Sunday, February 05, 2006

Miracle Number One

Possessed as I am of a streak of skepticism instilled as a result of a Northern Irish upbringing and accentuated by having worked as an attorney, it is of no surprise to me that the Vatican has announced that miracle number one may have been found on the road to John Paul II's certain canonization. Its discovery was announced by Monsignor Slawomir Oder, the Catholic Church's overseer of the process and it appears to have all the hooks necessary for a subsequent Hollywood movie: there's a young nun suffering from Parkinson's--the same illness that had the late Pontiff in its grip--she works with children, and she's been praying to the late Pontiff since his death.

I said on this blog shortly after the Pope's death that they'd be a rush to find the miracles and it looks like they're a coming.

Here's the CNN article about the discovery.

As I said in my previous blog post, John Paul II was a decent man who did much to alleviate suffering during his papacy--something I imagine all Popes are expected to do by virtue of the position. However, I am a bit concerned about this rush to pronounce him holy and that he should be canonized as a matter of course.

As a child and then adolescent, I followed the tenets of my faith rigorously and prayed to the saints as all practicing Catholics do. I recited novenas to Saint Anne, to Saint Martin, to Saint Gerald Majella, etc. in hopes of obtaining good examination results, or that I would get better if I was ill, and most especially, I prayed to Saint Jude when I lost something of value and needed it back. During my prayers, I assumed that the saints I prayed to were holy. To me 'holy' meant (and still does) that these people lived exemplary lives and grappled with and overcame their human flaws.

John Paul II had flaws that he did not overcome and thus, in my opinion, while he may be considered good, he cannot be called 'holy.' For example, he did not accord women equality in the eyes of the Church, and I am certain God did not intend women to be less in any way to men. He did not reach out to gays and lesbians--people whom God created throughout the world to live in families as loving sons and daughters--and instead sought to deny them, as adults, a chief right accorded to all human beings entering loving relationships. And he did not vigorously pursue a campaign to oust pedophile priests from the heart of his church, indeed seemed to offer but a deaf ear to the suffering of the victims.

For these reasons, I am truly mystified and will be most interested to learn how the church will reconcile these and other points as the process moves forward. Or will they just ignore them and act on the premise that the vast majority of its laity are as ignorant and uneducated as was their medieval predecessors?

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Carol Gee said...

Damian, haven't commented in a while, but that does not mean I do not "stop by" fairly regularly.
First of all, I am Episcopalian. My question is this: If rapid canonization were to take place, would that, for you as a Catholic, call into question other saints? Or would each declaration of previous sainthood stand on its own merits? I can identify with you, because I am mad at my own denomination right now because of their denigration of women as potential church leaders.

Damian McNicholl said...

Good question, Carol. To be honest, as a kid, I wasn't aware of the process for 'creating' saints. I never questioned it and assumed God made them. Once I learned that they were 'man-made' so to speak, then that, in conjunction with my questioning of certain practices and doctrines of the faith I was born into and how some were disposed of and became the equivalent of what is considered 'illegal' in secular society (e.g the attending mass celebrated in Latin), I became a lot more skeptical and wondered exactly how much God had a say in the whole thing . The church (all denominations thereof, really) are masters of the art of politics and it is well known that the late Pontiff was responsible for creating a great many saints, particularly in South America where the Church was seen to be growing fastest. What does that say?