Santo Subito with El Diablo Augusto Pinochet
It didn't take a psychic to see this one coming. It's been a done deal since the day JPII died. The chosen date for the beatification is May 1. May 1st is a day that should warm the hearts of St. Faustina followers-at least this year- and remind any would be European Communists that May 1 is no longer their 'feast' day.
John Paul II To Be Beatified In the Spring
By RACHEL DONADIO - NY TIMES - 1/14/2010
The designation means he is considered “blessed” and can be publicly venerated. Sainthood would follow after the confirmation of one more miracle.
Thousands are expected to attend the beatification ceremony. Benedict is expected to celebrate the Mass himself, a much-needed bright spot in his papacy, which in recent months has been weathering a sexual abuse scandal in Europe and violence against Christians in the Middle East.
Wildly popular, John Paul was seen as a man of his time, a Pole who marshaled the Catholic Church’s energies to help end the cold war. But he was also criticized for how he handled a sexual abuse crisis that burgeoned in the United States as early as the 1980s.
At John Paul’s funeral in April 2005, the faithful filled Saint Peter’s Square, some carrying banners reading “Santo subito,” or “Sainthood now.”Benedict honored their wishes, putting John Paul on a fast track to sainthood, waiving the traditional five-year waiting period for the process to begin, but insisting on a thorough investigation into his life. (I actually think Benedict put JPII on a fast track precisely to avoid a thorough investigation of JPII's papacy.)
Benedict said Friday in a decree that a French nun had been miraculously cured of Parkinson’s disease thanks to John Paul’s intercession. John Paul himself had Parkinson’s. In a statement, Benedict said that a Vatican-appointed committee of cardinals, bishops, doctors and theologians had determined that the recovery of Sister Marie Pierre Simon from Parkinson’s was “miraculous” and “scientifically inexplicable.”
Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, the archbishop of Krakow and John Paul’s longtime personal secretary, said he was thrilled at the news. He said he was “happy” that the wish for “santo subito, that people have been praying for, is finally coming true........”
I find it kind of ironic that I might actually be on the side of the uber traditionalists on the cause of JPII's sainthood and for the same reasons. John Allen, in his column today, sums up these reasons:
Second, some traditional Catholics may object to the apparent haste in John Paul’s cause, arguing that it risks cheapening the canonization process if there’s a perception that a particular candidate is being moved forward too hastily. Perceptions that the usual process has been “short-circuited,” some warn, may suggest that other church teachings and disciplines can be massaged or set aside. They add that according to Catholic theology, the church has no power to “make” a saint – it can simply ratify that a particular figure is already in Heaven. By that logic, there’s no rush, since if John Paul is indeed a saint, formal beatification and canonization won’t add anything.
I would personally add a fourth reason, that this kind of fast tracking also lends itself to questions, not of any perceived or real holiness, but of the espousing of the currently favored theological/political ideology and notions of Catholic identity. I think it's noteworthy that this canonization is not particularly favored by either the progressive wing of the Church or the uber traditionalists. This seems to define JPII as something of a neo con whose main claim to fame will be that he concurred with and became a major player in neo con games of world control. St. JPII and St Ronnie Reagan will be forever linked with the fall of the Berlin wall, but they will also be forever linked with the oppression of liberal elements in Central and South America and the favoring of any number of despotic rightwing dictators. (see above photo)
That's on the political side, on the holiness side, JPII and Sr Faustina will be forever linked and this linkage defines JPII's notions of holiness. They were pretty dark notions of holiness and how holiness should be expressed. I have spent a number of hours reading Sister Faustina's diaries and came away less convinced of her visions and more convinced she was at least partially delusional and that the Vatican may have had good reasons to suppress her diaries and sanction her spiritual advisor Fr. Sopocko.
JPII as Cardinal Archbishop of Krackow was instrumental in having the sanctions lifted, and then during his papacy insured she would be canonized. St Faustina's was the kind of Catholic piety, with it's elevation of suffering, obedience and hell avoidance behavior, which became the hallmark of the theology of most of the various cults of personality that came to the forefront during JPII's papacy.
It's interesting in reading some of hagiographical biographies of Faustina that her superiors are consistently portrayed as impediments to and disbelievers in her holiness. They are people who purposely tried to thwart her visions for their own selfish or class reasons. There is never any consideration that these same superiors might have been genuinely concerned that Faustina was not playing with a full deck and did indeed suffer from delusions and a pathological religiosity. Along those lines I find it very interesting that she belonged to an order of nuns called the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy and then had visions of Jesus defining Himself as Divine Mercy. It's almost as if Faustina had to 'one up' her own order by envisioning Jesus rather than Mary as the font of mercy.
In any event, given JPII's seeming inability to differentiate between habitual piety and true conversion, or between personality disorders and saintliness, or his willingness to confuse obedience with faith, I don't think I personally can credit him with the spiritual gift of discernment. I shudder to think that had Maciel's 'wives' not come forward with DNA evidence of Maciel's children we could have had a St Maciel to go with our St Escriva. And for the same reasons, this conflation of one's personal devotional life above their actual acts in the world. We are supposed to buy this conflation in the case of JPII. Here's more from John Allen:
"Vatican officials today did not offer any response to substantive criticism of John Paul II, but in past cases when popes have been moved along the sainthood track, they generally insist that beatifying or canonizing a pope is not tantamount to endorsing every policy choice of his pontificate. Instead, they say, it’s a declaration that this pope lived a holy life worthy of emulation, despite whatever failings may have occurred during his lifetime – including his reign as pope."
I think someone needs to remind the Vatican papal saint makers that the book in the New Testament that deals with their predecessors is not entitled "The Prayer Life of the Apostles". It's entitled "The Acts of the Apostles". Just sayin'.
Santo Subito? I don't think so. As to the reported miracle, that's more likely due to Santo Placebo, but I'll have more on that notion tomorrow--- because it's an important and understudied notion.