Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Beatification of the Venerable John Paul II

Happy Divine Mercy Sunday. It's still Saturday here in the central United States, but over in Rome, it's dark and the ceremonies will be getting underway in a few hours. In checking Wikipedia to make sure I am spelling 'beatification' right, I see that the Holy Father's article has already been updated, granting him the title of 'blessed'!

Tomorrow the Holy Father will be beatified and will be only one step away from sainthood. The cause for the canonization of the Holy Father has been a contentious one and especially so now that the penultimate step is here. The five-year waiting period before any cause could begin was waived in his case, this beginning early what was already a shortened process due to the reforms instituted by John Paul himself.

Stipulating John Paul's personal holiness, the question boils down to what is the vocation of the supreme pontiff? Is it to be a teacher? An administrator? A combination of the two? This blog is of course about the Vatican and the business of governing the Church, right or wrong. With that viewpoint in mind, it's hard to ignore John Paul's deficiencies as an administrator. I do agree with those who say that electing bishops can be a crap shoot and that the Holy Father did as well as he could in promoting better men over time to help right the Church. At the same time though, his choices for his personal assistants in Rome cannot be ignored. First and foremost, there was Ratzinger. Much can be forgiven thanks to the astute choice of the German as prefect of CDF. On the other hand, there is Cardinal Sodano at the Secretariat of State and others like him who are not so easy wave off as outliers.

The wide acclamation following John Paul's death is not to be ignored, but at the same time, would five years of waiting have hurt his cause if it was truly meant to be? There is much out there waiting to see a final resolution that bears heavily upon John Paul II's legacy as the vicar of Christ. I don't doubt that John Paul II walks with the angels, but for us men and women on earth, prudence is a virtue.

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