Domenica, 21 Ottobre 2018

Iconic popes set for sainthood next year


(By Denis Greenan).
Vatican City, August 20 - The two most charismatic
popes in the recent history of the Catholic Church, John Paul II
and John XXIII, will most likely become saints next year, the
head of the Vatican's canonisation department said Tuesday.
"I think it will be hard this year, next year's more
likely," said Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation
for the Causes of Saints, adding that the date would be decided
by a special consistory of cardinals on September 30.
It was previously reported that the twin canonisation of
John XXIII, a hugely popular Italian who reigned from 1958 to
1963 and shaped the transformative Second Vatican Council, and
John Paul II, the equally groundbreaking Polish pope who led the
Church from 1978 to 2005, would take place by the end of this
year and perhaps as early as October 22, John Paul's feast day
and 11 days after John's.
Vatican watchers are now saying the likeliest date is April
27, the first Sunday after Easter and also the Feast of Divine
Mercy, one of John Paul's favourite feasts because it marks
revelations by Jesus in 1931 to a Polish nun the pontiff
canonised as Saint Faustina in 2000.
It will also be the 75th birthday of Krakow Archbishop
Stanisław Dziwisz, John Paul's long-time secretary and friend.
Work on a shrine to John Paul in Krakow, where he was
archbishop from 1964 until his election to the papacy in 1978,
is speeding ahead and is expected to be ready by next spring.
Cardinal Amato looked forward to the canonisations on
Tuesday, calling John Paul II and John XXII "two pillars of
"John XXIII was the great prophet and creator of the Second
Vatican Council while John Paul was the one who put it into
practice and developed it, in all its components and all its
virtualities," he said.
Pope Francis, during an impromptu conversation with
reporters on the plane back from World Youth Day in Rio on July
28, said he had been considering December 8, but the possibility
of icy roads could make it difficult for Polish pilgrims who
would travel by bus to Rome for the ceremony.
He went on to suggest April 27 as a second option, noting
that John Paul had instituted Divine Mercy Sunday as a worlwide
Asked to describe the two late popes, Pope Francis said
Blessed John was "a bit of the 'country priest,' a priest who
loves each of the faithful and knows how to care for them; he
did this as a bishop and as a nuncio.
"He was holy, patient, had a good sense of humor and,
especially by calling the Second Vatican Council, was a man of
courage, Pope Francis said. "He was a man who let himself be
guided by the Lord".
As for Blessed John Paul, he told the reporters on the
plane, "I think of him as 'the great missionary of the church,'
because he was "a man who proclaimed the Gospel everywhere".
On July 5 Francis made the last key move to make saints of
his two most popular recent predecessors, whose impact on the
Catholic Church and charismatic leadership many think the new
pontiff will end up rivaling.
Francis, who has already gained comparisons to those two
titans of the Church with his common touch and moves to shake up
an entrenched and allegedly corrupt Vatican hierarchy, signed
the decree needed for their canonisation, confirming
speculation that it would take place at the same time.
At the time, Vatican Spokesman Father Federico Lombardi
said the joint canonisation "will most likely take place before
the end of the year".
On Tuesday Amato said "the date will be set by the
consistory on September 30".
The move is expected to boost Francis' already sky-high
approval ratings and solidify his image as following in the
footsteps of the most Church-changing recent pontiffs.
John Paul II and John XXIII are widely considered the
best-loved and most influential popes of the modern era.
During his term from 16 October, 1978 until his death at
84 on April 2, 2005, the former Cardinal Karol Wojtyla spread
the faith on globe-trotting, crowd-pleasing missions and helped
hasten the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe.
John XXIII called the historic Second Vatican Council
(1962-1965) to retool the Church for the modern era.
His passionate views on equality were summed up in his
famous statement "We were all made in God's image, and thus, we
are all Godly alike".
Francis ordered John XXIII, known as 'the good pope', to
become a saint despite his not having a second miracle to his
The northern Italian-born pope, who was beatified in
2000, was exempted because of the strong advice of a special
Vatican panel.
The miracle needed for John Paul, whose funeral in 2005
featured choruses of "Saint Now", took place on the day of his
beatification on May 1, 2011.
The board of theologians of the Congregation for the Causes
of Saints approved that second key miracle on June 18.
The first miracle attributed to John Paul for his
beatification - the first of two steps on the path to
sainthood - was, as required by the Vatican's rigorous standards
which include vetting by non-Catholic doctors, an "inexplicable
The pontiff's successor Pope Benedict XVI, who abdicated
earlier this year, sanctioned the beatification after a Vatican
commission officially attributed as a miracle the inexplicable
recovery of a French nun, Sister Marie Simon-Pierre, from
Parkinson's Disease.
The Vatican ruled that this came through the intervention
of John Paul II.
The second miracle was the inexplicable recovery from a
stroke by a Costa Rican woman, Floribeth Mora Diaz, who prayed
to the Polish pope in 2011 and got better after doctors said
they could "do nothing for her".

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