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Sainthood: John Paul II and John XXIII

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This weekend a major event will take place in Rome, the canonization of John Paul II and John XXIII being made officially Saints. Catholics all over the world are enthused about the early beatified of John Paul II as a Saint.

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The saint-making process is not an easy task. It will take years, decades even centuries to see if that candidate is qualified to be a Saint? Believers are praying for healing: cancer, arthritis, high-blood pressure, heart disease, alcohol and drug addictions, polio, etc. If and when miracles do occur to one of these then that candidate can be qualified. This raises some questions to non-believers?

These two men viewed the world in different ways with respect to Catholicism. John XXIII called the Second Vatican Council, which opened the church to the modern world in matters including ecumenism, worship styles and discussion of human reproduction. While John Paul II took the opening from Vatican II and plunged the church into global evangelization, but his focus on loyalty, hierarchy and orthodoxy on marriage and reproduction alarmed many on the more liberal side.

When Pope Francis canonizes the two popes Sunday, “he will send a powerful message of unity,” according to John Gehring, a progressive Catholic advocate, and Kim Daniels, founder of the more traditional group Catholic Voices USA, in a joint piece published in the National Catholic Reporter. “It’s time to reject the assumptions built into reductionist labels.”

Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley recently characterized immigration reform in abortion-like terms – calling the protection of migrants a “pro-life issue” – and that Francis, even as he urges Catholics not to focus only on abortion, recently reminded them to think of it as an “unspeakable crime.”

The Rev. James Bretzke, a moral theologian at Boston College, said the canonization of these two men underscores a specific message: Catholicism doesn’t have an explicit policy plan. It also doesn’t mean the men were perfect, he said. “At the most basic minimalist understanding, canonization is the Church’s proclamation that … the individual is in union with God” and that the two men, as different as they were, are both in heaven.

George Weigel, a prominent papal biographer, said the two popes’ lives are “bookends” of modern Catholicism. John XXIII launched Vatican II, and John Paul put the ideas into play. “A lot of the contemporary history of the Catholic Church is summed up in these lives,” he said.

Reference: The Washington Post

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