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As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, which reviewed John Paul II’s simplification of canonisation, the Polish Pope and Vatican II initiator Pope John XXIII were declared saints on Sunday, April 27, 2014.

Both of these men reminded me of Christ’s exhortation to the Apostles in Matthew 10:16 (emphases mine):

16 “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.

Therefore, one would have expected that these two men — now saints — would have guarded Christ’s Bride, the Church, with every fibre of their being.

Yet, John XXIII knowingly welcomed back theologians whose church activity Pius XII had restricted. Pius XII had his reasons for so doing, and, unfortunately, his successor John XXIII found out exactly why — to his peril.

A Catholic Life (aforementioned link) describes the traitors to the Church via the Second Vatican Council. By the time John XXIII was on his deathbed, he requested that Vatican II be stopped. But it was too late. His wilfulness at overturning his predecessor’s decision regarding these theologians and his eagerness in becoming a reconciler — why, at a time when there was nothing to reconcile amongst laity unlike now? — were his downfall. Even the Soviets became involved:

We might even say the pope was playing Russian roulette with the Church, literally. Were not the representatives of the Soviet Union present at Vatican II with a plan to get their clenched fist agenda implemented in a spiritual way with “human rights” and the “empowerment of the laity”?

However, for those who were not alive at the time, John XXIII had a certain charm about him which translated well with Catholics the world over. If, like my mother, a Catholic disapproved of what and why he was reforming, he could be sure an argument or remonstration would result from a fellow Catholic who thought this Pope was the embodiment of Christ, as far as such a thing is possible.

Just to set the social record straight in A Catholic Life‘s otherwise well written and informative article. John XXIII was not battling abortion, which would not be legalised in the West until Paul VI was Pope. The Pill might have been a consideration in his later years, although it seems from the rest of this article that Vatican II dominated his thoughts.  Nor was John XXIII fighting evolution; Pius XII already allowed for Catholic adherence to theistic evolution as early as 1951. It is doubtful that John XXIII believed in a literal six-day creation.

My objection to John XXIII is that he did not guard the Church with his life once he became Pope. For this reason, he should not have been canonised.

In a secular context, it’s akin to leaving your elderly mother home alone with the doors open in a dangerous neighbourhood, telling her she’ll be all right and saying you’ll be back in the middle of the night to check on her.

All Christians — Catholic or Protestant — should love the Church as much as they love Christ. Admittedly, we laypeople fall short, which is why clergy — especially the world’s most elevated prelates — should be Her ultimate guardians.

Apparently, according to the article, we are to accept that John XXIII was canonised for his exceptional ‘charity’, not for the way he loved — actually neglected — the Catholic Church. Frankly, anyone can be charitable — a Jehovah’s Witness, a Mormon, a Jain, an atheist or a Muslim.

The mark of a Catholic saint used to be that he honoured Christ completely throughout his life.

John Paul II changed all that, as I described yesterday. From sanctity the Catholic Church moved to generic charity with a Catholic label on it, which is how we got to the canonisation of a careless guardian — John XXIII.

And, John Paul II, having increased the number of canonisations five-fold under his tenure — compared with 98 from all his 20th century predecessors — was also a poor guardian of Christ’s Bride, the Church.

The Remnant warns that John Paul II’s reforms are taking Catholics back to a perilous time in the Church, reminiscent of:

the bishop-led canonization processes of the 1200’s—a time when a diocese in Sweden once canonized an intoxicated monk who was killed in a drunken brawl.

Indeed, with so many canonisations and over 1,200 beatifications (where sainthood is the next step), it is unlikely that so many new saints actually lived out that piety which the Devil’s Advocate used to investigate so thoroughly. The post still exists, apparently, but under a new name — Prelate Theologian. The position is a shadow of what it once was.

John Vennari of Catholic Family News describes the Prelate Theologian’s responsibility as follows:

His main task is to choose the theological consulters and preside at the meetings.

Catholic journalist Kenneth L. Woodward spotlights the root difference between the old and new systems: “At the core of the reform is a striking paradigm shift: no longer would the Church look to the courtroom as its model for arriving at the truth of a saint’s life; instead, it would employ the academic model of researching and writing a doctoral dissertation.”

The article goes on to describe the glaring gaps of sanctity or miracles in the lives of Msgr. Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer and Mother Teresa. Both had objectors who appealed to the Vatican against their beatification. Escriva’s piety and personal character came into question as did Teresa’s ascribed miracle, which was nothing more heavenly than scrupulous medical care. Both were beatified under John Paul II’s watch — under his simplified fast track reforms.

If these two cases came to light, how many more are there among recently canonised saints or beatified candidates awaiting sainthood? The truth must come out.  Otherwise, such travesties place the Catholic Church in grave danger by honouring a lack of holiness and false ‘miracles’. John Paul II opened up the Church to needless and avoidable criticism.

But then he did have a cult of personality around him, which I’d not witnessed with a Pope before. It was discomfiting to read Christmas letters from my Catholic friends saying how wonderful he was touring the world in his Popemobile. Let us not forget that this man was a stage actor before he became a priest. As the Bard said, ‘All the world’s a stage’. How true.

What is even worse is John Paul II’s attempts at unifying all the world’s religions at Assisi in October 1986. Unfortunately, as Catholic Family News‘s John Vennari found out, today’s Catholic children find such an action from such a holy man hard to believe:

At the time of the 2011 “beatification” of John Paul II, I learned of a homeschool online discussion taking place among 6th to 9th graders. A traditional Catholic youth (whom I know) was telling non-traditionalist Catholic acquaintances about Pope John Paul II’s pan-religious meeting at Assisi; that John Paul invited Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Jains, and pagans to pray together at the event in October 1986. He also posted photos of the Assisi gathering.

The homeschooled youngsters refused to believe it. They claimed it could not be true; that the John Paul II/Assisi photos were doctored, that no pope—especially one “beatified” by the allegedly conservative Benedict XVI—would perform this act of ecclesiastical treason.

The young traditional Catholic who told his acquaintances about Assisi was accused of making up the account; of trying to defame the name of “Blessed” Pope John Paul II; of inventing a malicious story about a pagan-packed, pan-religious prayer-fest that no pope would countenance.

Here then is the striking point: The children knew the Assisi prayer meeting was not Catholic. The children knew it was not a manifestation of heroic virtue. The children knew it was a scandal of colossal dimension, and refused to believe John Paul could be guilty of it. To their credit, these youngsters displayed a better sensus Catholicus than today’s Vatican leaders.

Pope Benedict XVI should never have agreed to beatify his predecessor. I don’t deny that the public pressure must have been overwhelming. I watched both John Paul’s funeral and Benedict’s accession Mass on television. St Peter’s Square was packed with banners from the ‘faithful’ which read ‘Santo Subito’ (‘Sainthood Now’) on both occasions.

Yet, one of the responsibilities of a godly clergyman — of whatever denomination — is to resist the calls of the mob. Clergy are called to do right in Christ’s eyes, not the public’s.

Pope Francis, not surprisingly, is carrying on where John Paul II left off. One wonders where the Catholic Church will be at the end of his tenure. Already he has refused to say where he lies on a certain serious sin: ‘Who am I to judge?’ He is another Pope more interested in the world than in preserving the holiness of Christ’s Church.

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