Viewpoint: Pope John Paul II’s Canonization Wasn’t Too Fast

Those who have complained about a short-circuited process are mostly people who never wanted to see John Paul II canonized at all

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Pope John Paul II in Papua, Indonesia, January 1995

In April 8, 2005, something happened in Rome that hadn’t happened for over 1,400 years: the congregation at a papal funeral Mass spontaneously proclaimed the deceased Pontiff a saint. The honoree was a son of Poland, Karol Wojtyla, who, at the conclusion of the official canonization process on April 27, 2014, will be known as Pope St. John Paul II. The formalities notwithstanding, there was something instinctively and authentically Catholic about those cries of “Santo subito! [A saint immediately!]” and “Magnus” (or the Italian “Magno”) that reverberated around St. Peter’s Square on April 8, 2005, at a volume that could be heard hundreds of yards away. The people of the Catholic Church had made their judgment: John Paul II was a great man, a Christian who had displayed heroic virtue. And while some are wondering if eight years is too short a time for canonization, the speed shouldn’t be cause for either alarm or surprise.

(MORE: Popes John Paul II and John XXIII to Be Canonized in April)

The only concession made to the popular demand for an accelerated process for Pope John Paul II was Pope Benedict XVI’s agreement that the five-year waiting period for the introduction of a “cause” would be waived. Over 120 witnesses gave formal testimony (full disclosure: I was one of them); an entire volume of the documentary record was given over to answering challenges to John Paul’s reputation for heroic virtue that arose after the cause was introduced. There were no shortcuts taken, and the medical cures that satisfied the requirement of one miracle for beatification (the cure of a French nun from Parkinson’s disease) and another for canonization (the cure of a Costa Rican woman from a cerebral aneurism) were certified as medically “inexplicable” by a panel of scientists.

And then there were those spontaneous testimonies, which continued long beyond April 8, 2005. In the Roman office where the cause was conducted, I once saw letters from all over the world, in various languages, some of them from non-Catholics and non-Christians, simply addressed “Pope John Paul II/Heaven.” The people’s witness to the heroic sanctity of the man who singularly embodied the human drama of the second half of the 20th century was steady, passionate and persuasive. The church’s leadership has now caught up with, and ratified, that witness.

Those who have complained about a short-circuited canonization process are, in the main, people who never wanted to see John Paul II canonized at all. Their judgment has now been rejected by the relevant Vatican offices as well as by the current Pope, Francis. The friends of John Paul II hope that this small minority of dissidents will now join in celebrating a noble life, heroically lived, that can be a model for all men and women of good will.

MORE: Viewpoint: Pope Francis, Make This Man a Saint

10 comments
RC711
RC711

Without the Roman Catholic Church, you wouldn't have any Bible to read.

Do NOT "pick-n-choose" only Bible verses that appeals to you & OUTSIDE of FULL context.

If you read Luke 22:1, the Eucharist (which Christ instituted) IS THE NEW COVENANT, the "New Testament".

It's NOT the Bible or the BOOKS of the New Testament.

The "New Testament" IS the Eucharist (the Body & Blood + Soul & Divinity) of Christ.

The Books are the written accounts, "WRITTEN SACRED TRADITION",

 recordings of what happened IN REAL LIFE.

The Word already BECAME FLESH & dwelt amongst us.

While you are "STUCK" to 2D words on pages of books, the Roman Catholic Church has

LIVED, thrived, with the full guidance of the Holy Spirit, continuing on with REAL LIFE, & not

stuck on 2D pages of books.

JocastaBryan
JocastaBryan

The miracle cures were certified by scientists, huh? Which scientists, where? Did they have any relevent training or experience, or were their degrees in metallurgy? I'm betting they didn't have MDs from Harvard, and had never set foot in the Mayo clinic.

AlfredCota
AlfredCota

I think it needs to be noted that the choosing of April 27th. 2014 is known as "Divine Mercy Sunday" and The Divine Mercy Movement of St. Faustina of Poland, from which both Popes are associated. This also applies to "The Bronx Apparition of The Christ" in 1962, that also helped verify the Saints prophesies, and "The Two Boys" that are Visionaries thatbring it full circle.

pythion69
pythion69

I'm curious, did anyone ask the children who were molested by priests how they feel about it, considering John Paul was one of the people most responsible for covering up the crimes and helping the priests escape justice. He and Ratzinger who, you guessed it, became the next pope!  Imagine that, the pope and the future pope working together to help enable priests to rape children. But then, when it comes to matters of the Catholic Church, its not like its victims actually matter, as long as they follow protocol!

DanBruce
DanBruce

Catholicism is the best manmade religion on Earth. I'm just glad that I am a Bible believer instead. None of that manmade hocus pocus stuff for me.

KathyBurkeEnglish
KathyBurkeEnglish

@DanBruce Who do you think wrote the Bible? It wasn't written until at least a centruy after Jesus died. But believe in whatever hocus pocus you choose, as long as you don't try to foist it on me.  

jumuia
jumuia

@DanBruce..........  And the word was made flesh.....and dwelt among us. 

WilliamHans
WilliamHans

@KathyBurkeEnglish @DanBruce 

The Bible includes both the Old and New Testaments - obviously some of the books in the Old Testament were written before Jesus was born. The earliest New Testament books (Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians) was written about 20 years after Jesus death. The earliest gospel (the gospel of Mark) was written about 40 years after his death. You would think that someone (Kathy) would at least Google the information before posting it with such authority.

RobertR.Allard
RobertR.Allard

@WilliamHans @KathyBurkeEnglish @DanBruce 

The Bible is a Catholic book that was put together by the Catholic Church.  Until the invention of the printing press, the Catholic Church, very carefully, had to hand write every single copy, and those copies didn't last very long.  Thank God for the guidance of the Catholic Church.