Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Calls for sainthood premature?

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Dissident theologians opposed to the beatification of Pope John Paul have issued an appeal urging Catholics critical of the late pope to tell the Vatican if they also think he should not be made a saint.

The 11 Catholic theologians said Church officials who are reviewing John Paul's life and pontificate should also consider the "negative evaluation" liberal critics have of the nearly 27-year-old papacy that ended when John Paul died in April.

The Rome diocese has opened a beatification cause for the Pope. Church officials have asked all Catholics to come forward with personal experiences or evidence of possible miracles that could support a reputation for holiness.

In their appeal, which received wide play in major Italian newspapers on Tuesday, the theologians from Italy, Spain, Austria and Latin America said those judging the case should also take into account "negative" aspects of John Paul's papacy.

"We invite such persons (critical of the late pope) to overcome their shyness and timidity and formally express, with gospel freedom, facts which according to their consciences and convictions should be an obstacle to beatification," they wrote.

Read the complete article Don't make John Paul saint - dissident theologians from Reuters.

The theologians' appeal includes examples of 'conservative positions' on Church teaching, mishandling of the sex abuse crisis and the murky dealings of the Vatican Bank. Also noted is the suppression of liberation theology.

I wonder how one judges a Pope's administrative doings when judging the man for canonization. Being the head of a Church that spans continents and counts over a billion souls as baptized members, should one judge along with the Pope the entire Church that he governed when considering whether he is a saint or not?

John Paul II was obviously a man of holy character and if the reports are true, his intercessions in Heaven are already being heard and resulting in miracles. Stopping the canonization of the late Holy Father on the grounds listed by the theologians just isn't going to happen.

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