PETITION TO POPE FRANCIS: Declare St. John Paul II “Doctor of the Church”!

JP2-Doctor-of-Church-Call-To-ActionI, Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, do hereby petition our Holy Father, Pope Francis, to declare St. John Paul II

Doctor of the Church.

I ask that St. John Paul II, who instituted the Feast of Divine Mercy, be declared Doctor of the Church on the Feast of Divine Mercy 2016, one liturgical year from today, and that he be endowed with the title

Doctor Misericordiae.

St. John Paul II should be a Doctor of the Church, because of the outstanding quality and the comprehensiveness of his opus, which includes philosophy, theology, poetry, and even drama.

St. John Paul II’s Magisterium serves, among other things, as an authoritative and comprehensive commentary on the Second Vatican Council.

His numerous encyclicals touch nearly all aspects of human life.  Consider his defense of life, his defense of the Truth of Catholic teaching, his efforts toward the liberation of millions from Communist tyranny, his merciful correction of errant theologians for the protection of the faithful, his social teaching, and his defense of marriage and of the family (e.g, in Familiaris consortio).

He issued the Catechism of the Catholic Church and revised the Code of Canon Law for both the Latin and Eastern Churches.  Most of all, consider his defense of the Truth of the Faith through his entire body of teaching while applying it appropriately to our times, not just to the 26 years of his pontificate, but to the 21st century.

Tens of millions, indeed hundreds of millions, look to St. John Paul II as a fixed point of Catholic Truth.

Moreover, Pope Francis, who canonized St. John Paul II, can by this gesture manifest a special relationship with the enduring Magisterium of the Saint during his own pontificate.

As Pope Francis himself wrote in the Bull of Indiction for the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, Misericordiae vultus 11:

Saint John Paul II highlighted the fact that we had forgotten the theme of mercy in today’s cultural milieu….

I urge all the faithful who read this to pray that this come to pass and that they, in their own ways, promote this petition with Pope Francis himself, as well as their local bishops and pastors.

St. John Paul II, pray for us!

#JP2ForDoctor
#Lolek4Doctor

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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68 Responses to PETITION TO POPE FRANCIS: Declare St. John Paul II “Doctor of the Church”!

  1. Sonofthunder says:

    I would love to see this happen!

    Fr. Z, in what way can we promote this to our pastor and bishop?

  2. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Doctor Subito, more like…. ;)

    Hmm. Well, there’s a lot to say for this proposal. Theology of the Body and a bunch of other influential explications of Church teaching, a lot of which is going to be influential for centuries, and a lot of which does deal with proper understanding of God’s mercy and His many gifts to us.

    But also, because then-Bishop Wojtyla was one of the prime movers and shakers behind getting Divine Mercy materials translated properly, and thus freeing up a devotion and clearing its devotees of any shadow of dishonor; as well as starting things and then clearing the path for St. Faustina’s canonization, which as Pope he ended up doing himself. :)

    My personal inclination would be to wait and see how things go in a century or two. But I know a lot of people are more steeped in his work than I am; and they would be better placed to say whether they think he’s a Doctor of the Church.

  3. Geoffrey says:

    Amen! I heartily second this petition to His Holiness the Pope! I always felt that Saint John Paul the Great could be a Doctor of the Church one day, just for his “Theology of the Body” alone. Fr. Z gave a beautiful summary of this great pontiff’s entire “opus”. How do we get a formal petition started? In multiple languages? No doubt the Polish episcopacy would support such an initiative “en masse”!

  4. Polycarpio says:

    Amen.

  5. Will499 says:

    Amen.

  6. BCSWowbagger says:

    I love JPII, but have always felt it unseemly to declare someone a Doctor of the Church when they’ve been dead for less than 300 years. (With apologies to St. Therese of Liseaux, who was Doctorfied in just 100 years — the fastest on record.) It takes time for the Church to absorb the thoughts of our greatest teachers, and we’ve only had a decade to process Pope St. John Paul the Great’s life and works. (Heck, the best-known interpreter of the Theology of the Body in English is still Christopher West!)

    *shrug* I won’t lose any sleep over it if JPII does get the big promotion, because he’s pretty marvelous, but I like the fact that the Church moves slow on these things.

  7. BCSWowbagger says:

    (Double apologies to St. Therese of Lisieux, since I also mangled the name of her hometown.)

  8. Back pew sitter says:

    He will surely be declared a Doctor of the Church. It is just a matter of when. It seems opportune for Pope Francis to do it now.

  9. No way. This is way too soon. We’ve already begun canonizing much too quickly, mother church is (and must be) slow – she thinks in spans of centuries. Perhaps one day, but please, let’s take our time? Do we really think that if he is declared a doctor of the church that he’ll be more widely read, or understood? Methinks not…

  10. APX says:

    And let’s not forget he unequivocally declared the ordained priesthood was only open to men.

  11. DonL says:

    My heart and my hope says “yes” but I hear this voice in my head that agrees with accidentalthomist; “We’ve already begun canonizing much too quickly…”
    We must take care that popularity and politics don’t make for bad decisions. God bless Saint JPII and the great gift we received from God to have him as our pope at exactly the right time.

  12. iPadre says:

    One BIG Amen!

    15_04_13_iPadre_Dr_Mercy

  13. KAS says:

    I would like that. But I also have read a whole lot of what he wrote and some of those older books were NOT easy to track down so I could have my own copies. Might have been easier if I read Polish or Latin but anything he wrote has to be in English for me. It has ALL been challenging intellectually AND spiritually. Most philosophers bore me, but not John Paul II! His books THE ACTING MAN and LOVE AND RESPONSIBILITY stretched my brain matter like a good workout does the muscles and challenged me to take greater responsibility for every single one of my own thoughts, emotions, and actions. Of course, you could very nearly teach high school theology just by working through his encyclicals. They a beautiful like great literature, and grounded in reality and scripture, and applicable to living life as a Catholic in any situation. His work stands on my shelves with other Doctors of the Church and is in no way out of place there. Lots of us steep our minds and hearts in the work of John Paul II. Perhaps not as many as are needed, but they are out there and I have read books by some of them. I’d dig them out by we start a major five day crash job cleaning and redoing the entire upstairs so many books are in boxes. If you can pray me up some young muscle to jump in and work with me, I might post some authors’ names after my world is back in order.

  14. Great idea! And maybe the same can be done for BXVI (some day), God willing.

  15. Woody79 says:

    Sigh. Et tu, Father, et tu?

  16. kimberley jean says:

    No, it is too soon. Wait 100 years or at the very least until everyone who knew him is dead and calmer, less emotional eyes can examine his writings.

  17. Jacob says:

    Father Z, did you touch upon the subject at the time St. Gregory of Narek was made a Doctor? Maybe you could share your thoughts on why Francis brought him to the forefront and what it means for the Universal Church.

  18. benedetta says:

    Yes!!! Subito!!!

  19. I say JP2 should be declared the LUMINOUS DOCTOR because of his wisdom and writings as well as being the pontiff who inaugurated the luminous mysteries of the rosary. St. Thomas Aquinas is the Angelic Doctor and St. Bonaventure the Seraphic Doctor. Why not Pope St. John Paul, the Luminous Doctor?

    [No. Doctor of Mercy… Doctor Misericordiae. For sure.]

  20. St. Louis IX says:

    Father Z :
    I remember when Pope John Paul II was being consider for Sainthood. You Father Z were admonishing your readers not to lose control, and throw a nutty.
    You told us, have faith Pope Benedict XVI has not committed to anything yet.Things can change; have faith.
    You wrote as one that understood the concerns expressed by your readers, about making John Paul II a Saint.
    Father Z:
    are things so bad in Rome now, that you think making St. John Paul II a Doctor of the Church will check the advance of the Heretics within the Church that are looking to tear down the Sacred Sacrament of Marriage?
    A chastisement is indeed upon us.
    Jesus I trust in You
    Most Sacred Heart of Jesus: Have Mercy on us.
    Most Sacred Heart of Jesus: Have Mercy on us.
    Most Sacred Heart of Jesus: Have Mercy on us.

  21. Giuseppe says:

    Way too fast. And for sainthood as well. That said, it will probably happen in 1-2 years before Pope Francis resigns.

  22. Benedict Joseph says:

    I can surely understand the reasoning behind such a move, but given the track record of the past two years this would have to be balanced out by some candy for the Fishwrap crowd … and that would surely require a rush beatification/canonization scenario — but Abp. Annibale Bugnini might be their perfect candidate.
    In all seriousness, this is a worthy proposal, but it is too soon. Especially in the current climate.

  23. Latin Mass Type says:

    Perhaps it is the End Times and the Church would be right to speed things up…

  24. fionam says:

    I disagree. A good period of time is needed before that title can be attributed to him. If this were to be rushed, it will invalidate all of the other proclamations. The other Doctors of the Church were given that title because their thoughts and work stood the test of time. Please accord St John Paul II that dignity. I firmly believe that Benedict XVI will be proclaimed a Doctor of the Church but I hope, for the same reason, that that too is something that will not be rushed into.

  25. Swanson says:

    “have always felt it unseemly to declare someone a Doctor of the Church when they’ve been dead for less than 300 years”

    My first thought was a minimum of 100 years. Same for new saints. Not till they have been gone 100 years and we have a good prospective on them.

  26. Sword40 says:

    I agree with Giuseppe. “Way too fast”. Why are we always in a rush nowadays to Canonize Popes soon after they pass. Let time do its work. Still waiting for Leo XIII. Cheers.

  27. Geoffrey says:

    For those who say that St John Paul II was canonized “too quickly”, consider that before the process was formalized, some saints were proclaimed so by popular acclamation; remember “santo subito” at St John Paul II’s funeral?

    Also, Saint Francis of Assisi was canonized just 20 months after his death, and Saint Anthony of Lisbon and Padua was canonized less than a year after his death. Do folks take umbrage with these saints?

    And “Doctor Misericordiae” is a good idea. I remember he was being called “the Pope of Mercy” long before that moniker was applied to Pope Francis.

  28. Ann Malley says:

    What happened to patience being a virtue? This emotional rushing in is unwise and not in the tradition of Holy Mother Church. Isn’t it a better test of the actual teachings to see how they play out in their influence over time rather than looking to what in many instances can be an influence of a personality?

    This now, now, now business is too reflective of modern thought, not necessarily truth and wisdom.

  29. Joseph-Mary says:

    And also St. Louis de Montfort whose wonderful Marian spirituality greatly affected St. JPII.

  30. ChrisRawlings says:

    I tend to think that the Theology of the Body was at least as significant as the corpus of St. John Paul’s keen understanding of the role of mercy in the 21st Century. The Theology of the Body masterfully helps Catholics navigate the nouveau Gnosticism of our day while also imparting the Church’s basic understanding of natural law and incarnation theology. To be able to communicate all of that in a compelling and authentic way takes a special grace.

    As I say, masterful. And he was one of the individuals whom God used to bring me into the Church.

  31. Mike says:

    Interesting idea. I would feel better about it if Dame Alice Von Hildebrand were 25 years younger and played a major role in the scholarly organization/translation of his opus.

    Nevertheless, his writings are a rich and extraordinary part of the magisterium.

  32. Elizabeth D says:

    I hereby do endorse this petition for Pope Francis to declare Pope St John Paul II “Doctor Misericordiae”.

    I would also like to propose that Benedict XVI, may he live forever, be a Doctor of the Church also “subito” when he is enjoying the Beatific Vision.

  33. I’m not sure why there is so much talk of how the Church ought to have waited to canonize JP2. Canonizations are acts of the universal (and infallible) papal magisterium. As such, whether His Rome waits 500 yrs or 5 days, we can be 100% certain JP2 is enjoying the beatific vision. As he is definitely a saint, what harm can there possibly be in not having waited?

  34. Doctor of the Church and officially “the Great”!!!

  35. mtwelle says:

    Having St. John Paul II become the Doctor of Mercy is brilliant. The term “mercy” is so often misapplied or overused and having JPII become the Doctor of Mercy would — I think — help take back, so to speak, mercy from those who would abuse it.

    In respect to the Synod on the Family, it would take away the wind from the sails of those who use “mercy” as a bully club to advance their view of Marriage.

  36. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Just introducing the petition would tend to make the point.

    Btw, of course any theologian can have a cool academic nickname, even if never named a Doctor of the Church. Wikipedia actually has a short list!

  37. Supertradmum says:

    Do people understand what Divine Mercy Sunday brings if one has done the required prayers, confession, Mass and Communion? Complete remission of all sins and the punishment due to those sins. This is the indulgence of a second baptism. Today, I start again as if I was a new baby.

    For years, I believed in trad priests who pooh-poohed this, which was wrong of them. I finally came to my senses and realized how magnificence this grace given to the Church through St. John Paul II is.

    His stand against the Communists, specifically, brought down the Soviet Union, imo.

    And, he declared clearly the men-only priesthood. Wish he had not allowed altarbabes.

    However, this very pro-life saint deserves consideration for sure. I am positive the pope following him will be declared such, if there is still a Vatican to declare stuff like this openly.

    As to canonizing too quickly, the people declared this so in Rome, like St. Augustine, and many, many saints, not martyrs were declared saints shortly after death.

    Charles Borromeo, within 23 years, and some saints have been called so and are in the calendar without canonization: Wenceslaus, Margaret of Scotland, Peter Damien, Boniface, John of Avila, Hildegard of Bingen (both Doctors), and Angela of Foligno, as a few examples.

  38. WmHesch says:

    I don’t think Francis has ever referred to JPII as Great/ Magnus- even during the canonization.

  39. Lori Pieper says:

    Beautiful, Father! I am all in favor of John Paul II getting his doctorate summa cum laude as soon as possible. But even if it doesn’t happen right away, it’s important to get the ball rolling.

    (Can I steal your lovely sign for my blog? And when will the T-shirts and car stickers be ready?)

  40. Rachel K says:

    ” “We’ve already begun canonizing much too quickly…”
    We must take care that popularity and politics don’t make for bad decisions. ”

    Much too quickly for what? The Church moves according to need. Fr Z keeps telling us that “something is up” as we see the attacks of the devil increase in number and strength. I agree with him. In light of this it makes sense that the Holy Spirit will move the Church through her members to provide guidance and example to us according to the need we have at this time. F

    For those suggesting that the Church needs to wait another 100-300 years; what makes you think that the world will still be here in that timescale? !

  41. Rich says:

    How do I sign the petition?

  42. mattdiem says:

    He’s jest jesting you guys….roflmbo(rolling on the floor laughing my beretta off)

  43. trespinos says:

    Fr. Trigilio, it is Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI who will be given the title Doctor Pellucidus, in due time, for reasons anyone can understand who has compared his writings with the certainly worthy, but somewhat more opaque writings of St. John Paul II. But as for those who say it is inopportune unless a century has passed, I tend to disagree. My sense is that time has speeded up, and without sounding like an end-of-the-age hysteric, I fear that we simply won’t have the luxury of waiting 100 years before honoring those who have faithfully opened up the Faith’s meaning in our times.

  44. papist says:

    “I’m not sure why there is so much talk of how the Church ought to have waited to canonize JP2. Canonizations are acts of the universal (and infallible) papal magisterium. As such, whether His Rome waits 500 yrs or 5 days, we can be 100% certain JP2 is enjoying the beatific vision. As he is definitely a saint, what harm can there possibly be in not having waited?”

    Prudence. And the fact that it undermines and cheapens the significance of the event when you have the obvious politics behind it involved.

  45. I am inclined to agree that there is no rush, but on the other hand, we of this generation should not hesitate to put our opinions on record right here and now so that when future generations investigate this possibility that evidence can be evaluated. It might also be worthwhile for us to see the fruit of St. John Paul II’s writings; for example, if the Church rebounds on account of those writings and becomes strong and influential again, or if others develop and build on his works, that would be a good case for a declaration of “Doctor of the Church.”

  46. YES!! and one day PBXVI

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  48. Pastor Bonus says:

    And to officially add the title ‘The Great’, which so many already call him. Saint John Paul The Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church.

  49. rush? JPII lived 88 yr .it’s been 10 since his death.TOTAL 98 yrs. what rush?

  50. originalsolitude says:

    Yes! Yes! Yes! Doctor of Mercy! And Doctor of Light! Subito!

    The Theology of the Body definitely qualifies as a gospel of mercy. It frees us by enlightening our understanding of God’s plan for men and women. A wonderful teaching that transformed my whole outlook on life and attitude towards people. But interestingly, a teaching that seems to require special grace to receive. Applying it requires sacrifice and dying to self. But well worth it.

    How does one start a petition?

  51. we don’t make ppl saints-God does. We simply recognize what God has accomplished in people. They are canonized and it is to our benefit. To the benefit of the world that is in need of a particular saint at a particular time.Maybe Saint Pope John Paul II being declared a Doctor of the Church is what the Church and the world needs at this time. Thank you Fr Z for writing this blog and bringing it up.Didn’t think anyone would anytime soon. It had to be you.

  52. Siculum says:

    Here is a ‘Change.org’ petition to crowdsource further support for this petition to Pope Francis, and digitally track our numbers.

    Change.org Petition to Pope Francis to Declare St. John Paul II “Doctor of the Church”

    Please write to doctormisericordiae@gmail.com to provide any suggestions for refinement in this petition, as well as any further ideas for appropriately promulgating it. If we reach 100 petitions, we may explore the option of setting up a simple website and email newsletter to create a small-but-comprehensive, community-based information-only resource for further spreading this initiative at the personal, parish, and diocesan levels, and keep everyone informed throughout the next liturgical year. This initiative is of particular importance as we get closer to the World Meeting of Families and the October 2015 Synod.

    Many, many thanks to Father Z for beginning this. We are also quite willing to hand the digital keys over to someone else if appropriate, i.e. if this petition takes off. Father Z, please also contact us if you are not okay with us using your image.

  53. Stephen Matthew says:

    I second both the petition, and the motion to postpone it for a suitable time.

    I think he will be Doctor, but I am not sure it is right for those who were so close to his life, to pass judgement on his being a Doctor of the Church. He is too big, too famous, still too influential for an unbiased judgement. I am among those born in his pontificate, but I would say even my generation in our old age will still be too much in his shadow to say. It is enough that he is a saint by popular acclamation.

    Let Pope Francis call him a “future doctor of the church” or a declare that he is such in his personal view, but let no official title be bestowed. I very much would love to see it, but it is neither right nor just that I should live to see it. Let the dust settle. Entrust it to the future. Do not be greedy or impatient or untrusting of those who will follow.

  54. I strongly support this proposal.Pope Saint John Paul II is already in reality avDoctor of the Church by virtue of the universal reliance on his teaching in a wide range of areas .He should be accorded the title of Doctor of Mercy in recognition of the facts.

  55. RobS says:

    While I empathize with those who want to tap the brakes, I just don’t see what St. John Paul II has left to prove. Pushing this back would simply be waiting for the sake of waiting IMO.

  56. LarryW2LJ says:

    Seems to me that if St. Pope John Paul II is qualified enough to be declared a Doctor of the Church in 300 years, then he’s qualified to be declared now.

  57. kimberley jean says:

    St. Francis had the stigmata and St. Anthony performed miracles during his lifetime. You really can’t compare their canonizations to that of any saint in our lifetimes.

  58. pj_houston says:

    Seems strange to me that a blog set up to help restore the rich liturgical tradition of the Church that has been lost over the last 40+ years, is now advocating to declare a pope, who oversaw the destruction of that liturgy for 27 of those years, a doctor of the Church. But hey, we’re canonizing everything Vatican II these days, so why the hell not…who am I to judge?

  59. Imrahil says:

    Dear Nathan Barontini,

    what we do know, now, is that Pope St. John Paul II is enjoying right now the beatific vision. Yes.

    But the canonization process is not only about presenting as many possibly candidates where the Pope feels sure enough to make this declaration. There are other factors involved. Why, for example, are so many founders of orders canonized? Is it a special mark of sanctity to found a new institute (compared with, for instance, being a monk or nun and remaining in an existing institute)? Maybe to a degree it is, but the plain main reason is that the new institute naturally will want to venerate their founder and get the Church’s (and God’s) stamp for it.

    I have many reasons to be personally thankful to St. John Paul II. All the same, it can’t be denied that, by now, the non-Catholic world is assuming that canonization is a step that comes somewhat naturally after death for Popes; and it doesn’t take much to see this as problematic (the virtues, say, of the present Pope emeritus set aside).

    And of course, while getting to Heaven is the ordinary outcome of a Catholic life (the contrary has to be regarded as a dreadful exception – and I mean all that in a systematical manner, just to make sure, I’m not saying anything about whatsoever on statistics), being declared a canonized Saint is not – nor is this fact only due to the hiddenness of saintity in everyday life.
    It is a good Catholic life to keep oneself from sin (reasonably successfully), lead a decent civic life, have some children, enjoy friendships and other legitimate pleasures, make your Sunday duties with diligence and call the pastor when about to die; but you won’t get canonized for it. (That is, unless some persecutor should interrupt that idyll of a life and procure to you the crown of martyrdom.)

  60. e.davison49 says:

    I like it. This petition takes “mercy” away from the people who are going to try to undermine the Church’s teachings in the name of false “mercy”! Who was it that during the last Synod said that “Familiaris Consortio” was already out-dated? That is what’s going on! If Pope John Paul were named “Doctor of the Church” people like Kasper wouldn’t be able to throw his teachings on the family and sexuality in the ash can in the name of “mercy”. You people who are running down this idea, and running down Pope John Paul, are giving aid and comfort to the enemy. And if you don’t like that he was canonized so fast, get over yourselves. You aren’t the judges of this and his canonization is a fact. Deal with it.

  61. Andrew_81 says:

    I agree with some commentators, after perhaps 100 years or more, when the Church has had the opportunity to digest and consider the work of a man, then is when he can be considered for candidacy to the altars and the title of Doctor, if due.

    This avoids the all-too-human popular swells which fail to reach below the surface, and too-often are just an act of human devotion or emotion.

    Since the historically slow Church has overcome such by waiting centuries, while we wait to consider the works of John Paul II, might I suggest we petition for another Doctor, first? Now dead just over 100 years:

    Pope St. Pius X.

    A man of genuine humility, sound doctrine, Charity, reformer of Canon Law, priest of priests, man of art (especially music), who fought against the Calvinist-inspiried spirit and opened the ciborium to young children, reformed the liturgy and was crushed under evil the weight of the unfolding World War.

    Such a man that so clearly understand and fiercely condemned Modernism, yet at the same time show such pastoral and fatherly concern to write Haerent animo surely deserves the title of Doctor.

    Such a man as could write:

    Deeply imprinted upon our mind are those dread words which the Apostle of the gentiles wrote to the Hebrews to remind them of the obedience which they owed to their superiors: They keep watch as having to render an account of your souls.

    These grave words apply, no doubt, to all who have authority in the Church, but they apply in a special way to us who, despite our unworthiness, by the grace of God exercise supreme power within the Church. Therefore, with unceasing solicitude, our thoughts and endeavors are constantly directed to the promotion of the well-being and growth of the flock of the Lord.

    Our first and chief concern is that all who are invested with the priestly ministry should be in every way fitted for the discharge of their responsibilities. For we are fully convinced that it is here that hope lies for the welfare and progress of religious life.

    Perhaps we could ask that St. Pius X be named, appropriately, Doctor Piissimus.

  62. Elizabeth D says:
    I would also like to propose that Benedict XVI, may he live forever, be a Doctor of the Church also “subito” when he is enjoying the Beatific Vision.

    Amen!

  63. I also would agree with John Paul 2 being considered a doctor of the Church. His papacy covered a rapidly changing society and he managed to keep the Church on the right course. That was no easy task.

  64. Latinmass1983 says:

    There used to be a time when Popes were not really seen as “pop stars” and real devotion to the Petrine ministry made it possible for people to realize that the standards for those who sat on the greatest of the Apostolic Sees were to be much higher. (Popes who are canonized do not tend to have a real “cultus” as other Saints like St. Teresa of Avila, St. Martin de Porres, St. John Bosco, etc.).

    There used to be a time, also, when the Church realized that the process of canonization was something not to be taken so lightly or to be done so quickly, if anything, because the limited human mind, emotions, and experiences are defective and easily tricked or confused.

    If any and every Pope now is supposed to be beatified, canonized, and almost deified (wait till Pope Francis dies and we’ll see how quickly people will come up for special glorious titles for him as well!), then anything goes and the “record” of the Pope in question will not matter much. This is because the public acclaim will always be indifferent to the process and will focus more on the sentimentality of having met or seen or lived in the times of the Pope in question.

    What has tended to happen in recent times is to focus on one or two specific things a specific Pope did/wrote and then beatify or canonize him for that reason alone (Humanae vitae, convocation of Vatican II, long papacy and assassination attempts, Divine Mercy, a very long Pontificate, etc.). However, all of this is mostly a one-sided type of logic because these things are only applied to very recent Popes while previous Popes (who were undoubtedly Saints, declared dogmas, were persecuted, vilified, etc.) still await the mercy of the recent Popes to decide to canonize them (Pius XII has been and will continue to wait until the mercy of Pope Francis is almost exhausted with the canonization of every body else in the world, whether Catholics or not! John Paul II was Pope for 26 years and he claimed that he wanted to canonize Pius XII, yet he never did it … did he doubt maybe that Pius XII is still not enjoying the Beatific Vision?).

    The standards for canonization have most certainly gown down the drain in these our times and those who are canonized are, in a great part, not really seen as people to have devotion to, but people to praise and exult … not necessarily examples to follow.

    And in such case, then, let anybody and everybody be canonized!

    In this case, the Eastern Orthodox have preceded us as they canonize Patriarchs and Emperors simply because of their positions and one or two good things they did/said for the Eastern churches … regardless of the holiness of their lives as examples to imitate (or not as in the case of St. Photios!).

    (After all, not all the Saints make it to the universal calendar anyway, so there won’t be that silly old problem people used to complain about with the old calendar: too many Saints taking the place of the Mass formulary of the day and of the Sunday.)

  65. Mike H says:

    There are four things that are too wonderful for me, five that I do not understand:
    the way of an eagle in the sky,
    the way of a snake on a rock,
    the way of a ship in the sea,
    the way of a man with a woman,
    and Father Z

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  67. Jitpring says:

    Many are confused about this post. In light of devastating essays like John Vennari’s “The Secret of Pope John Paul II’s Success,” many think this post by Fr. Z must be a joke. Who can verify whether it’s indeed a joke?

    [Orrrrr…. I’m right about all of this. Oh yes… that’s right. I am right. And when you are right you can’t be wrong.]

  68. June says:

    OK, I’ll fess up. I AM confused. I am a convert to the Church since 2009. Pope Benedict became my spiritual guide in 2005, shortly after he was elevated to the throne of St Peter, and eventually led me into the Church. I was almost oblivious to St JPII during his pontificate, but have come to love and admire him for many things since crossing the Tiber. Some of what he has written is surely potentially worth being designated as a doctor of the Church, but those writings have not even had time to be subjected to enough serious scholarly study and debate to fully tease out the best parts. It is not like JPII is simple to read and comprehend at all times. (Just reading Christopher West on Theology of the Body, makes me pretty sure that we need a LOT more scholarly investigation of TOB, because I’m pretty sure CW has not got it quite right!) And on the other hand, there are a some of his decisions and spoken words that leave me flabbergasted. I thought that a doctor of the church was supposed to be someone whose writings and spoken words had stood the test of time and are recommended as doctrinally sound. (Not of course that they have to be perfect.) I took several days to try to reflect on this proposition, and I truly cannot tell if it is a joke or not. It seems that most respondents are treating it like it is for real, but it just doesn’t add up. Maybe I am still too green as a Catholic, but I truly cannot see this as a good thing right now. IT is one thing to canonize people for political reasons, and other strange notions, but a doctor of the Church? I for one am becoming a little less inclined to take canonization, and becoming doctor of the Church, as seriously as I once did. It seems sometimes like these days we are throwing away the baby and keeping the bath water, and not really recognizing the difference. Some things were meant to be tough, and lose their meaning when hastily and easily enacted. But then again, perhaps I am just still too green. I do teach Church History( for about 8 years now), and am not ignorant of the other doctors of the Church and many, many of the saints. But this proposition still puzzles me. Joke or not? Who can say? Father, are you serious?