To all of you who are whining and complaining that the canonization of St. John Paul was rushed, let’s put this nonsense to rest. St. Francis of Assisi was canonized without ever being beatified and without being investigated, because Pope Gregory IX suspended all research into the life of Francis. He canonized Francis 22 months after his death. If you read the Bull of Canonization, Pope Gregory says that he knew that Francis was a saint, before he died, because they were friends. No one questions that canonization or even remembers how fast it took place.
Pope Gregory IX canonized St. Anthony of Padua 11 months after his death. His argument, “He was my friend. I have no doubt about his sanctity.” No beatification took place and no investigation.
Pope Gregory consecrated his nephew as bishop and elevated him to be a cardinal so that he could appoint him as the Cardinal Protector of the Franciscan Order. Franciscans have always had a cardinal assigned to be our protector in the Vatican. That cardinal became Pope Alexander IV who canonized St. Clare of Assisi only 25 months after her death. His argument, “She was my friend. I knew her sanctity personally.”
Pope Benedict XVI started the canonization process for St. John Paul II. He used the same logic as Pope Gregory IX and Alexander IV. “I am a witness to his sanctity.” This is the pope’s right. To say that this has been rushed or to question this is rather disrespectful to the pope and borders on spiritual pride. It places the person speaking on a slippery slope, as if the person were saying, “I know better than the pope who started this and who knew the saint.” People may want to be careful not to step on that slippery slope. Also, people may want to be carefully informed of the history of canonizations before making statements that are contrary to historical facts. The opposite has been true, which is why St. John Paul changed the procedure for canonization. Canonizations were taking too much time, too much manpower, too much money, and very often, those who were beatified were put on a shelf to collect dust. Once the eyewitnesses died, the process becomes more arduous. You have to extrapolate from the writings about and by the candidate, rather than hear from real people who knew them intimately and who knew what they knew and what they did not know.
If we begin now to question canonizations and to split hairs over which one is right and which one is wrong, what are we doing to the entire history of canonizations? Those who engage in this kind of nonsense are not helping the Church. On the contrary, they are hurting the Church. If I can question this canonization, why can’t I question that of Saints Francis, Anthony or Clare? Why not question St. Thomas Aquinas? Just because he wrote great theology doesn’t mean that he has to be canonized? We can go on and on.
If we question any pope’s right and power to speak authoritatively on a canonization, then how do we pray? “Saint N, if you’re in heaven, can you please intercede for me?” That’s certainly a religion that offers us security, isn’t it? Not one that I want to be part of, that’s for sure.
This takes us to the sex abuse scandal. No one knew what St. John Paul II knew and how he responded to the sex-abuse scandal better than Cardinal Ratzinger. When Pope Benedict proceeded to lift the waiting period on the process for Pope John Paul II and then proceeded to personally beatify him it was because he knew more about this issue and Pope John Paul’s place in this drama than we know and more than the media claims to know. If anyone wants to know what St. John Paul actually knew and you want to know why he was hesitant to react you may want to read Light of the World. Pope Benedict answers that question in a very clear, concise and reasonable manner.
With that, I’m going back to bed. Pray for me. I’m not doing too way these days.