Wherein Fr. Z explains what is really going on with the canonizations of John XXIII and John Paul II

Today, in addition to Francis’ dedication of the Vatican City State to St. Michael (and does that place need defense of the attacks of Hell!) and in addition to the release of Benedict’s final encyclical, which is Francis’ first encyclical (thus perhaps shifting “Reading Francis through Benedict” to “Reading Benedict through Francis”), His Holiness confirmed the decree of the Congregation for Causes of Saints concerning a miracle worked through the intercession of Bl. John Paul II, thus clearing the way for his canonization.

At the same time, His Holiness of our Lord decided that he would go ahead with the canonization of Bl. John XXIII even though there is no additional authenticated miracle.

Let’s be clear: Pope’s can do that.

John Paul II strayed from the usual time line in the case of St. Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin, in 2002. There was eventually a miracle attributed to St. Juan Diego, one of the more amazing miraculous healings I have read about. I digress.

Here is what I think is really going on with these canonizations.

The decision to canonize Blesseds John XXIII and John Paul II at the same time, at the time when we are observing the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, is a kind of “canonization” of the Second Vatican Council.

So, why does John Paul II have to be involved with that? Why is not Bl. John XXIII enough to do that?

Some will suggest that John XXIII appeals more to liberals while John Paul II appeals more to conservatives. Putting them together is an attempt to bridge the divide. I don’t think so.  This isn’t quite like the double beatification of  Bl. John XXIII with Bl. Pius IX, a move which probably sought to soften the Pian aspect.

This canonization has more to do with putting yet another stamp of approval on the Second Vatican Council.  It is here to stay, if you were in doubt.

But wait, there’s more.

The canonizations have even more to do identifying the proper lens or hermeneutic by which we are to interpret the Council: the pontificate and the magisterium of St. Pope John Paul II.

This move is intended to identify John Paul II as our helper in interpreting difficult and controversial aspects of the Council.

There are controversial texts in the documents of the Second Vatican Council. The whole of the Council itself is controversial. Enter John Paul II. He was a bishop at the Council who helped write important passages in Gaudium et spes. During his heroically long pontificate John Paul, in his magisterium, commented at some point on virtually every controversial or disputed point in the Council documents and on the event of the Council itself.  He may not have solved, settled, definitively pronounced, on every controversial issue, but he offers commentary and insight on them.

Try to think of some controversial aspect of the Council or it’s documents that John Paul II did not write about or preach about.

I think what Francis is saying by this is that, if you have a problem with any aspect of the Council, turn to the papal teaching of St. John Paul II for clarifications and help in interpretation.

Some who don’t like the magisterium of Pope John Paul II will say, “No, Francis is pointing their personal virtues.”  That’s because by the canonization, John Paul’s magisterium is getting a boost.  Ask yourself which documents of future St. John Paul II the LCWR (aka The Zittelle) rush to cite.  Do they want to see canonized the one who issued Ordinatio sacerdotalis?  No.  In effect, the bodies of magisterial teaching of these two Popes are, by the canonizations, getting a serious boost.

I don’t know what this means for reading Vatican II in continuity with Vatican I, with Trent, with Lateran V, with … with… with….  I know that I won’t stop reading Vatican II without those other Councils, back to Nicea and Jerusalem.

Nevertheless, I think Francis steering us to John Paul II as an additional interpretive lens, for a proper hermeneutic of reform.

Agree with Francis’ move or not, I think this is what the Pope is doing.  Francis is firmly in the Benedictine, Ioanno-Pauline line. Furthermore, I think Benedict would have done the same thing!  If anyone doubts this, she should reread Benedict’s 2009 letter to bishops about the SSPX!  For example:

One cannot freeze the magisterial authority of the Church in 1962 and – this must be quite clear to the Fraternity. But to some of those who show off as great defenders of the Council it must also be recalled to memory that Vatican II contains within itself the whole doctrinal history of the Church. Who wants to be obedient to it [sc. the Council] must accept the faith of the centuries and must not cut the roots of which the tree lives.

In effect, the Second Vatican Council is here to stay.  What we make of the Second Vatican Council is, as Francis is signalling, is also here to stay.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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85 Responses to Wherein Fr. Z explains what is really going on with the canonizations of John XXIII and John Paul II

  1. Legisperitus says:

    At least it’s been 50 years for John XXIII.

  2. Fr Jackson says:

    After gasping, “oh my!”, here are two quick thoughts:
    (1) I fear that what future years may reveal about the relation between the Pontificate of JPII and the abuse scandals could possibly throw discredit on the entire canonization process. [You are saying that, if something comes to light about purposeful mishandling or true incompetence in handling the matter, that casts doubt over the propriety of JP's cause. I see where you are going with this. I ask this of the reverend gentleman: Does the SSPX not accept that canonizations are infallibly pronounced? Also, this whole thing opens a can of worms I have drilled into in the past: How has the theological foundation for causes drifted or been consciously modified over the last few decades? Your concern points back to that question: Can we separate a servant of God's personal virtues, etc., from the effectiveness, the actual results, of how she performed in here state in life?]
    (2) The “hermeneutic of continuity” proposed by Benedict XVI (and – if I understand this post correctly – also effectively made by JPII) is criticized by Msgr Gherardini in this way: while we certainly do not embrace the “hermeneutic of rupture”, the hermeneutic of continuity of Benedict XVI is not the only hermeneutic of continuity possible, nor, in his opinion, is it the correct one. Benedict XVI’s hermeneutic is – in his analysis – still too “allied” with the “gegen geist” of the Council in a way that clouds the correct interpretation. Since Benedict XVI didn’t engage solemn infallibility at any point in implementing this hermeneutic of his, Gherardini is still free to discuss and criticize it. Are so are we. [I make a similar point, above, in my explanation. At the same time, I think what Francis is doing is that he is directing us all also to give special attention to JPII in interpreting the Council. The continuity extends not only backward to before the Council but also forward to the papal Magisterium after the Council. In other words, we are not free to ignore what came after the Council. To do so would be similar to what liberals do in ignoring what was before.]

  3. Geoffrey says:

    What a great day! Deo gratias! Laudetur Iesus Christus!

    I believe you are correct, Father, in thinking that Benedict XVI would have done the same thing. In reference to the magisterial writings of Bl. John Paul the Great, [Please... let's no jump the gun on that. I venerate the man's memory, but "the Great"? Perhaps we can let another generation do that one.] Pope Benedict XVI said the following in a Polish television interview: “All this is a rich patrimony that has not yet been assimilated by the Church. My personal mission is… to ensure that his documents are assimilated, because they are a rich treasure, the authentic interpretation of Vatican II” (16 October 2005). [Good quote. Thanks.]

    What a great day! Deo gratias! Laudetur Iesus Christus!
    Beate Ioannes Paule Magne, ora pro nobis!

    Meanwhile, let the grinding and gnashing of teeth among the traditionalists begin… [Perhaps a touch of Schadenfreude?]

  4. Imrahil says:

    Let the traditionalists, instead of grind and gnash their teeth, remember that the decisive point of a canonization is that the person canonized is now in Heaven.

    I cannot see how you can doubt that in either person (meaning positive reasons and not only the negative “he certainly sinned and we cannot allow ourselves to determine how good he was”, which we generally hold about every person not beatified).

    It is compatible with that to disagree about their entire policy. Not saying I do.

    I rejoice about the canonizations; I had rejoiced more about the beatification of the Ven. Pope Pius XII, and I do disagree respectfully with our Holy Father’s waiving of the miracle.

  5. Imrahil says:

    As an addition to my second paragraph: Quite recently in a discussion here, I was explained reasons for such doubt. I do not intend to say the points are ununderstandable nonsense; I only wanted to express that, when you come to them and examine them one by one, they fall away.

  6. Imrahil says:

    As an addition, and excuse if that is a repetition: a canonization is not an infallible utterance that it itself should have taken place.

  7. Robbie says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with Father Zuhlsdorf on the issue of Sainthood for John XXIII. It was as much about “Good John” as it was about reaffirming and immortalizing the Second Vatican Council. In fact, I think this move had far more to do with VCII than it had to do with John. That’s just my view though. [You are saying something a little different from what I said. I am NOT saying that a ratification of V2 is the ONLY reason why Francis would want to canonize JXXIII.]

  8. jbas says:

    Are we supposed to see a connection between the archangel and the encyclical? Does he play some traditional role in interpreting or implementing ecumenical councils? And, by the way, why is the Prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel not included in the CCC Compendium’s index?

  9. jbas says:

    Did JPII ever address the SC mandate that Latin Rite Catholics be taught their parts of the Mass in Latin? I’m searching, but cannot yet find anything.

  10. backtothefuture says:

    i don’t have a problem with both popes being canonized. V2 is here to stay, in the minds of the pope and clergy. But it eventually will die. The church’s passion will Eventually come to an end.

  11. sw85 says:

    Oh yeah, left this out, since I hinted to it in my first sentence. I actually like your theory, Fr. Z., especially because it could possibly be invoked to justify Benedict’s canonization some day. ;) [And Paul VI's.]

  12. jbas says:

    But, the liturgical Latin issue may not be the kind of controversy you mean. [THANK YOU!] I suppose that’s only controversial to a fairly small group of us, especially considering all the doctrinal difficulties JPII had to address.

  13. rbbadger says:

    I have long venerated Blessed John XXIII. I was a raised a Mormon. In some ways, Mormons are a rather insular community. I had been raised to believe that all other churches were wrong and that we alone had the true gospel, restored to us by Joseph Smith. When I entered high school, I began to have a lot of questions and a lot of things were beginning not to make sense. Around that time, I had come across some old biographies of Blessed John XXIII we had in my high school library. These books were from around the time of the Council, back when just about every Catholic book bore an imprimatur. I was deeply impressed by his life. As my disillusionment with Mormonism grew, it became very important for me to see that there were people in the “great and abominable church”- our title for just about every non-Mormon church, but especially the Catholic Church- who did try to follow Jesus closely and who really did lead lives of sanctity. Blessed John XXIII’s biographies made me become more interested in Catholicism. I lived in a very small town and there wasn’t a lot of Catholic literature available. I was fortunate, though, in what was available to me. The internet wasn’t even a possiblity. But I had the John XXIII biographies, along with access to Father John A. Hardon’s The Catholic Catechism. A year after graduating high school, I was baptized and confirmed a Catholic in Salt Lake City in the Cathedral of the Madeleine.

  14. Imrahil says:

    I think the Bl. John XXIII is not seen a liberal only because he called a (supposedly) liberal Council.

    The Bl. John XXIII is seen a liberal because people (including, it has to be said, conservative people, especially conservative Protestants) tend to associate liberalism with kindness, and he was Good Pope John. I do not mean that in any derogatory sense.

    And as a matter of fact, since canonizations are about persons, it will be Good Pope John “much more” (if you get my meaning) who is canonized than he who called the Council.

    Which is why, though (as I said) I think the miracle condition should not have been waived, I do rejoice about the canonization of Pope Bl. John XXIII – who has my highest sympathies as a Father Brown type of priest who came before these ceased to be à la mode.

  15. jhayes says:

    Imrahil wrote: a canonization is not an infallible utterance that it itself should have taken place.

    Regarding canonizations, the CDF has said

    “With regard to those truths connected to revelation by historical necessity and which are to be held definitively, but are not able to be declared as divinely revealed, the following examples can be given: the legitimacy of the election of the Supreme Pontiff or of the celebration of an ecumenical council, the canonizations of saints (dogmatic facts), the declaration of Pope Leo XIII in the Apostolic Letter Apostolicae Curae on the invalidity of Anglican ordinations ….”

    And, regarding those truths:

    “8. With regard to the nature of the assent owed to the truths set forth by the Church as divinely revealed (those of the first paragraph) or to be held definitively (those of the second paragraph), it is important to emphasize that there is no difference with respect to the full and irrevocable character of the assent which is owed to these teachings. The difference concerns the supernatural virtue of faith: in the case of truths of the first paragraph, the assent is based directly on faith in the authority of the Word of God (doctrines de fide credenda); in the case of the truths of the second paragraph, the assent is based on faith in the Holy Spirit’s assistance to the Magisterium and on the Catholic doctrine of the infallibility of the Magisterium (doctrines de fide tenenda).”

    http://www.ewtn.com/library/curia/cdfadtu.htm

  16. Geoffrey says:

    “Did JPII ever address the SC mandate that Latin Rite Catholics be taught their parts of the Mass in Latin? I’m searching, but cannot yet find anything.”

    I have never found something that specific, but there is no doubt Bl. John Paul the Great was a great proponent of Latin:

    “We address especially the young people: In an epoch when in some areas, as you know, the Latin language and the human values are less appreciated, you must joyfully accept the patrimony of the language which the Church holds in high esteem and must, with energy, make it fruitful. The well-known words of Cicero, ‘It is not so much excellent to know Latin, as it is a shame not to know it’ in a certain sense are directed to you. …We exhort you all to lift up high the torch of Latin which is even today a bond of unity among peoples of all nations” (Bl. John Paul II, Allocution ‘Libenter vos salutamus’, 27 November 1978: AAS 71 [1979], pp. 44-46).

    So far, I am not aware if Pope Francis has said anything in support of Latin, either before or after his election…

    [This is a rabbit hole. Latin is not the real issue.]

  17. Johnny Domer says:

    From the perspective of a Catholic born in the eighties…the idea that these canonizations are designed to “canonize” Vatican II just makes me glum. I acknowledge Vatican II as a valid council and don’t reject it as heretical or anything, but I am just sick of old churchmen between the ages of 50 and 90 telling me how wonderful, how special, how revolutionary, how beautiful, how relevant this council was and is. All I can see from it is wreckage, verbiage, few concretely positive results, and lots of concretely bad results. I’m sick of it, and I just wish these elderly churchmen could understand how little relevance and importance this Council has for orthodox Catholics like me who were born 20+ years afterwards.

    In contrast, I can see truth, wisdom, beauty, and positive results from the papacy and magisterium of John Paul II. His papacy and writings actually have made a positive impact on me and on my life as a Christian, as it has on the lives of millions of young Catholics. He helped defeat Communism, he wrote beautifully on marriage and the family, he was a brilliant and luminous thinker…no, I don’t think he was the perfect Pope (in fact, I think his ways of expressing enthusiasm for Vatican II were what I disliked most about him), but he was certainly a good man, a holy man, even a great man.

    Fr. Z, I don’t deny that you’re right in your supposition that this canonization is designed to affirm Vatican II. I just wish it wasn’t. JP2 was a great enough man on his own for his canonization not to be used as a crutch to continue propping up this Council.

  18. JacobWall says:

    Thank you Father!

    “I think what Francis is saying by this is that, if you have a problem with any aspect of the Council, turn to the papal teaching of St. John Paul II for clarifications and help in interpretation.”

    I’m going to steal and share.

  19. Priam1184 says:

    My personal opinion is that it would be better to wait until everybody who ever knew the candidate for canonization has been dead for 50 years before the official process even starts, but I know that this is never going to happen. I have great admiration for John Paul II and he was the only pope I ever knew for the vast majority of my life; when he died and the priest began praying “…with Benedict our pope” it felt like the Mass itself had been changed. I do wonder about the sexual abuse scandals but that will be what it will be. Sanctus Iohannes Paulus II ora pro nobis.

  20. Supertradmum says:

    Can the Pope consider a canonization for Paul VI for Humanae Vitae? This document, in my mind, is the most significant encyclical of the post-World War II years. [Does a single act establish enough of a foundation?]

    As to personal holiness, the real reason for canonizations, I can see that in Blessed John Paul II, especially his long illness and his example to the world of being old and infirm with dignity.

    John XXIII created a papacy which was more acceptable to the modern world, including the media, although Pius XII was very good with that as well. I remember the nuns wheeling this huge black and white television into my seventh grade classroom, with the eighth grade, and having us watch the opening of Vatican II. There was a great expectancy and hope. Perhaps these men are saints for our times more than most.

  21. veritasmeister says:

    Sainthood should be about piety, holiness, and sanctity, not a political ploy to prop up an ecumenical council with all of its problematic novelties. If the council has problems, it still has problems, regardless of whom Pope Francis canonizes.

    This is disturbing. As is the fact that Pope Pius IX’s and Pope Pius XII’s causes have been left to languish. [Pope routinely advance causes or delay them, issue laws or documents or shelve them, for worldly motives, reasons of timing, etc.]

    So how, exactly, does Pope John Paul II show us this elusive continuity? In all my reading of his works, I haven’t notice anything that solves these issues.

  22. Imrahil says:

    Dear @jhayes,

    which is why I worded what I said so carefully (if perhaps a bit awkwardly).

    A canonization is (by communis opinio, and apparently the CDF – thanks for the quote, although I believed it I did not hitherto know that it was actual magisterial teaching) an infallible statement that the person canonized is in Heaven. Not, however, that the canonization itself should have taken place – which was my point. For canonizations certainly and legitimately are also about prudence, politics, impact and all that.

    For comparison, a Catholic must believe that Papal authority suffices for infallible dogmas. It is a quite Catholic opinion (though not mine), on the other hand, that the dogmatization of 1870 was inopportune and should not have taken place.

  23. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Johnny Domer, two words: I agree.

  24. I fear this will be used by those that subscribe to the “hermeneutic of rupture (TM)” to justify nearly anything they please….

  25. For the “For What It’s Worth” (FWIW) column of the ledger:

    I have only one thought (or perhaps muted criticism) after reading the post and the comments: While it seems eminently clear the Holy Father is signaling “continuity” across pontificates, it is less clear what precisely he is signaling. Reading the tea leaves, a number of plausible explanations can be asserted, as is the case here and at other blogs.

    I think explanations that veer in the direction of putting a “stamp of approval” on Blessed (Saint) John Paul II as the “authentic interpreter” of Vatican II err. That is, the Church canonizes “Saints” not “Pontificates.” While I happen to believe Pope Wojtyla authentically interpreted the Council, that’s not what’s being canonized. To assert that as fact, it seems to me, is to trespass far afield of what is being canonized: John Paul II’s fearless and heroic witness to the faith in a world many of whose inhabitants are charmed by secularism, materialism, and consumerism, in short, the culture of death.

    FWIW.

  26. TaylorKH says:

    I don’t think there is a political “scheme of maneuver” going on here on behalf of the initiative of Pope Francis. There have been two miracles attributed to Pope Blessed John Paul II, one to Pope Blessed John XXIII (Vatican II could be the second), [?!?] and the Holy Spirit guiding Pope Francis and his Magisterium to “fight the good fight” in the midst of a world which is spinning into moral confusion and chaos. [Because no Pope before Francis ever did that before!] The Holy Spirit is strengthening us against continued chaos inside the Church – a movement strengthening Her for a path to greater unity.

    If there is a “spirit of dissension” amongst some which distrusts the Holy Spirit – or better yet – doesn’t believe in the active nature of the Holy Spirit in the Church….which attributes to Pope Francis a personal use of power to do his own will for political or scheming purposes, then it is a mistake. [How nice to know so much about what the Holy Spirit has been up to! o{];¬) ]

  27. McCall1981 says:

    @ Johnny Domer,
    You summed up my feelings on this perfectly, thank you

  28. Johnno says:

    The liberals aren’t going to read VII through either of these Pope’s or their actual intentions. They will just pick and choose aspects of these Popes that suits their agenda. Case in point:

    John XXIII – CHANGE, LET’S HAVE VATICAN III, WINDOWS & OPENNESS, UNBRIDLED OPTIMISM, NOT BEING JUDGMENTAL OF COMMUNISerrrr…. SECULAR GOVERNMENTS WHO WORK FOR THE POOR AND THE DOWNTRODDEN AGAINST THE OVERPRIVILEGED.

    John Paul II – RESPECTING ISLAM, INNOVATIVE MASSES, & DID WE MENTION THE POOR? ESPECIALLY THE WOMEN!

    I agree, VII and its Popes should be judged far in the future when all those involved are dead. The younger generation cares not for the council, we don’t even know who its for or what it’s telling us to do. If Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict want to make the council relevant, they ought to get to the job of fixing and clarifying it rather than repackaging it. This just comes off as pride and arrogance that refuses to let go. Otherwise canonize Paul VI as well and put Humane Vitae front and center. And lets get Pius XII in there too. He’s done far more than any of the other 3 put together. Ignoring him for the sake of that ‘Vatican II Ecumenism’ with the Jews due to some Dan Brown level conspiracy that he was drinking buddies with Hitler is an outrage and an injustice! Start being God’s priests and leaders and stop being a secular PR agency!

  29. Anchorite says:

    Pope Benedict would have indeed canonized the two but for reasons of their personal sainthood, but with the new regime of Bergoglio, I’d interpret these rushed canonizations as really those of the by-products of those popes, most visible ones: a canonization of the Council-as-Rapture, and a canonization of the Piero-Marini-”masses.”
    Every new regime needs its saints and heroes, its standards (aesthetics and policy) and language. The Novus Ordo establishment is canonizing its “Fathers,” it turns continuous reform into a policy, and speaks the bland lingo of generalities.
    However,
    Ss. (Almost) John XXIII and John Paul II, Pray for us.

  30. Robbie says:

    Father Zuhlsdorf

    I just wanted to clarify my earlier comment made at 12:14 PM.

    I don’t believe Pope Francis elevated John XXIII solely as an effort to “canonize” VCII. Fra from it. I just think the move, while very worthy, allowed Francis to, as they say, kill two birds with one stone.

    Now, had Francis chosen to elevate Pius XII along with John XXIII, then I think it would have been a stretch to draw any conclusions about VCII.

    I hope that clarifies my view.

  31. OrthodoxChick says:

    As I’m coming to learn more about Pope Francis, I think that he identifies more with Bl. Pope John Paul II as a pope than he does with B16. I think it might even rise to the level of perhaps describing his papacy as “reading Francis through John Paul II”. I think that Pope Francis seems to have great personal affection for Pope Emeritus Benedict, but they don’t seem to have a lot in common as men, nor as popes, other than mutual respect for one another. P.E. Benedict is completely on another level from Pope Francis theologically (as is Bl. Pope JP II, for that matter). B16 always struck me as humble and perhaps even a bit shy being in front of the enormous crowds who come out to see any Holy Father. On the other hand, Pope Francis seems to me to be chasing after the “man of the people” image that always seemed to come so naturally to Bl. Pope John Paul II. That’s not a knock on Pope Francis. I’m not accusing him of desiring the same sort of “rock star” image and following that Bl. JP II had simply for personal satisfaction. But I do think that Francis saw how impactful the public perception was of JP II. The public’s perception of him (JP II) allowed more members of the public to open themselves to his (JP II’s) teaching. And so Pope Francis uses the same crozier favored by Bl. JP II; he goes out into the streets among the people as much as he can; he ducks his security detail a bit and rides in the open-air pope mobile as Bl. JP II did prior to the assassination attempt against him. If there is some harkening back taking place here, it strikes me that it may be Pope Francis who is likened to harken back to the early pontificate of Bl. JP II.

    I was born after the death of Pope John XXIII so I had to go to the Vatican website to read up on him. When I did, I found some qualities of his that I think Pope Francis is also aspiring to, much in the way that I see him aspiring to qualities possessed by Bl. JP II. Pope John XXIII was also a man of the people who valued personally ministering to their corporal and spiritual needs. He was big on ecumenism and open relations with the Eastern church, and in John XXIII’s bio page, it even mentions that “He was present as Bishop in his Diocese of Rome through his visitation of the parishes, especially those in the new suburbs.” “AH!” I say to myself, “another Bishop of Rome!”

    If this is so, it makes sense for Pope Francis to canonize Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II together because in my humble opinion, Pope Francis seems to be attempting to emulate those aspects of both men’s pontificates that Francis most closely identifies with. Maybe we could also read Francis through JP II & John XXIII?

    And that brings us to VII. I agree with everything Fr. Z. said above. And when I add to my reading of Fr. Z.’s interpretation, the things that I have just pondered, it all makes perfect sense to me. Pope Francis received his training in seminary in a post VII world. He’s never going to toss it out the window and go back to life and liturgy pre-V II. But if he’s truly following in the footsteps of JPII and John XXIII, he’s not going to quash the E.F. either. How he deals with traditionalists inside the church vs. those outside of it may turn out to be two horses of very different colors. He may ignore one and reject the other, simply because he has trouble personally relating to either. Time will tell. But viewing him this way helps me to understand where he’s coming from a bit better than I did before. He’s clearly sending the message to the world that VII is here to stay by canonizing both Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II together.

  32. contrarian says:

    I agree that this is, in reality, the canonization of the council. Paul VI will come soon.

    It is what it is.

    A comment above said that this will cause gnashing of teeth among traditionalists. Well, regardless of the gnashing, it will certainly cause many to sigh and pray. It will cause others to reluctantly part ways. The sedevacantist numbers will grow because of this, no doubt.

  33. akp1 says:

    I actually had a miracle from praying to Pope JPII after he died; a very personal one within my family so only about three people know about it – but it was a clear miracle. I felt rather bad in a way because I hadn’t valued him as much as I should have as a Pope. It was only afterwards when the most beautiful testimonies were coming out that I ‘got to know’ him a bit. But still, God willed to grant me what I asked through his intercession.

  34. Mike says:

    I understand that today the way was also cleared for the beatification of Alvaro del Portillo, the first Prelate of Opus Dei. Given Don Alvaro’s humility in his earthly life, he must be pleased that his clearance, so to speak, for beatification was announced on the same day as John XXIII and JPII.

  35. ncstevem says:

    It seems to me that in recent times those offering awards, honors, titles, etc. to groups or individuals do so in an attempt to legitimize the ‘achievements’ of said honorees and in doing so seem rather insecure about those achievements.

    Hence we have a Rock & Roll HOF – never heard of a Jazz or Classical music HOF even though both of those music forms require much better musicianship. The music speaks for itself – not so much when it comes to R & R.

    The current POTUS was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize even though he demonstrated no accomplishments worthy of such an award.

    Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock, Maya Angelou, Allen Ginsburg, Cornell West, Pablo Picasso are just a few examples of third rate (at best) artists and writers who’ve been lauded for their works.

    I think the same is true of those Catholics who feel the need to apply the title ‘Great’ to the prior pope when in actuality his pontificate was a disaster for the Church. I think this is what motivates the same people to think it’s a good idea for the Church to canonIze him so quickly after his death. Unfortunately his canonization doesn’t undo the damage done to the Faith by his decisions to OK Holy Communion in the hand, altar tom-boys, Assisi I & II etc. to name a few.

  36. Lori Pieper says:

    If you really want to know why Pope John XXIII is being canonized, read his Journal of a Soul. Amazing spiritual journal that is, yes, by a saint. [No one is a judge in his own cause.]

    Then there is this — written by a Pope who is on the ladder just behind him, so to speak.

    http://subcreators.com/blog/2008/06/29/87/

  37. netokor says:

    On a lighter note, it’s a miracle that “Cuauhtlatoatzin” was not misspelled. Your Nahuatl is outstanding, Fr. Z. If I had any influence I would grant you honorary Aztec citizenship :-)

    [Thanks! I am already having an urge to cut someone's living heart out.]

  38. Giuseppe says:

    @OrthodoxChick – I agree that Francis seems to bear a closer kinship to John Paul II than to Benedict XVI. While Benedict seems like a beloved teacher, both JP II and Francis seem like beloved pastors.

    @Supertradmum – While Humane Vitae is a well-written encyclical, its author had many other ‘achievements’ during his papacy, including presiding over the institutional desecration of the liturgy. If Paul VI becomes a saint, then is there any pope who does not merit the title?

  39. Scott Woltze says:

    Johnny Domer said it best…

  40. Peter in Canberra says:

    festina lente.

  41. jacobi says:

    “as an additional interpretive lens, for a proper hermeneutic of reform.”

    The solution is quite simple, a “Syllabus of Errors” covering the many false interpretations of Vatican II

  42. tcreek says:

    It seems that the reign of John Paul II made 1/3 of Catholics feel good about something or other while 1/3 were abandoning the Faith and 1/3 were wondering what was going on.

  43. Jim in Seattle says:

    I agree with @Johnny Domer. Feel melancholy with this.

  44. snoozie says:

    Johnno and Giuseppi….MAJOR golf clap.

    Only one thing to add @Supertradmum — Even Caiaphas prophesied correctly once, as befit his office. Not sayin’!…..just sayin’.

  45. Priam1184 says:

    That is true tcreek and a very good way of putting it. He was elected when I was one year old and the only pope I ever knew for most of my life and I thought that John Paul II was fantastic. Looking back now, and having gained a better perspective on the grand sweep of Church history since then, I wonder though. I know that he came from what was then a Communist country and did much work to oppose the Soviet Union and so got a lot of credit when it fell, but many of the evils of Communism have now taken root in the Western world so I’m not entirely sure that there was this need of an instant canonization.

  46. TaylorKH says:

    Fr. Z stated, “[How nice to know so much about what the Holy Spirit has been up to! o{];¬) ]”

    I hope it helps – for your good :-)

    [It sure gave me a glimpse into your future participation here! o{];¬) ]

  47. Sam Schmitt says:

    @Johnny Domer

    I’m confused by your comment since you cannot separate John Paul II’s teaching from Vatican II. He made it abundantly clear from his first encyclical that VII was the blueprint for his pontificate. So it’s strange that you like John Paul II’s “positive impact” but then lament VII – it was part and parcel of his teaching! I’m not sure there’s a document issued by him that does not reference the Council.

    Perhaps you mean to say that the (supposed) bad effects of the Council happened in spite of John Paul’s efforts – otherwise I don’t know how you can reconcile your two points.

  48. “I think the same is true of those Catholics who feel the need to apply the title ‘Great’ to the prior pope when in actuality his pontificate was a disaster for the Church”
    His Pontificate was such a disaster that God permitted 2 miracles to be attributed to him so he could be canonized by Pope Francis.
    You wouldn’t care to spell out this disaster would you?

  49. stephen c says:

    I was hoping that John Paul and Archbishop Lefebvre would be canonized on the same day but that hope looks unlikely now. Anyway, the speed does not bother me, this is an age of martyrs (some of whom John Paul personally knew) and ages of martyrs don’t need to be overly slow with their canonizations, even if the saint is only a friend of martyrs, as Karol Wojtyla was (although only God knows to what extent John Paul, in imitation of a martyr saint, accepted or offered up the agonies associated with Parkinson’s to save a friend or two from martyrdom or worse). Also, congrats to Father Zuhlsdorf, who is, I think, a friend of a friend of the new saint-to-be; I am at best a friend at four or five removes, and even that distant connection makes me, in a not important but also not trivial way, joyful. Finally, whatever mistakes John Paul made (in my possibly incorrect estimation, these included having close anti-Semitic friends whose hatred of Jews rudely insulted the Virgin Mary, and over-indulging his Polish anger against Soviet evildoers to such an extent that he overlooked the anger he should have felt against non-Soviet anti-communist evildoers), he made fewer mistakes than almost anyone else I have ever met or heard of would have.

  50. Priam1184 says:

    @boxerpaws1952 : If you want to make that argument then one could just as easily ask why God DIDN’T permit a second miracle for John XXIII? It is better if we just don’t go there. The ancient process of canonization does wonderful things for the Church, giving all of us sinners here on earth examples to live by and souls to pray to and be sure in seeking the intercession of. However, to avoid these sorts of controversies, it would be better to wait until everyone involved has been dead for a long time before the official canonization. Doesn’t stop anyone from asking the intercession of anyone they please, but the speed of this (while he suffered much in his life John Paul was not a martyr) is just unnerving.

  51. I am confident that His Holiness Pope Francis or one of his successors will also give Pope John Paul II the title DOCTOR and furthermore, the LUMINOUS DOCTOR or DOCTOR OF LIGHT just as Saint Thomas Aquinas is known as the ANGELIC DOCTOR; St. Bonaventure as the SERAPHIC DOCTOR, et al. Not only did JP2 give the Church the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary but he also, as Fr.Z. so aptly and succinctly explains, gives the proper LIGHT to interpret and understand the Second Vatican Council.

  52. jeff says:

    @Johnny Domer: BRAVO! I couldn’t have put it better myself.

    I, too, am an early 80s baby and I am sick to death of hearing senior churchmen constantly raising their glasses to Vatican II. VatII didn’t say anything particularly intersting, (the provisions for the eastern rites were good, but would have happened anyway) and I think that a fair minded analysis would have to conclude that Vatican II has failed in its stated objective to make the teachings relevant to the “modern man”. That ship’s sailed folks.

  53. CharlesG says:

    I agree with those who say liberals will use the canonizations to put the most liberal spin on these two popes and hence the VII Council. Those defending an hermeneutic of reform in continuity must be ready with the counterarguments, e.g., “but St. John XXIII specifically spoke of “aggiornamento” in his speech as being about how the faith is presented to the modern world, not changing the truths of the faith as set forth in the sacred deposit based on Scripture and Tradition as authentically interpreted by the Magisterium…”

  54. Gus Barbarigo says:

    Wasn’t blood drawn from JPII out of hatred of the faith, twice! (Being famously shot on the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, and later, being stabbed indoors by a man in vestments, perhaps a priest – when JPII removed his vestments following the mass after the stabbing, it was found that the attack drew blood.)

    Don’t two instances of near-Red Martyrdom “count” in the canonization process?! I hope arm-chair Devil’s Advocates against the canonization of JPII will ponder the physical courage of the man in witness of the faith. (Not to mention his ordeal with Parkinson’s in the age of euthanasia!)

  55. Andrew says:

    The canonization miracle obtained through John Paul’s intercession, took place on May 1, 2011, which was the day he was beatified in Rome, by Pope Benedict, on the feast of Divine Mercy, something John Paul had established, following a direct recommendation in a private revelation from Our Lord, to St Faustina Kowalska.

    This miracle took place to a woman in Costa Rica who was sent home from the hospital, after suffering a cerebral aneurism, with no hope of recovery. An extraordinary happening.

    A few days before the beatification, I was telling my online friends that I hope he blesses you in some way through this event. But on that day something extraordinary happened to me, as well.

    I won a church raffle, at a day of devotions to commemorate the feast of Divine Mercy, and celebrate John Paul’s beatification. Mine was the winning ticket of 1500 sold, and I only bought the one. The prize was a beautiful hand carved image with a base, of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Never in my life, had I won anything before. I didn’t think about it then, but now I believe, this blessing was obtained through John Paul’s intercession. The fact that the authenticated miracle happened on the same day, confirms me in this belief. THANK YOU, SOON TO BE SAINT JOHN PAUL.

  56. Phil_NL says:

    I think we’re not keeping one crucial fact in mind enough: Saints are made in Heaven, by Heaven, rather than by Popes. The Holy Father can merely make public what is already an established fact. And of course, popes can – and from time to time do – play politics with the timing of the canonizations – with the ‘publication’ here on earth, as it were. But I think we shouldn’t discount the possibility that the Pope simply prayerfully reflected on the matter, and was inspired to believe this was the right timing for both.

    Any reading of ours regarding the timing may very well have nothing to do with the reasons we ascribe to them. The true reasons may be more exalted, or quite pity, and we’ll never know.
    What we do know is that many groups with an agenda will claim the papal decisions fit their own agenda (including their use to attack the papacy). I’m not so sure we should join one of these many choruses.

    As for VII, of course St JP II did the lion’s share in interpreting it. But his interpretations were quite authorative enough by their nature as papal documents (unlike some of a more traditionalist stripe, I don’t think it’s a good idea to throw around infallible interpretations left and right, especially since the vatican has such enormous trouble being very precise in what they mean. But the general direction is more than clear enough, and – for the most – is enough). That JP II is a saint doesn’t, or at least shouldn’t, add weight to his writings; the man is canonized, not his pen. Which brings me to the last point: neither is his track-record for management being canonized. And that returns us squarely to VII as well: while we can debate the interpretations of VII, that’s not where the real problem lies: the true problem is the trainwreck of its implementation. And that’s a wholly separate issue from any canonizations.

  57. robtbrown says:

    Geoffrey says
    I believe you are correct, Father, in thinking that Benedict XVI would have done the same thing. In reference to the magisterial writings of Bl. John Paul the Great . . .

    If a flourishing Church (international growth, faithful Catholics, faithful priests and bishops, religous houses and seminaries full) is the criterion for appending “the Great” to any pope, then Pius XII would seem to me the most deserving of any recent pope.

  58. robtbrown says:

    Imrahil says:

    1. Let the traditionalists, instead of grind and gnash their teeth, remember that the decisive point of a canonization is that the person canonized is now in Heaven.

    2. As an addition, and excuse if that is a repetition: a canonization is not an infallible utterance that it itself should have taken place.

    1. NB: the proclamation of Heroic Virtues precede any canonization.

    2. Isn’t this true of any infallible act (papal or conciliar)?

  59. robtbrown says:

    Fr Jackson,

    1. The canonization process is not essentially related to the pope canonizing or beatifying someone. He can beatify someone who has not met the criteria of the process or not beatify someone who has. Fra Angelico and Duns Scotus are examples of the first (although the beatification was not the usual formal act, and, from what I have heard, Pius XII is an example of the second.

    2. I don’t think JPII can be blamed in any way for the sex scandals–I don’t think there is any evidence that he ignored them. I do think, however, that a good argument can be made that he didn’t do enough to reform the Church.

  60. MikeM says:

    I think that people are too quick to call VII a failure. The alternative to Vatican II was not to remain in the 50s. In hindsight, I think it’s clear that certain things should have been made more explicit, but the Church would have faced a (perhaps slightly different) battery of problems had it tried to maintain its pre-VII course. The most pernicious liberalizing forces within the Church were on the move before Vatican II… they shouldn’t be blamed on the council. And the changes in the broader society would have happened without the council.

    I also think that, historically, changes in the Church have taken awhile to bear their full fruit. I think that if you look around the Church now, you will see a number of very good trends that are, at least partially, a consequence of the council.

    Was the Council some sort of pinnacle in Catholic history? No. But nor should it be seen as nothing.

  61. robtbrown says:

    OrthodoxChick says,
    Pope Francis received his training in seminary in a post VII world. He’s never going to toss it out the window and go back to life and liturgy pre-V II. But if he’s truly following in the footsteps of JPII and John XXIII, he’s not going to quash the E.F. either.

    He is a Jesuit, and the Society’s approach to liturgy has always tended to be utilitarian. There is little or no emphasis on sanctification through the liturgy (as is found in monasticism, in other orders with common liturgy, and in Sacrosanctum Concilium).

  62. Vecchio di Londra says:

    I agree that these canonizations will be taken by many as a celebration of VII. I’m relaxed about that: it won’t alter my thinking or my way of life, nor will it affect my view of VII, and the abuses and heresies to which its ambiguous texts foolishly gave rise.
    Canonizations come and they go; and God’s calendar of saints is so full that we have plenty to choose from for our special personal devotion and affection.

  63. MaximusXVI says:

    I feel good for these 2 men. This canonization means that they are both in Heaven, an important point to keep in mind. However, I feel, as if Pius XII is kind of being kicked under the bus. The Church flourished under his Pontificate, and it was his name which was cited the most in VII, second only to Sacred Scripture. Right now he is Venerable. Do you, Fr. Z, think we will see his beatification, let alone canonization with our lifetime? Fellow readers, what do you think?

  64. Lori Pieper says:

    I don’t think Pius XII is being kicked under the bus at all. He was declared venerable just a couple of years ago, a sign that his cause is very much alive. Maybe the complainers should try prayer through his intercession for their direst needs, because what he needs now is a miracle, right?

  65. robtbrown says:

    MaximusXVI says:

    However, I feel, as if Pius XII is kind of being kicked under the bus. The Church flourished under his Pontificate, and it was his name which was cited the most in VII, second only to Sacred Scripture. Right now he is Venerable. Fellow readers, what do you think?

    There has been opposition to his beatification. Some of it is Jewish (cf. the opposition to Summorum Pontificum and Edith Stein), and some from groups within the Church, incl the Jesuits. The irony is that PXII was very good to the Jesuits, and the Relator of his cause, Peter Gumpel, is a Jesuit.

    NB: The Head Rabbi in Rome from 1939-45, Israel Zolli, because a Catholic, taking the name of Eugenio in honor of Pius XII (Eugenio Pacelli).

  66. robtbrown says:

    Also: JPII was supposed to have said that he was determined to beatify PXII.

  67. Imrahil says:

    Dear @robtbrown No. 2: certainly.

  68. John Paul II’s fearless and heroic witness to the faith in a world many of whose inhabitants are charmed by secularism, materialism, and consumerism, in short, the culture of death.” Amen! His whole life spoke volumes.

    It seems that the reign of John Paul II made 1/3 of Catholics feel good about something or other while 1/3 were abandoning the Faith and 1/3 were wondering what was going on.” I’m not sure i’d attribute the 1/3 abandoning the faith to John Paul II. Chances are they probably would have left anyway.No matter who was Pope.
    The 1/3 wondering what was going on probably didn’t look very deeply into the faith anyway;regardless of who was Pope. I didn’t admire Blessed John Paul II because he made me feel good.I admired him for his courageous stands and heroic life.
    In fact,his Pontificate had a mixture of human failings and various triumphs.I would NOT however,characterize his Pontificate as a failure. Two different things.
    “2. I don’t think JPII can be blamed in any way for the sex scandals–I don’t think there is any evidence that he ignored them. I do think, however, that a good argument can be made that he didn’t do enough to reform the Church.” Exactly.Pope Benedict took that up and Francis will most likely continue.
    “However, to avoid these sorts of controversies, it would be better to wait until everyone involved has been dead for a long time before the official canonization. Doesn’t stop anyone from asking the intercession of anyone they please, but the speed of this (while he suffered much in his life John Paul was not a martyr) is just unnerving.”
    I’m not sure i see the speed that you do…after all we’re talking about a whole lifetime here.
    I get your points but i have to disagree that John Paul was not a martyr.

  69. Post Script: We have been blessed by 3 unique and wonderful Popes.John Paul II,Benedict and Francis.
    Remember when John Paul II was first elected? Karol who? Then we heard what a softie he was going to be.
    Then Benedict. The media went insane. The German “Rottweiler” -and we heard what a ‘toughie’ he was going to be.
    Finally Francis where the big deal was his black shoes, his asking for a blessing(and the surrounding controversy)which he wasn’t and last, but by no means least, how he was going to throw Marini under the bus. Hasn’t happened yet has it?

  70. maryh says:

    Perhaps I can provide another perspective on Vatican II. I remember altar rails and Latin and communion on the tongue when I was a girl – sometime in my pre- or early teens, we had Vatican II and it started to change. I was well enough catechized to know what I was supposed to believe, but not well enough catechized to answer the challenges being offered by the secular world.

    I honestly thought women priests and the acceptance of contraception were just a matter of time – basically just a matter of time until the next pope. And then the next pope was John Paul I, followed in rapid succession by John Paul II.

    And you know what? He didn’t change anything (from my perspective – I didn’t see the changes in the liturgy as all that important at the time). He not only didn’t allow the ordination of women, he issued a document that came about as close to an ex cathedra document as you can get without actually being one, saying that women couldn’t be ordained. And no change in the doctrine on contraception. And then, the Theology of the Body, which started to make sense of the Church’s teachings to me. And then, he just kept on being pope, for years and years.

    It occurred to me that the Church really wasn’t going to change its teachings. And sometime in there I left the Church for that reason, and then about ten or so years later, after disregarding the Church’s teachings I disagreed with, and an abortion, came back. For the very same reason I left – the teachings I disagreed with that the Church didn’t change.

    So what does that have to do with Vatican II? Three things seem obvious to me post Vatican II.

    First, that probably the majority of Catholics don’t even know what their faith says, anymore, let alone how to defend it.

    Second, that way more Catholics know how to defend their faith than did before Vatican II.

    Third, that lay people are much more likely to take an active stand in getting together and getting things done for the faith. La Leche League (yes, I know, not just Catholic, and not really post Vatican II); the Couple to Couple League; Christopher West; TLM societies; pro-life activism.

    The laity doesn’t automatically accept anything a priest says anymore, which I think is a major part of how we got into the post-Vatican II mess in the first place. We’ve learned to check whether the priest is actually correct in what he’s saying on matters of dogma and Church law – and given the clear documentation we have in the Church,we can actually do that (even more easily now with the internet).

    And the most active laity are precisely the traditionalists. Which makes sense. After all, if all you want to do is help the poor, you don’t need a church to do that.

    So I can see some of the good coming from Vatican II. I’m not convinced that if only the Church had held a hard line (how much more hard-line could you get than Humanae Vitae? and that didn’t seem to make a bit of difference), or if only VII hadn’t happened, we’d be much better off. But then, we never know what “would have happend.”

  71. Fr Z states,” Can we separate a servant of God’s personal virtues, etc., from the effectiveness, the actual results, of how she performed in here state in life?” Mother Therese ““God has not called me to be successful; He has called me to be faithful.”
    and put another way, “I think we’re not keeping one crucial fact in mind enough: Saints are made in Heaven, by Heaven, rather than by Popes. The Holy Father can merely make public what is already an established fact. ”

    [What Bl. Teresa said, alas, doesn't make any difference. What makes a difference is what the theologians and the members of the Congregation for Causes of Saints think... when it comes to causes.]

  72. netokor says:

    There’s a popular saying in Mexico when we refer to someone with whom we’re not thrilled: “No es santo de mi devoción.”

    I’m not thrilled about any of this, and these two popes probably will not literally be “saints of my devotion.” I can’t disassociate them from the Novus Ordo Mass and altar girls. The Holy Mass has suffered. No one seemed to care anything about protecting its sacredness. I humbly say: ¡Que viva el Papa Emérito Benedicto!

  73. phlogiston says:

    Bravo to Johnny Domer.

    As for the canonization endorsing the “magesterium” of JP II, I agree. ( An interesting word choice Father Z. A separate magesterium for an individual pope? That kind of sounds like a hermeneutic of rupture on steroids. ;-) But I think I know what you mean.) [I'll take into consideration when I can convince everyone commenting here to use the same spelling of "magisterium". o{];¬) ] For good or for ill, it will do that. While there may be much that is good in such a “magesterium” such as the commitment to the pro-life effort, there is much that is bad also, such as allowing Buddhists to pray to a statue of Buddha in a Catholic Church or kissing that filthy book, the Koran (to show we can be friends with people who want to burn “infidel” children alive). And confusion will continue.

  74. servusmariaen says:

    If Blessed John Paul II has been giving us the light for a proper interpretation of Vatican II all along, why does Bishop Athanasius Schneider make a call for a “new syllabus” that would clarify it and condemn misinterpretations of Vatican II? If it is indeed true that Blessed John Paul II has already through his teaching and pronouncements given us sufficient clarity to know what the Council the “real Council” actually says and teaches, then isn’t the call for a new Syllabus superfluous? I was always under the impression that a council is read in the light (interpreted) by the previous Councils and pronouncements…..

    I have always seen the move to beatify and canonize the post conciliar pontiffs as a means to solidify and “canonize” Vatican II. I’m with Mr Domer (and I was born in 1966)… I’m tired of being told by a certain generation about the great virtues and glories of Vatican II. I’ve lived all my life in the shadow of it’s aftermath. I’m still trying to figure out what all the excitement and need for a communal affirmation of it is all about.

  75. Bea says:

    Santa Claus (AKA St. Nicholas of Myra) is still my favorite hero for combatting heresies.
    Wouldst that we had more defenders of the heresy of modernism to slap down our present day Arians, instead we canonize them. PJPII and PJXXIII may have been saints, personally, but I don’t see them as such, in light of what the Church inherited from them.

    @netokor:
    Yo también digo: “no son santos de mi devoción”

    @servusmariaen:
    “I have always seen the move to beatify and canonize the post conciliar pontiffs as a means to solidify and “canonize” Vatican II.”
    My husband and I have also, held this view since its inception.

    I believe history will show that Vatican II was heretical in its ambiguity alone.
    Maybe Card. Kaspar in the future will be canonized for being the only one (so far) to admit that VII was ambiguous on purpose.
    Some people I know think Vatican II is looked upon (mistakenly) as “Pentecost II” for Vatican II is more often quoted than the authority of the bible.

  76. i was going to making any commentary on Vatican II and just share thoughts on the good news about John Paul II. Now i want to jump in with both feet-the attacks on JPII are horrible. We should be absolutely joyous and yet we get glum and angry.For the young who could care less about Vatican II you may want to read the documents.
    We had a poster who remembers it well.She wrote:
    “And you know what? He didn’t change anything (from my perspective – I didn’t see the changes in the liturgy as all that important at the time). He not only didn’t allow the ordination of women, he issued a document that came about as close to an ex cathedra document as you can get without actually being one, saying that women couldn’t be ordained. And no change in the doctrine on contraception. And then, the Theology of the Body, which started to make sense of the Church’s teachings to me. And then, he just kept on being pope, for years and years. ”
    I too remember John XIII and the Vatican Council II as well as the traditional Mass.The problem was not Vatican II.The problem was liberals taking leeway and using Vatican II as an excuse. With or without Vatican II the liberals would have taken this leeway. They just had something to use as an excuse;if not Vatican II they would have found something else. The media jumped into the fray and characterized Vatican II FOR the Church(they’re still at it). Why anyone listens to these ppl-media-is beyond me.
    The Traditionalists point to Vatican II and do the opposite. While the libs use it as an excuse,the trads use it to lay blame. It’s the cause of all the problems in the Church.Not so ppl. Humanae Vitae speaks volumes to this day but a lot of ppl rejected it and went the secular route.Not because of Vatican II-because they wanted to.I know-i went the route of the person i quoted.Left the Church and returned for all the same reasons.These choices had nothing to do with the Vatican Council.i can say with certainty that it was a positive thing that the Church reached out to have the laity become more involved. There were a lot of pew warmers like me back when.My convert husband attended Mass before Vatican II. He was clueless & didn’t go back..He attended after and became a convert. It wasn’t THE reason-there were other factors and PEOPLE that led to his conversion(i wasn’t one of them.We met after). Unfortunately there was a lot of poor catechesis at the same time too.I give Blessed John Paul and Benedict the XVI for getting it back on track. Now there’s no reason not to get good catechesis.It’s out there. Further, i think that is where the New Evangelization fits in.Once we are catechized well enough we have to reach out even further.We,meaning ALL of us. Not just priests and bishops(of course they’re included!)but the foot soldiers.We have to take those teachings of Humanae Vitea,Theology of the Body, The Catechism of the Catholic Church etc. and reach out to Catholics and non Catholics. I just wish there wasn’t glum and anger over the announcement of John Paul II’s canonization. Had no idea this was how we were supposed to react knowing someone was in heaven.

  77. DB1995 says:

    Fr. Z …Sorry for being a few days late to these posts, but that’s what happens when you’re off the grid for a week … At any rate, while a previous commenter noted (now) Bl. don Alvaro’s beatification in the same decree, what was not noted and what many don’t realize is the role that the first prelate (and successor of S. Josemaria as head of Opus Dei) played in the drafting of the texts of Vatican II. (N.B. He was involved in the drafting of some outstanding texts, not their abused implementation.) Anyway, (now) Bl. don Alvaro’s role in Vatican II also serves to give further support to your position that, “The decision to canonize Blesseds John XXIII and John Paul II at the same time, at the time when we are observing the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, is a kind of “canonization” of the Second Vatican Council.”

  78. janeway529 says:

    Can’t wait for Popes Pius XII and Paul VI to be beatified together. :P

  79. maryh says:

    @boxerpaws1952
    Yes. It really crystallized my thinking when you said the liberals just used VII as an excuse to do what they wanted anyway, and if there hadn’t been a VII, they would have used something else. And at least in the US (and maybe the western world?), I have the feeling it could easily have ended up about as bad as it has been anyway.

    Listen, here’s something that I remember that I don’t think you younger folks realize. People, I mean ordinary people, just didn’t question priests. If a priest said something was so, it was so. Yes, a lot of bad changes were made in the name of Vatican II, but people went along with it because the priests said so. And the priests (and bishops) said a lot of things that were wrong. People didn’t look up the Council documents and read through everything until they realized there was nothing there about getting rid of Latin or receiving the Eucharist in the hand. We could easily have been misled even without a Vatican II Council around being misinterpreted.

    It may be forty years late, but they’re forty years that have proved to a lot of us who fell for modernism that the Church was right after all. And Vatican II and JPII and BXVI gave us the true lay empowerment (which has nothing to do with giving clerical tasks to laity – what an insult!), the reasoning, and the tools to discern what the faith really says and then to do what we need to do, and what we know how to do specifically because we are lay people.

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  81. phlogiston says:

    (…and here I was so proud of myself for getting “hermeneutic” right. Sigh.)

  82. Athanasius says:

    I have to say, with the pontificate of Pope Francis thus far, I feel as if we picked right back up with where JPII ended. For the sake of my faith its necessary to just ignore the whole thing. [?] The magisterium can pontificate all it wants about Vatican II, it may be hear to stay, but I’m not paying any attention to an ambiguous pastoral council stuck in the 60′s which declared no doctrine to which I must assent, and is little more on the level of authority than a sunday sermon from some hippie priest rambling without notes. [Okay! You do that.] He can go on all he wants, I’m sticking with the Fathers, doctors of the Church, the Theologians and the Manuals and the dogmatic councils of the Church, that is the whole Tradition where there are inestimable riches far beyond anything some 60′s liberal in some psychedelic state could imagine are in Vatican II. [Why is your choice only between ignoring V2 or else interpreting it like an agin-hippy?] If there is an error or even lack of clarity in the proximate rule, it is incumbent on an orthodox Catholic to rely on the remote rule until God straightens the situation out. [?] As St. Thomas notes, one is not able to follow a member of the magisterium blindly and ignorantly (III Sent., D 25 q. 2 a. 1d ad 3.) [Tu enim dixisti.]

  83. Athanasius says:

    [Why is your choice only between ignoring V2 or else interpreting it like an agin-hippy?]

    Because hippies like Congar and Kung wrote a good amount of it, its explication has been by people hopelessly stuck in the 60′s, the documents themselves are hopelessly stuck in the 60s except on those points where they merely re-iterate what has always and everywhere been believed, such as in Dei Verbum where it affirms Scripture and Tradition are the primary sources of revelation, or in Lumen Gentium 25 where it affirms what has always been taught by the theologians on the infallibility of bishops in common. But why do I need Vatican II on those things when it is put more eloquently and more succinctly in the manuals by saints, rather than by Yves Congar who frequently denies dogmatic facts? Why waste time with an ambiguous council when I can read all of St. Robert Bellarmine in the de controversiis, and any number of holy writers whose erudition you or I could never match? That is why I would rather ignore (not deny) Vatican II. I just don’t care, and what is contained in the Tradition is so much more beautiful, glorious, and harmonious with the the deposit handed down to the Apostles than a Council where the Pope who promulgated it couldn’t even explicate it correctly. That’s not a joke, Paul VI in a Wednesday Audience of 26 March 1969 said “And the whole of the dogmatic Constitution ‘Dei Verbum’ is an apologia of the Holy Scriptures, as the supreme rule of faith (n.21)” -L’Osservatore Romano, Weekly edition in English, 3 April 1969, pg. 10) That is completely contrary to the text of Dei Verbum which says “She has always maintained them [Scripture] and continues to do so, together with sacred tradition, as the supreme rule of faith.” (dv n.21, my emphasis). Moreover Scripture can’t be the supreme rule of faith since it is a means of transmission, God is the supreme rule of faith. Therefore the Pope who promulgated Dei Verbum a) doesn’t know what is in it (probably speaking off the cuff and didn’t realize it) and b) is confused on a major dogmatic fact, the regula fidei. The Pope who promulgated it couldn’t get it right, why bother with any of it? Frankly I can’t. They can keep the peace and love gobbdly-gook, I’ll take the clarity of St. Thomas and St. Robert Bellarmine.

    [Tu enim dixisti.]

    Cor meum inquietum erat, donec sine Vaticano concilio secundo requievit. [That's not going to happen. So, I'll give you the Bitter Fruit Award in anticipation of your future unhappiness.]

  84. Athanasius says:

    Enim vero, cum te argumentum non refellere, fortasse esse meliorem si limum iacias! Nimis beneficus fores ad profitendas moestas futuras meas quasi fiant. Cum non offensus sim, saepe cerevisiam amaram meliorem esse dulciore, proferam, si ignores.

    Revera, non jocor. Abhinc abieci omnem cogitationem quae vaticano secundo pertinet, veram pacem cognoverim. Paucis annis te de rebus certioriabo, licet si tam bonus sis quam Cassandra tunc mortem accivero. Nihilo setius, sine pudore locuto, arrisionem in malis meis (nullis fructibus amaris!) pingam oremque tibi cum omnibus spiraminibus quae ab pipa mea ascendant. : ) Miser, disces.

  85. Fr Jackson says:

    Dear Fr Z. I only just returned from a short trip and saw your question for me above near the top of the comments: “Does the SSPX not accept that canonizations are infallibly pronounced?”
    The whole point of being SSPX is to be able to believe and preach what the Church always has, even if the political currents of the day might make such preaching “out of season.” So, to best answer your question, let me start by quoting the Catholic Encyclopedia on this topic (Article on Beatification and Canonization):
    “Is the pope infallible in issuing a decree of canonization? Most theologians answer in the affirmative. (…) In Quodlib. IX, a. 16, St. Thomas says: “Since the honour we pay the saints is in a certain sense a profession of faith, i.e., a belief in the glory of the Saints (…) we must piously believe that in this matter also the judgment of the Church is not liable to error.” These words of St. Thomas, as is evident from the authorities just cited, all favouring a positive infallibility, have been interpreted by his school in favour of papal infallibility in the matter of canonization, and this interpretation is supported by several other passages in the same Quodlibet. This infallibility, however according to the holy doctor, is only a point of pious belief. Theologians generally agree as to the fact of papal infallibility in this matter of canonization, but disagree as to the quality of certitude due to a papal decree in such matter. In the opinion of some it is of faith (…) others hold that to refuse assent to such a judgment of the Holy See would be both impious and rash (…) many more (and this is the general view) hold such a pronouncement to be theologically certain, not being of Divine Faith as its purport has not been immediately revealed, nor of ecclesiastical Faith as having thus far not been defined by the Church.”
    Some of our readers might already be familiar with the concept of the theological degrees of certitude that this article is referring to. (Dr Ludwig Ott has a nice summary on it at the beginning of his well-known work.)
    One of the very “out of season” things that the SSPX is still free to preach about is the scandal to the whole Church and the sins against the first commandment committed by Pope John Paul II at Assisi in 1986 and similar events – e.g. kissing the Koran, receiving signs from a priestess of Siva, allowing statues of the Buddha to be placed on the tabernacle in a Catholic church and venerated, etc.
    As a very personal conclusion, if I had to make a choice between – on the one hand – accepting these public acts of JPII as good things, and – on the other – the “impious opinion” (according to the Catholic Encyclopedia) that perhaps something had gone wrong in the canonization process that rendered it non-infallible, I might just opt for the second possibility, since it is not of “ecclesiastical Faith” nor defined by the Church.