Sun 31st Aug 2014 | Last updated: Sun 31st Aug 2014 at 15:59pm

Facebook Logo Twitter Logo RSS Logo
Hot Topics

Comment & Blogs

Assisi alone is reason enough to beatify John Paul II

The Devil’s Advocate has a necessary task but the late Pope’s virtues outweigh his faults and errors of judgement

By on Thursday, 14 April 2011

Pope John Paul II attends an interreligious encounter in Assisi, Italy, in 1986

Pope John Paul II attends an interreligious encounter in Assisi, Italy, in 1986

The late John Paul II is soon to be beatified. With this in mind, a friend has kindly pointed out to me an article in The Remnant online for March 21 which challenges the whole basis for the beatification. Reading it I see that the traditional and necessary office of the Devil’s Advocate has been doing its work. The article does not deny the late Pope’s personal holiness, but raises a number of points which will all be familiar to readers of “Christian Order” over here (and I note that Rod Pead, the Editor of CO, has added his signature to the list of those opposing the beatification, at the bottom of the Remnant article.)

The indictment against John Paul II states that “in the exercise of his exalted office as Pope” he did nothing to stop the abuses of the liturgy; he did not take the proper steps to investigate the sexual scandals of the priesthood – in particular those connected with the disgraced founder of the Legionaries of Christ; he caused confusion by his “numerous theologically dubious apologies for the presumed sins of Catholics in prior epochs of Church history”; and he caused scandal by the gatherings at Assisi in 1986 and 2002, in which he prayed with animists and other pagans. The article even throws doubt on the miracle that was needed for the process of beatification to go forward.

The charges are grave and, as I said above, the task of the Devil’s Advocate is a necessary one. However, once everything has been weighed up, both in favour of John Paul’s pontificate and against it, and Rome has made its decision, is it not a little churlish at this late stage of the process to try to put a spanner in the works? Beatification does not assume impeccability; it investigates and assesses the heroic virtue of the candidate. In this case the late Pope’s virtues vastly outweigh, to my mind, his faults and errors of judgment.

What springs to mind when I think of the late Holy Father? He was a magnificent defender of the sacredness of human life, marriage and family, and the dignity of women, in a host of inspiring encyclicals and other writings: Familiaris Consortio, Mulieris Dignitatem, Evangelium Vitae come to mind, but there are many others. Indeed, he was a great teaching Pope. He was hugely instrumental, along with President Ronald Reagan, in bringing about the fall of Communism in Russia and Eastern Europe. He was a wonderful communicator of the Faith to young people at the World Youth Days he instituted. How many young men and women have decided to dedicate themselves to the priesthood and religious life as a result of attending one of these occasions?

There is much more than could be cited in the Pope’s favour, but I will simply mention the Assisi gatherings.

I accept I might be biased here, as Francis of Assisi is my patron saint – but what is wrong with a Catholic leader praying alongside those of other faiths? I do not say you that pray ‘in unity’ with them as this is not possible; but to ask the Holy Spirit to come down and do His mysterious, grace-filled work at such a gathering: surely that is an act of charity towards those who, through no fault of their own, lack the fullness of truth?

This morning a Muslim lady taxi driver came to my house to take my daughter to her day centre. She happened to notice the tile stuck on the brickwork by the front door with the words (in Portuguese) “Our Lady of Fatima, bless this house”. “What does this mean?” she asked, pointing at the word ‘Fatima’. I explained that Our Lady had appeared at Fatima, adding I had once read that she had chosen to appear at this particular spot because the name ‘Fatima’ is very important to Muslims as the name of Muhammad’s daughter, and so that Catholics who reverence the shrine might pray especially for the followers of Islam. She was very pleased at this idea.

I then explained briefly (I was in my dressing –gown) about the Blessed Trinity, the role of Mary and the work of the Holy Spirit and we parted with much good will. I would gladly have prayed for her and alongside her if our dialogue had fallen out that way.

  • http://vaticancatholic.com Mario Chavez

    Please check out the links I’ve provided in my post above. You will learn who John Paul II really was and what Benedict XVI is attempting to accomplish in “canonizing” him.

  • http://jamiemacnab.wordpress.com/ Jamie MacNab

    Well, I suppose that a post with the name Assisi in its title was bound to attract many comments unfavourable to the late Pope. When, I wonder, will Catholics generally find the confidence to mix with people of other beliefs and come to understand them? When will they regain the missionary spirit? Where will they find the courage to seek it?

  • AJ

    Again, whose version of “We obey the Tradition” are you referring to? Is it the version of “we-got-it-right-and-the-Church-got-it-wrong” version?

    Yah, I read St. Bob Bellarmine’s (such a good soul) but he was not advocating disobedience and attacking a RATIFIED Ecumenical Council which is the highest from of Magisterial Authority of the CatholicChurch like what you and guys like you have been doing. So there is again no comparison between St. Robert and SPPX, oh as well as St. Athanasius…please you are not martyrs.

  • AJ

    That is according to your own interpretation again of the pope’s personal view which Billions of Catholics knew better of the intention of the pope. The problem is, you judged his intention as if you could read his heart or anybody’s. Are you a god who can read hearts?

  • AJ

    Yah, I read St. Bob Bellarmine’s (such a good soul) but he was not advocating disobedience and attacking a RATIFIED Ecumenical Council which is the highest from of Magisterial Authority of the CatholicChurch like what you and guys like you have been doing. So there is again no comparison between St. Robert and SPPX, oh as well as St. Athanasius…please don’t portray yourselves as martyrs just plain recalcitrants.

  • AJ

    It applies to you and SPPX as your magisterium.

  • AJ

    Why do we need to go a “remnant” site and not the Catechism of the Catholic Church site? What do they have that the Church don’t have?

    Oh by the way are you referring to the “remnant” version of the Baptists, Jehovah’s, Mormoms or SSPX? because they all really believed they are the true remnants of christianity. Choose one.

  • AJ

    “Beatification is not an infallible act”, according to you again? Are you tired of referring to yourself as an authority?

    Well, Beatification is just an ACT of Authority of the WHOLE Catholic Church (Pope and Bishops in communion with him).

  • AJ

    At last we agree, that pope John PaulII will welcome all prayers for him to intercede in your behalf and SSPX to recognize the proper Authority and join in FULL communion with God’s Church.

  • AJ

    Looked at what you said, “while it may indeed be a valid Mass it is nevertheless heavily impregnated with Protestantism”

    I said: HOGWASH, you probably didn’t read my post and that’s according to you. The proetants wre just observers, did you read some of the past Ecumenical councils like Trent invited some non-catholics as well? The fatal mistake you and SSPX are making is you are equating the personal sins (abuses of liturgy) with the Teaching of VatII that is still and will remain True regardless of the corruption of some clergy doen’t make it inferior, null or void.

    The Authority of Vatican II is the very same Authority that ratified the First Council of Jerusalem (Acts in Bible), to Council of Nicea, to Council of Chalcedon, to the Council of Trent, to the present Council. You can’t “pick and choose” which council is right for you as orthodox according to you again like our protestant friends did.

    Either you accept ALL the Councils or NONE at all. Simple.

  • AJ

    You said, “My frind nowhere did I even imply that the Novus Ordo Mass is invalid”

    ME: the same tactic, same words of encouragement however, SSPX and you guys still continue to attack the Novus Ordo mass and VatII as INFERIOR with defects and other litany of complaints etc, etc, etc. beside the fact of continued disobedience to the Magisterium (Pope and Bishops in communion with him) thus undermining the very Authority of the Councils of Nicea, Trent and Vatican II, do you get it, brother?

  • Peadar

    “surely that is an act of charity towards those who, through no fault of their own, lack the fullness of truth?” —St John opposes this. He says charity is the bedrock of the true Faith—- which is traditional Catholicism. Without this ONE True Faith, charity is meaningless. This Charity does not apply to heretics who don’t believe that Catholicism and the mystical body of believers represent the one true Faith. Eucumenism is a Masonic belief and a One World Government goal. Believing as Masons do makes you a heretic.

  • Peadar

    Re: Vatican II –Dr. Smith, one of the Lutheran representatives at Vatican II, publicly boasted, “We have finished the work that Martin Luther began.” And Fr. Hanibal Bugnini stated that his aim in designing the New Mass was “to strip from our Catholic prayers and from the Catholic liturgy everything which can be the shadow of a stumbling block for our separated brethren, that is, for the Protestants.” Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani, who served as head of the Holy Office under three Popes, wrote that “the Novus Ordo Missae …. represents a striking departure from the Catholic theology of the Holy Mass as it was formulated in the Council of Trent,” and that there are “implicit denials of Christ’s Real Presence and the doctrine of Transubstantiation. No wonder it’s called the NO mess.

     

  • Peadar

    It gets better. Heretic Pope Benedict says that we are all Jesus. His personal hero is Luther who was publicly excommunicated. His heresies fill an entire page.

  • michael ortiz

    You can find the same idea in Thomas Aquinas. Duh.