Tuesday, April 22, 2014

USA Today throws wet blanket on canonizations

Brett M. Decker, "Pope puts Catholic rebirth at risk: Column" (USA Today, April 21, 2014):
... Few moves could so quickly undo [Pope Francis's] popular efforts to make the Roman Catholic Church more sensitive to the values of modern churchgoers.

Francis has concentrated much of his 13-month papacy on making symbolic gestures....

The impact of the Argentine pontiff raising two popes to sainthood after their failures to address the globe-spanning clergy sex abuse scandal would be far more than symbolic. The scandal damaged thousands of innocent lives and cost the church billions of dollars in legal damages as well as its moral standing.

John XXIII, pope from 1958 to 1963, and John Paul II, pope from 1978 to 2005, both held their positions after the widespread abuse, stretching back deep into the 20th century, was known to the Vatican....

... Outside of those who were martyred, the Catholic Church traditionally has found few pontiffs worthy to be saints. In fact, only two have been canonized in the past 700 years.

There is a good reason for this. The church teaches that a priest is responsible for every soul in his parish, a bishop for each person in his diocese and the pope for the whole world. The bar is set purposely high because the duties of being vicar of Christ are so immense....

The Catholic Church declares individuals to be saints to give the faithful role models of heroic virtue and show how one should live life to get to heaven. Because of their sins of omission in face of horrors at the hands of their clergy, neither John Paul II nor John XXIII should be canonized as exemplars of sanctity.
But that's Brett Decker of USA Today. What would he know?

[Hat tip to K.J.W.]


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