Thursday, February 3, 2011

JPII Beatification and Cheapening Sainthood???

Following up on the previous post, here is another perspective.

Is the honor of being canonized cheapened by John Paul II’s fast-track to sainthood? Normally a person can’t even be considered for the sainthood process for at least five years after death. Nevertheless, Pope Benedict XVI waived this requirement for his immediate predecessor and mentor, despite some lingering questions. Though his strengths were many, one must ask why JP II continued to protect and laud Fr. Marciel despite credible sexual abuse allegations against him. It wasn’t until JP II’s death that it was disclosed Marciel not only abused seminarians, but he fathered illegitimate children and embezzled funds from the Legionnaires of Christ.

One wonders if there isn’t something self-serving about Popes canonizing other Popes. Pope Pius IX declared Popes infallible in 1870, and Pope John Paul II promoted Pope Pius’ sainthood, thereby strengthening his own claim to infallibility. Other accomplishments of Pope Pius IX included: excommunicating all Italian patriots who took away his temporal power; kidnapping a Jewish youngster (Edgardo Mortara) and raising him in the Vatican; condemning nationalism, populism and democracy in favor of the “Divine Right of Kings” with his encyclical Quanta Cura and its attached Syllabus of Errors

No pontiff in history canonized more saints than John Paul II. He ingratiated himself in almost every country he visited by declaring one or more local historic figures to be saints. These canonizations and beatifications carried political as well as theological clout. Often it takes a long time and lots of money to champion a candidate to sainthood, as many religious orders know who have campaigned for their founder’s canonization. Canonized saints have been almost exclusively popes, bishops, priests, religious, martyrs and virgins – implying saints should be untainted with normal human sexuality. JPII canonized 477 saints and beatified another 996 (more than the last four centuries of popes put together), yet only one was a married couple - Luigi and Maria Beltrame Quattrocchi. They had 5 children (including 2 priests, a monk and a nun), and then after their fifth child was born, they lived celibately “as brother and sister” the rest of their days.

While we are should live good and holy lives, and want to “be in that number when the saints go marching in”… do you think the road to sainthood is a credible process anymore?


  1. For a more comprehensive background to Pio Nono (Puis IX), check out As one of those who believe the Church is the people of God, it reminded me that Pius disagreed saying "I am the Church".

  2. The Catholic Church seems to make rules when it serves itself. I was shocked that although JPII was a man who could be admired, and epitomized the role of "pope" that he was on the fast track.