. JPII is beginning the process. IF it comes down to the process being halted, those who have been pushing for it so hard will, undoubtedly, be upset and have some pride to overcome. IF he is so declared by this or a future pope, then it is so - there's no more room for debate for once it has been infallibly declared there must be no more discussion questioning the matter as that would be scandalous and a sin.

    In JMJ,
    Scott<<<

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  15. @Ken: You said: Most of the articles on the Pope kissing the Qur'an point out that other Muslims are there with him and they gave him a Qur'an as a gift;

    I reassert, I have not had the statement you have made confirmed - one way or the other. Speculation by numerous (and/or a nebulous "most") articles does not make it so. Perhaps YOU believe it is a Qu'ran - but again, that does not make it fact.

    You continue: and it would be strange to kiss an Arabic book on the mass.

    No, it is not strange to pay homage to holy books... The priest kisses the Scriptures at every Mass - and the Missal includes Scripture.

    As for the statues - I am also told it was a side building, not in the main church - where that happened. I still disagree with it happening AT ALL on Catholic property, but it may not be as scandalous as some make it out to be.

    As for the practice of declaring saints - there's nothing "unbiblical" about it. All who are declared saints were indeed faithful followers of Christ. We are merely assured of their place in heaven. That does not mean others are not there, but the Church has recognized these individuals as holy persons who have something each of us can emulate in our daily walk with the Lord. For example, I have no doubts my daughter is in heaven and can pray for me. She died after doing a good confession, receiving Eucharist and Extreme Unction. She had no opportunity to sin again and died very peacefully in the arms of her mother and me. Has she OFFICIALLY been declared a Saint? No, but she most definitely IS one from my perspective. God COULD say otherwise, but I would be extremely surprised and shocked to find that to be the case.

    In JMJ,
    Scott<<<

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  16. I reassert, I have not had the statement you have made confirmed - one way or the other. Speculation by numerous (and/or a nebulous "most") articles does not make it so. Perhaps YOU believe it is a Qu'ran - but again, that does not make it fact.

    Why do you think, after all this time and scandal, that the Vatican does not release an official statement clearing it all up and telling everyone about that meeting and photo?

    Why such negligence?

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  17. Scott,
    I am sincerely sorry about the loss of your daughter and know that must be very difficult.

    Of course, we can still study the lives of great Christians who have passed away - we can read accounts of their lives and their books/writings. We can imitate the faith and good deeds of those like Polycarp and Athanasius and Augustine, etc. without having to do the RC "canonization to sainthood" thing.

    to call those special ones "saints" implies that other Christians are not, and that is what is unbiblical about it - it adds the unbiblical things like Purgatory, the treasury of merit, merit deposited to others through prayers to saints, satis passio, etc.


    Also, we don't need statues and icons and worshiping them and kissing these objects - it is unbiblical and strange. the whole Mary thing caused Muslims to misunderstand the Trinity all through the last 1400 years1 (Qur'an 5:116; 5:73; 6:101)

    If a person is a Christian, they go straight to heaven - Heb. 9:27; 2 Corinthians 5:1-11; I John 3:1-3. That is what makes the RCC "sainthood thing" unbiblical.

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  18. Ken askes: Why do you think, after all this time and scandal, that the Vatican does not release an official statement clearing it all up and telling everyone about that meeting and photo?

    Why such negligence?


    I do not speak for the Vatican. As I said, the explanation *I* have heard is just as valid as those who criticize Bl. JPII over this. It could be an Arabic Missal (which is not a book ON the Mass, but a book which IS the Mass and based on the size it would be an altar missal - which priests kiss at every Mass).

    The man in the picture with him I have heard explained to be a Catholic priest or decon, and that would be the form of dress in Arab lands.

    This does not have to be as sinister as you would like it to be.

    My whole reason for asking about it was to see if someone has received a more official word on this than I have. If you have something more official and/or confirming - please share - otherwise please do not contribute to scandalous speculation for such is sinful, even if you're doing it against those whom you disagree with.

    In JMJ,
    Scott<<<

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  19. Ken said: If a person is a Christian, they go straight to heaven - Heb. 9:27; 2 Corinthians 5:1-11; I John 3:1-3. That is what makes the RCC "sainthood thing" unbiblical.

    Not if they have a "sin which is unto death." There's a difference between venial and mortal sin. St. John makes this difference quite clear in 1 John 5:15-17.

    There is nothing "unbiblical" about the Church declaring some to be Saints. This is NOT a declaration that others are not saints! Yes, ALL who persevere in the TRUE FAITH and die without stain of sin upon them, yes - they will go straight to heaven. This is quite scriptural.

    In JMJ,
    Scott<<<

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  20. As far as the Arabic Missal or Qur’an thing; you make a good point – the size of the book and the thin-ness of it makes it possible that that is what is was. I did not know that the RC priest kisses that book at every mass. I was not trying to be sinister; but just say that it would seem easy for the Vatican to clear it all up by an official statement. I mean the “Rad Trads” (Traditionists who think the recent Popes and Vatican 2 and not requiring the old Latin mass are betrayals of the RCC tradition.) could be answered at least on that issue.

    all sin leads to death. all sins are mortal sins.
    Romans 6:23

    James 1:13-14 – when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.

    True believers, when they sin, will repent and confess sooner or later.

    so I John 5:15-17 has to mean "commiting a sin that does not lead to physical death"
    Like I Corinthians 11 – those that were judged and God killed.
    I Cor. 5 – Paul says he delivered him over for the destruction of his flesh that his spirit may be saved in the day of Christ Jesus.
    (God's judgment in killing the person - as in His judgment on Saul in I Samuel. It is not clear to me whether or not Saul was a true believer.
    Those are good examples of what John means, “a sin unto death”.

    Christ saves completely. Hebrews 10:10-14

    the believer who sins, confesses and repents constantly; walking in the light.

    there is no venial and mortal sin distinction in Scripture. (in the RCC sense) That was a later historical development was wrong and unbiblical.

    some sins are worse in their consequence and affects, of course. Real murder is worse than hatred and anger, but hatred and anger are the roots of murder, and make us guilty, but the consequences are not as bad.

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  21. Ken said: As far as the Arabic Missal or Qur’an thing; you make a good point – the size of the book and the thin-ness of it makes it possible that that is what is was. I did not know that the RC priest kisses that book at every mass. I was not trying to be sinister; but just say that it would seem easy for the Vatican to clear it all up by an official statement. I mean the “Rad Trads” (Traditionists who think the recent Popes and Vatican 2 and not requiring the old Latin mass are betrayals of the RCC tradition.) could be answered at least on that issue.

    Well, we are in agreement here. I too wish the Vatican would just clear things up; why they haven't, well, it's not my place to speculate on why they haven't and to do so without proof/evidence would be scandalous of me - so I'll not be going there. For ME there's enough question to let the chips fall on the side of that being an Arabic Catholic altar missal.

    I also fully understand what you mean about the "Rad Trads" (I coined that phrase years ago) as I have had some ties to such "Rad Trads" - though I was never in their camp. Their position is just too untenable to logically stand.

    As for the rest of what you said about sin, etc. We're straying from the topic here, so I'll respond in a post which is specific to that topic as I do believe your points deserve to be answered.

    In JMJ,
    Scott<<<

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  22. You coined the phrase "Rad Trads" ??

    I thought Dave Armstrong did. (smile)

    I first saw it as his web-site years ago.

    Sorry I didn't know about your blog sooner.

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  23. I think what it means is that all of this is offered universally; however, if a person does not accept that Christ died for them, then that person is not saved.

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  24.  I'm sure Armstrong got the "Rad Trad" terminology from me.  (grin)

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  25. I forgot all about this.  I'm working on "this section" now.  :-)

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  26.  Thank you for your research and concerns!  Good job!  I'm still reading through the series, but it looks good so far!

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  27. If possible, can you change either the foreground or background colors (or possibly both) of the comment section?
    The contrast is a fair bit too low for easy reading

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  28. One of the main reasons I have misgivings about the speed of the process is the enthusiasm and apparent urgency shown by people who otherwise have little respect for the Catholic Church. That just raises a whole lot of questions and flags for me.

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  29.  Changed.  How's this?

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  30. I changed the layout a bit too, just today.

    ReplyDelete

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