19 Oct: Beatification of Paul VI (Canonization of Vatican II)

As I thought… the next phase of the canonization of Vatican II will occur 19 October.

I wrote something about the miracle attributed to Paul VI the other day.  Amazing, as they often are.  HERE

From Vatican Radio:

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has approved the promulgation of the decree for the cause of beatification of his predecessor Pope Paul VI. The approval was announced Saturday.

The beatification ceremony is scheduled to take place October 19, 2014, at the conclusion of the III Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the family.

The Holy Father received Cardinal Angelo Amato SDB, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints on Friday afternoon, and authorized the Congregation to promulgate the following decrees :

– The miracle attributed to the intercession of the Venerable Servant of God Paul VI (Giovanni Battista Montini) , the Supreme Pontiff; born September 26, 1897 in Concesio (Italy) and died August 6, 1978 at Castel Gandolfo (Italy);
– The miracle attributed to the intercession of the Venerable Servant of God Luigi Caburlotto , diocesan priest, founder of the Institute of the Daughters of St. Joseph ; born in Venice (Italy) June 7, 1817 and died there July 9, 1897 ;
– The heroic virtues of the Servant of God Giacomo Abbondo, diocesan priest ; born in Salomino (Italy) August 27, 1720 and died in Tronzano (Italy) February 9, 1788 ;
– The heroic virtues of the Servant of God, Giacinto Alegre Pujals, professed priest of the Society of Jesus; born in Terrassa (Spain) December 24, 1874 and died in Barcelona (Spain) December 10, 1930 ;
– The heroic virtues of the Servant of God Carla Barbara Colchen Carré de Malberg , mother of a family, founder of the Society of the Daughters of St. Francis de Sales ; Born in Metz ( France), April 8, 1829 and died in Lorry- les -Metz (France) January 28, 1891 .

Again, in honor of Paul VI, Pope Francis should, at the beatification, bring back the sedia gestatoria, far humbler than the expensive Popemobile and far greener.

If it was good enough for St. John XXIII and Bl. Paul VI, it is good enough for any Pope!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. La Sandia says:

    For what it’s worth, it’s also the beatification of the man who warned of the “smokescreen of Satan” entering the Church after VII…

  2. Austin Catholics says:

    If you’re concerned about too many canonizations – I may agree with you. Let’s wait until someone has been gone for 100 years before putting him or her on the list of saints.

    If you think these are motivated by a desire to affirm Vatican II in the face of opposition, you need more proof. That might be plausible if there were significant active opposition to Vatican II and a movement to reverse it.

    But outside of a few places on the Internet (like here) I don’t see much concern about Vatican II and certainly no belief that it can or will be reversed. The large majority of Catholics worldwide were born after the council. We don’t need beatification to consider it integral with the rest of the faith/Church.

  3. Magpie says:

    I really hope this rumour is not true. If it is, then we might as well begin the beatification process for Obama as well.

    [Not a rumor.]

  4. Titus says:

    “Pope Francis should, at the beatification, bring back the sedia gestatoria, far humbler than the expensive Popemobile and far greener.”

    Plus, think of the economic aspect: the pope employed between eight and twelve men to carry the sedia gestatoria, but only one or two drive the popemobile. Restoring the sedia is a matter of economic justice; the popemobile needlessly deprives the sediari of gainful employment. And for what? For the sake of expense? For the sake of conforming to worldly expectations? For the sake of cozy relationships with Daimler AG?

    Why isn’t this a no-brainer?

  5. Meanwhile, Blessed Miguel Augustine Pro, S.J., a martyr for the Faith remains uncanonized, instead taking a back seat to the politics of the Vatican circling the wagons around Vatican II. Miguel Pro was a priest who courageously brought the Sacraments to the Mexican people under cover of disguises and in opposition to the Mexican Government. He was captured and executed by anti-Catholic forces of the Mexican government in 1927 during a widespread vicious persecution of the Catholic Church. His last words as he stood with arms out like our dying Lord, were the exclamation, “Viva Cristo Rey!” (Long Live Christ the King!) before a volley of rifle fire felled him. His execution was photographed and displayed to deter any further ideas of priestly administration of the Sacraments in Mexico. Yet, the Vatican seems to be stuck, like a broken record, on canonizing Vatican II, ignoring more

  6. kpoterack says:

    . . . and the pope of Humanae Vitae put before the minds of the bishops at a Synod on the Family is not a bad thing at all. (In fact, I cannot but see this as a deliberate and clever move.)

  7. traditionalorganist says:

    While there are plenty of reasons to question the beatification of Paul VI, It’s really a cause for joy. If anything it goes to show that God rewards effort, not results.

  8. av8er says:

    Why not add Ven Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen? He was alive during Vatican II.

    I second Ven Fr. Pro.

  9. govmatt says:

    I like the idea of the 100 years rule for sainthood. If we wait 100 years, the Church can be assured that no one who lived contemporaneously with the saint-to-be-proclaimed will have a hand in “fast tracking” the canonization of a friend (while blowing past those causes which are, for innumerable reasons, left to linger).

    Also, especially in the modern era, faster is most assuredly not always better. I realize that there are times when “santo subito” is appropriate and the proposed 100 years rule could be waived (martyrs jump to mind), but adding brakes to an institution that should never have gone so fast feels like an appropriate step.

    (N.b. if you’re looking for a saintly pope who fits the 100 year rule, Leo XIII’s cause would be ripe… and appropriate when modernism is so prevalent in the church’s dalliances today)

  10. McCall1981 says:

    @ kpoterack,
    Very good point on HV, and its connection to the Synod.

    After this, all we’ll need is JP I to complete the set!

  11. Eliane says:

    St. Thomas More was not canonized until 1935, exactly 400 years after his martyrdom, which to this day continues to inspire, not just Catholics, but also creative artists and those who seek morality in public governance to strive for greatness beyond their grasp . He hardly needed official canonization because his courage and unflinching witness to Catholic truth and natural law are more powerful than any honor a human organization can bestow. While the memories of some other saints transcend the centuries and always will, most are quite easily forgotten.

    I have felt almost embarrassed by the two recently papal canonizations, not because either man failed to approach the papacy with integrity, but because their unnecessary and rushed canonizations seemed more about church politics than extraordinary Christian witness.

    The upcoming one is not just embarrassing, but dreadful. Paul VI’s papacy seemed at times to be leading to extinction of Catholicism, and his apparent late-in-life regrets were not accompanied by any action to correct the horrors of the post-Vatican II church which he nurtured. In addition, suspicion of grave defects in his character have been widely publicized, at least in Europe, and unless these can be refuted, they will surely resurface as the world watches his canonization, making Catholics the butt of jokes.

    But I guess the bus has already left the station, just has teaching on contraception had before he got around to releasing “Humanae Vitae.”

  12. NBW says:

    Why not Ven. Fulton Sheen, Leo XIII, Pius XII, Fr. Augustus Tolton, and let’s not forget blessed Margaret of Castello who has been waiting to be a saint since 1200’s. I am sure there are many more.

  13. God have mercy. That’s all I can say to this deplorable news.

  14. RJHighland says:

    Hey maybe the Church will start beatififiying people that are still alive? No miricles required anymore, lets just canonize everybody that way we know everybody is in heaven! What a joke. Is this really the Church that our Lord established? At least Paul VI admitted the smoke of Satan has entered the Church and he was very solid with Humanae Vitae even though most in the Church do not recognize Humanae Vitae or admit that Vatican II allowed the smoke of Satan to enter the Church. At least he has an approved miracle attributed to him. The current Pope speaks alot but not with much clarity and because of that people make what he says mean what ever they want. If this isn’t shifing sand, I do not know what it is. God help us. But to be honest I really don’t care anymore what the Pope, Cardinals or the Bishops do they will stand before God at judgement just like me but with a whole lot more that they are responsible for in God’s eyes. Maybe they are doing all these canonizations in hopes that will help their judgment by lowering the bar. Don’t think it works that way but hey we all will find out one day.

  15. frjim4321 says:

    They’ve made it just about impossible for any future popes to NOT be declared saints.

    A tragic devaluation of something which was once very special.

  16. Priam1184 says:

    Not a fan, but if Holy Mother Church deigns to beatify and to canonize at a rapid pace then who am I to judge? And poor old Paul VI who suffered so much in his life on this earth and during his papacy (maybe he endured his Purgatory from 1963-78 I don’t know) does after all have a miracle attributed to his intercession. Still, it would probably be better to wait until after everyone who ever knew those proposed for beatification were dead for 50 years before starting the process. Maybe after Russian troops do their march from the Tiber down the Via della Conciliazione to the Square we will see a more thoughtful canonization process along with more thought put into other things as well. Or am I just crazy?

  17. Juergensen says:

    Just think, the author of Humanae Vitae, a saint.

  18. Matt R says:

    For once I agree completely with Fr. Jim. And if we can have Paul VI, then we should raise Innocent III to the altars. (Actually, no, we shouldn’t raise *either* but at this point…)

    Also, for all this talk of “meeting people where they are at,” does anyone realize that people dismiss the Church’s divine institution because of the rush to get miracles approved? Take the recovery from Parkinson’s attributed to Pope St. John Paul II: people criticize its speed of verification and what in their view seems to be the uncertainty of the recovery being, well, a true recovery. I know the process is intense and structured to avoid confirmation bias. It’s one thing to struggle with confirming a person’s intercession. I have heard of a few cases that are probably miraculous, but so convoluted as to prevent attribution to any one (future) saint. It’s another to have doubts about the process itself, which injure the perception of infallibility because the 2 miracles (which should be closely vetted) which demonstrate sanctity. To appear to treat the requirements loosely while claiming to follow them suggests the rules are modified willy-nilly.

    That being said, the miracle is beautiful. And if within my lifetime (but for some sanity’s sake, only after I, God-willing, have a terminal degree in 8-10 years time) Pope Paul VI is a saint, then so be it, and I will rejoice.

  19. Supertradmum says:

    Two words–Humanae Vitae

  20. Gregory DiPippo says:

    One word – Mindszenty.

  21. “A tragic devaluation of something which was once very special.”

    So sad. Not just this beatification, but the multiplication of canonizations in recent decades. Of course, no one doubts that they’re all saints. But canonization once signified to the faithful something more than “mere” assurance of presence in heaven–however how ineffable that privilege is–but being raised to the altar for acclaim and emulation by all the faithful, not “merely” as we ourselves strive to live saintly lives, but as recognition of their heroic roles in the annals of the Church. If beatification or sanctification appears to have more political than spiritual overtones, it’s inevitably cheapened.

  22. Supertradmum says:

    We have miracles….for all those canonized.

  23. Phil_NL says:


    Are we to believe that miracles come about because some old hippies and leftover Vatican II misinterpreters want Paul VI to be a saint? No!

    However people will try to spin this politically, the spin isn’t the point. The decision to make Paul VI a saint, if he is one, is not ours, it not the Pope’s, but is God’s. And one He already took, as saints are saints from the day they die. We can merely come to know that divine decision , communicate it to our brethren, and celebrate. We do not get to make this call; really the only thing human acyion can do in this, is get in the way.

    And should it pleaseth the Lord to give us a long stretch of saintly popes, as He well might have done, then all the better! That’s no devaluation, but a sign of His mercy. Something we all need, and should be grateful for whenever it arrives.

  24. jacobi says:

    While on the subject of beatifying or whatever our Popes, I would add my own favourites.

    Linus 2. Opened all services to women. Extraordinary in those days.

    Julius II. 216. The Warrior Pope. Well, never a dull moment. He didn’t like the Borgias, restored Church finances, supported Raphael, Michelangelo (Sistine Chapel), formed the Swiss Guards, and commissioned St Peters.

    Pius XI 259. He was an outstanding and widely recognised mountaineer before he became Pope.

    Oops, no, just checked. Linus is already a saint!

  25. Tradster says:

    Wow, I actually agree 100% with Fr Jim! The Devil must be shivering today.

  26. Magpie says:

    Phil_NL, that’s nice and all, but for me looking on as an ordinary Catholic who wants to be faithful and suchlike, this looks bad. It looks bad to be making saints of all these recent Popes as if simply being Pope is enough to make one a saint, especially in light of the mismanagement of the Church – the chaos – which they oversaw and with all the Vatican II funny business, liturgical destruction (overseen and implemented by Paul VI). I think the whole thing is a bit of a joke now to be honest. Maybe we should ask Pope Francis to fill in some forms now while he is still alive – a personal testimony for example, or his top ten reasons why he should be a saint in 10,000 words or less.

    Since Pope Francis became Pope, I find myself less certain of what the Church is, what it stands for, and what is true. I’m just not sure anymore. I don’t know what to think.

    Fr Ray Blake said it best:

    ”There are so many conjectures about his private life, his friendships, those he allowed influence; there are so many questions which are unanswered, so many hints of scandal, of all the twentieth centuries Popes Paul VI should be left to sleep quietly in his grave, with prayers of the faithful.”

  27. Robbie says:

    Here a saint, there a saint, everywhere a saint!

    The broader discussion about the canonization process reminds me of the discussion sports fans have about halls of fame for various sports. Is it the “Hall of Very Good” or the “Hall of Fame”? I think frjim4321 makes a good point. The recent process has caused a tragic devaluation of something that was once special.

  28. asperges says:

    So what’s wrong with Innocent iii?

  29. James C says:

    This is like the steroids scandal in baseball! If it keeps going like this, we may have to start using asterisks. ;-) Seriously, though, it’s sad and embarrassing.

    Yes, very nice for Paul VI to repeat immemorial teaching in Humanae Vitae. Too bad he looked the other way when bishops and priests defied it, making it an instant dead letter and nearly destroying papal teaching credibility in the process. No, no discipline for heresy and disobedience there, but he did find plenty of time to come down like a hammer against Archbishop Lefebvre.

  30. heracletian says:

    We live in times of the precipice, it seems. When sanctity is the keeping to the path, when one slip … Humanae Vitae is an absolutely astonishing document, not so much for its fine content (which was the living tradition of the Church), but for its timing. In the face of the proud challenge to divorce sexual behaviour from any sense of divinely intended meaning (which is what contracepted sex would set in train), Pope Paul VI acted like a Supreme Pontiff and affirmed and strengthened the faith of his brethren. All the force of the world, all opinion was against him. He held the line.

  31. RJHighland says:

    How in the world does Humanae Vitae and the Mass of Paul VI come from the same man? One very solid teaching (not followed) and one the instrument used to completely divide and collapse the faith. Talk about peaks in valleys.

  32. Since we’re canonizing councils now, let’s canonize Pope Paul III ;) (no I don’t think he should be canonized)…I’m completely with FrJim on this one, totally devalues the canonization process.

  33. JMody says:

    Sede gestatoria – and while we’re at it, maybe the Palatine Guard as well?

  34. Suburbanbanshee says:

    If you want Bl. Miguel Pro or Card. Mindszenty to be raised to the altars, start praying!

    And yes, you should be happy there’s a miracle. But it was legit to make St. Hildegarde of Bingen a saint by fiat, and St. Peter Faber too; so of course if there’d really been a rush you would have seen that done. Now, raising St. Joan of Arc to the altars was totally political, but nobody complains about her.

  35. Polycarpio says:

    This is my Pope. And I say that, not because he was the reigning Pontiff the year I was born–though he was. And not because I had his picture up over the makeshift altar over my bed when I was a little boy and I wanted to be a priest–though I did. I say that Ven. Paul is “my Pope” because, whatever the emanations or church politics of his pontificate, he was the Supreme Pontiff over Christ’s Roman Church, and I am and will always be a Catholic. Glory be to God!

  36. benedetta says:

    Maybe it is true that any pope who leads the Church in these times such as they are, with all the hostile forces arrayed against us, ought to per se be canonized. Of course, there are numerous Catholics who are saints and yet not canonized, we don’t need the media publicity or anyone’s acknowledgement to rejoice at that. When we eventually come into a time when great numbers find other things to do than oppress the Church, the canonization can certainly adapt to those times. Perhaps Paul VI’s beautiful Humanae Vitae, and his courage in advancing the truth under great pressure from a great many quarters, is reason enough to constitute one worth emulating and asking for intercession from for all of us.

  37. frjim4321 says:

    Henry and Fr. Jim are in agreement … are we at the end times?

  38. Athelstan says:

    . . . and the pope of Humanae Vitae put before the minds of the bishops at a Synod on the Family is not a bad thing at all. (In fact, I cannot but see this as a deliberate and clever move.)

    . . . and the pope of The Truce of 1968 put before the minds of the bishops at a Synod on the Family IS potentially a bad thing after all. In fact, I fear that this may be a deliberate and clever move.

    And it tracks a little too well with the Holy Father’s patterns of behavior to date.

  39. Athelstan says:


    One word – Mindszenty.

    Where does his cause for beatification stand now, anyway?

  40. Supertradmum says:

    I hope commentators realize that canonization is an infallible act. Not blessedness, but yes, saintliness confirmed.

    I had to go on my hands and knees over the beatification of St. John Paul II and I was reminded that God is God and I am not God. When it came to his canonization, I could honestly rejoice, as my own self-determinations were overcome. I had been, simply, wrong.

    When one thinks one has more knowledge or insight than the Church regarding canonizations, I suggest prayer as well as reason. I had to ask St. John Paul II forgiveness for past criticisms.

    I would rather be humble and obedient than “right”.

  41. benedetta says:

    frjim4321, Don’t you believe that after Second Vatican the Church is enabled to adapt the processes should we encounter a sudden renaissance of the faith to go back to not canonizing all the popes? Funny and here I thought you were a true spirit and not letter of VII believer…I guess you are just a rad trad in disguise after all!

  42. frjim4321 says:

    “I hope commentators realize that canonization is an infallible act. Not blessedness, but yes, saintliness confirmed.” – supertradmom

    I think this is open to discussion.

  43. benedetta says:

    At any rate this is surely a canonization of Humanae Vitae.

  44. RafqasRoad says:

    Fellow Readers,

    I find myself agreeing with several points raised here; firstly, FR. Jim 4321, I am nodding in your direction.

    STM, Re Paul VI, I couldn’t agree more and wish to thank you for consistently and cogently defending Holy Mother Church both in comments here and upon your own blog.

    Finally, the commenter who raised Bl. Margaret of Castello, AMEN to you, AMEN!! how many blesseds whose lives and examples are left to languish in the ‘archives of neglect and obscurity’, their causes long since having gone stone cold while others (not arguing with their validity) are championed? Along with St. Rafqa, Bl. Margaret of Castello is a confirmation ‘saint’ of mine, having chosen her upon the suggestion of one of my Adult Christening instructors prior to my reception into Catholic Christianity from evangelical Protestantism/SDA’ism back in October 2011.

    She is a mighty yet unsung champion for those of us living with varying degrees of significant sightloss and for those with disability in general. Same goes for Bl. Hermon ‘The Cripple’ who gave us amazing prayers such as ‘Hale Holy Queen’ who has also not been fully canonised. Those living with physical disability might wish to research his life and works. It’s high time for Bl Margaret and Hermon to be recognised in my thinking. Let us petition SS. JPII, JXXIII and soon St. PVI for this wonderful merit from God.


  45. robtbrown says:

    Supertradmum says:

    We have miracles….for all those canonized.

    The pope waived the second miracle for JXXIII.

  46. robtbrown says:

    frjim4321 says:
    Henry and Fr. Jim are in agreement … are we at the end times?

    As I said before, this canonization feeding frenzy is simply another aspect of what happened after Vat II. They wanted to make the Church less remote from the people, but unfortunately, they went too far–it became too familiar. Went from one extreme to the other. Ditto the liturgy.

    I have to wonder whether the Vatican is out of touch.

  47. frjim4321 says:

    omg are rbtbrwn and frjim in agreement?

    This AND Henry?

    watch out for very large objects falling from the sky.

  48. Mike Morrow says:

    Fr. Martin expressed something with which traditional Catholics may agree…very likely a unique occurrence.

  49. Jason Keener says:

    I think it would be prudent to slow these processes down. It seems like the Church is becoming a bit like modern-day society where everyone gets a trophy or gets raised to the altars just for showing up. Unlike St. John Paul II, I really don’t know of any Catholics clamoring for the cause of Paul VI or view him as someone to be emulated in living the Christian life. In fact, I think many Catholics have forgotten about him or would like to forget about his papacy, which apart from “Humane Vitae,” was depressing, weak, and confusing in many ways. I also think it would be good to revive the formal role of a Devil’s Advocate who argues vigorously against these cases moving forward. I wonder if the current process allows for a strong enough argument to be made against cases moving forward. Perhaps Father Z knows.

  50. David Zampino says:

    Respectfully offered . . .

    @Austin Catholics — With your 100 year rule, you’ve eliminated St. Francis of Assisi, St. Clare, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Thomas Becket, St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Pius X, St. Maria Goretti, St. Gianna Molla, St. Faustina, St. Padre Pio, etc., etc., etc. Do we REALLY want to go there?

    @Magpie — equating Pope Paul VI with Obama? REALLY? That smacks of calumny to me . . .

    @Supertradmum — Re: Humane Vitae — EXACTLY!!!!!!! The canonization of Paul VI is the canonization of Humanae Vitae. And that is something to rejoice about.

    Something to consider . . .
    A poster on the parish hall wall when I was in college (and an Episcopalian!)
    Two Foundation Facts About Human Enlightenment:
    1: There is a God.
    2: You are not him.
    It’s something to keep in mind.

    Me — I’d love to see both Pius XII and John Paul I raised to the Altars — but guess what? I’m not the Pope! We all need to realize that the possibility exists that there is more going on than we, emoting in the blogosphere, are cognizant of!

  51. Bob Glassmeyer says:

    A person is canonized due to personal holiness, right?
    Not because the person deserves canonization, right?
    So, what gives, for crying out loud?
    Somebody help me, please.

  52. Phil_NL says:

    Magpie, and others,

    That this looks bad is something I understand quite well. From a human perspective, it does look bad as long as one can’t really figure out how the problems and question marks balance against the good.

    But I still maintain that you all (well, nearly all) approach this issue from the wrong angle: if Paul VI’s beatification feels akward, rushed or maybe even wrong, might it not our feeling that needs to be re-assesed, rather than the beatification critiqued? After all, the source of the beatification, both the miracle and the authority, are Divine. And while it’s perfectly possible to play politics with how one handles the causes of prospective saints, the sainthood of a person is not a human decision. It’s God’s.

    And if the Lord decides in a way we see as folly or scandalous – as He warned can happen – that I think we need to adjust our conclusions, rather than lament the news of His conclusions. I see plenty of room and need to faithfully and fillially critize the pope, but beatifications and canonizations are not among them. It would be akin to shooting the messenger.

  53. Geoffrey says:

    “How in the world does Humanae Vitae and the Mass of Paul VI come from the same man?”

    The “Mass of Paul VI” or Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite can be a beautiful thing when celebrated properly (Latin, Gregorian Chant, incense, fidelity to the rubrics, etc.). Venerable Paul VI also gave us the tools for good liturgy (the copyright-free booklet “Iubilate Deo”, the instituted ministries of acolyte and lector). It is not his fault that they are vastly ignored.

    Canonizations are indeed an infallible act, Rorate Caeli recently emphasized (much to my pleasant surprise): http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2014/04/a-reminder-about-todays-canonization.html

    I suppose beatifications are another matter…

  54. Fr_Sotelo says:

    I’ve never doubted the sanctity of Pope Paul VI. He exuded patience, kindness , simplicity, and a generous receptivity to the poor and downtrodden. My only question is what took so long? And as far as the rumors of him being a sexually active gay man, those have all the signs of sordid, shameless clergy gossip and character assassination.

  55. Brooklyn says:

    The very first comment here was about Ven. Pope Paul VI’s remark about the “smoke of Satan” entering the Church This “quote” is used by many who believe the Church has gone off the rails liturgically and in traditional belief.

    However, we do not have a transcript of the sermon in which this was said. We have only a summarization in the Vatican archives, and that is in Italian. Jimmy Akin, back in 2006, gave us an English translation made by a priest. Here is that translation:

    “Referring to the situation of the Church today, the Holy Father affirms that he has a sense that “from some fissure the smoke of Satan has entered the temple of God.” There is doubt, incertitude, problematic, disquiet, dissatisfaction, confrontation. There is no longer trust of the Church; they trust the first profane prophet who speaks in some journal or some social movement, and they run after him and ask him if he has the formula of true life. And we are not alert to the fact that we are already the owners and masters of the formula of true life. Doubt has entered our consciences, and it entered by windows that should have been open to the light.

    . . .

    This state of uncertainty even holds sway in the Church. There was the belief that after the Council there would be a day of sunshine for the history of the Church. Instead, it is the arrival of a day of clouds, of tempest, of darkness, of research, of uncertainty. We preach ecumenism but we constantly separate ourselves from others. We seek to dig abysses instead of filling them in.”

    This can be found at http://jimmyakin.typepad.com/defensor_fidei/2006/11/the_smoke_of_sa.html

    Pope Paul VI was talking about those who have put their faith in secularists, such as science, over and above the Church. But I think that it is easy to see how this can apply to any number of people within the Church today.

    I think we really need to think and pray before making public criticisms of official Church actions. It is just possible that our understanding may not be complete.

  56. mrshopey says:

    I don’t understand the criticism of some being raised to sainthood. The reason I don’t, is because if we know someone personally who has lived a truly holy life, heroic, and after death, we pray for their intercession, it is available to us freely – without having to be canonized, formal.
    That said, not everyone will they consider for canonization because some things need to be known about the person, their life. This was the problem with (St) Philomena, no? That didn’t mean I had to stop praying for her intercession.
    If we have another saint to add to our calendars and liturgical settings, GREAT. But, on a personal level, it is available to us right now before, or even if it doesn’t happen.
    I guess I don’t see the big deal about this. Are we allowing ourselves to be scandalized by thinking too many are declared in heaven, should be rare? Or is it the reality of what is hoped for, heaven and another person to intercede for us? Or is it because they particularly aren’t the person we had chosen, not that the person exemplified a holy life? They got chosen before our favorite?
    I had wondered why all the criticism from those claiming their saint-like people, take Dorothy Day, were being over looked when all along, if they are truly in heaven we have on a personal level recourse to them here and now. We don’t need to have them added to the calendar to make them more special, holy, than they are already claimed to be especially in heaven.

  57. iowapapist says:

    I agree with those who are troubled by the expedition of the canonization process. However, I’m not troubled that the next cause celebre involves Pope Paul VI. Remember, he was the great hope of dissenters who encouraged and expected him to sua sponte change church doctrine regarding contraception and abortion. In response, he issued Humanae Vitae. This situation is the clearest example of papal infallibility to be found in our age. Was he a perfect pope? No, but this reclusive man was obedient to the Master despite popular pressure (and, possibly the inclination) to be disobedient.

  58. cwillia1 says:

    Pope Paul VI certainly has his defenders and I am not really worried about the state of his soul. But I just don’t see evidence of heroic virtue in his life, in the everyday sense of these words. Some of his actions as pope are truly questionable and he should not be canonized to canonize a council or to canonize Humanae Vitae. Pope Pius XII was a truly heroic pope and there are plenty of 20th century martyrs somewhere in the queue including Bl Theodore Romzha, Bl Miguel Pro, Bl Pavel Gojdich, Bl Basil Hopko, and, yes, Mindszenty. A man who stands before his executioners for celebrating the sacraments, arms outstretched, shouting “viva Christo Rey!” as he is brought down by a hail of bullets shows heroic virtue.


  59. robtbrown says:


    But I still maintain that you all (well, nearly all) approach this issue from the wrong angle: if Paul VI’s beatification feels akward, rushed or maybe even wrong, might it not our feeling that needs to be re-assesed, rather than the beatification critiqued? After all, the source of the beatification, both the miracle and the authority, are Divine. And while it’s perfectly possible to play politics with how one handles the causes of prospective saints, the sainthood of a person is not a human decision. It’s God’s.

    Some don’t think canonization is an act of Papal Infallibility, no one thinks that beatification is. So the idea that the beatification of Paul VI is a manifestation of Divine Will doesn’t hold water. Aside from that, beatification and canonization are both official recognition of a cult that usually has originated among the laity, which is why having an unbroken cult is one of the criteria. With beatification a feast is permitted in certain circumstances, e.g., geographic (cf. Damien in the US or Charlemagne in the diocese of Aachen). With canonization the feast is entered in the universal calendar.

    Aside from my own personal opinion on the coming beatification of Paul VI, nb:

    1. About 15 years ago I was told by the Head Relator at the Cong of Saints that, although the Montini cause had been opened, there was no movement in it.

    2. During my time in Rome I passed the tomb of Paul VI between 50 and 100 times. Over 8 years I don’t think I saw in total 5 people praying there. So if there has been a cult, it didn’t seem to be in Rome.

  60. robtbrown says:

    Fr_Sotelo says:

    I’ve never doubted the sanctity of Pope Paul VI. He exuded patience, kindness , simplicity, and a generous receptivity to the poor and downtrodden.

    He showed no kindness toward those who wanted Latin liturgy.

  61. benedetta says:

    I like how with these canonizations, a generation taught to despise all notions of authority uncritically and unquestioningly, and even in their actions to despise taught what to do and say without consideration or knowledge, we the faithful get a really comprehensive and authentic opportunity to examine afresh the idea of the papacy and apostolic succession, their gifts and charisms to the Church, their necessity, even though we are all mortal and frequently err. It breaks through a lot of propaganda and hate which is now taken as gospel truth by quite a few about what/who the Church is, how she consists. Likely in this year a great many will realize that so much they have taken as assumption without genuine inquiry in our times is false and begin to confront the reality in a genuine, free way.

  62. cwillia1 says:

    There is a “white martyrdom” which demonstrates heroic virtue without the shedding of blood. All of us are called to this. But it is very difficult to assess, especially in a man with power and authority. His actions are controversial and his motivations are never clear, even to himself. Good men make mistakes, terrible mistakes. If we start from the many terrible mistakes of Paul VI’s pontificate and their disastrous consequences, we naturally question his motivations. We have to trust the judgment of those whose duty it is to understand the soul of the candidate for sainthood. We should also expect that many people will question the canonization because they do not personally observe his virtue. This is a good reason to delay canonizations of controversial people.

  63. benedetta says:

    As to the “smoke of Satan” comment, perhaps traditional leaning people quote this, I’m not sure how frequent that occurs. It is instructive that even if it cannot be documented as to Paul VI, what can be documented is an experience that Pope Leo had that compelled him to require certain prayers at the Mass. In our times, such as they are, and even going back to the assassination attempt on JPII, and so many other incidents reported and unreported, I believe Catholics should pray this after the Mass whether someone asks them to or not.

    Of course many so called “liberals” (who are actually, in reality not so liberal at all) agitating in quite “mainstream” places, media, parishes, universities, etc., also take the secular dogma that Pope plus hierarchy equals evil (or Satan, although they would not employ these archaic terms for fear of scaring away their audiences) except in the instances when a mob or forced agenda may be accomplished in which case they are elevated to “means to an end”. In terms of the trusting of the goodness of the Church, apostolic succession, acknowledging her as holy, if one wants to say that the trads are the only and real culprits while the entire secular culture working in concert with the “Catholic left” in politics, university, publishing, media, parishes etc to teach the whole world to mistrust and attack the Church and believers at every turn, I’d say, it’s not for me to judge whether the smokescreen is indeed from “Satan”, but any plain observer can easily establish that there is a smokescreen.

  64. Fr_Sotelo says:


    Paul VI showed kindness to those who loved Latin liturgy. What he was not amused at where the “Tridentines” who turned the missal of St. Pius X into a battle weapon to undermine and attack a General Council of the Church.

    If you think that unkind, see the reactions of St. Pius V towards those who attacked Trent, or the feelings of Pius IX towards those who would undermine Vatican I. No, I’m sorry, I have no sympathy, especially as a priest who has dealt with same. Precisely for his patience with the Tridentines, Paul VI showed heroic virtue. Any previous pope would have placed them all under anathema.

  65. robtbrown says:

    One final comment:

    IMHO, these questionable (at least in timing) beatifications/canonizations of popes indicate that the hierarchy understands that Catholic life in the West has collapsed. On the other hand, not willing to pursue–or even endorse–the tough task of actual reform of the Church (the liturgy, seminaries, and religious life), they serve up various of gestures of triumphalism.

    No surprise that there is appropriate Chestertonian wisdom: The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of the Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes from being corrected.

  66. Fr_Sotelo says:

    That should read the missal of St. Pius V.

  67. Priam1184 says:

    I am waiting still for the canonization of Bl. Bartolo Longo: his life provides an eminent example of conversion for the age that we are living in.

    @Supertradmum: Even canonized saints make mistakes during their lives on earth, they are human beings after all, so I do not think it necessary to ask for forgiveness for every bit of criticism offered to St. John Paul II. Especially if history has borne out some of those criticisms.

  68. Raymond says:

    I wonder how many people will actually turn up at St. Peter’s Square for the beatification Mass? Clergy, Italian government officials, and groups from Papa Montini’s hometown will of course be there; however, I simply do not foresee huge crowds waving banners and cheering for the late, Hamlet-like Pope. I remember going to the Papal burial crypt underneath St. Peter’s Basilica a few times and did not see a whole lot of people pay attention to Paul VI’s grave. What does the average Italian Catholic think of him?

  69. benedetta says:

    As many have been pointing our lately over our trips down memory lane, prior to Pope Paul VI there was no such animal as a “trad”.

    And as we all know it wasn’t really until Sum Pont. that those designated “trad” had even marginal status. Any historian of a junior high level knows this well.

    What does seem clear in retrospect is that these so called “trads” have been scapegoated (if you don’t know that is then look it up), apparently at all costs, even ongoing into our present times.

    Think of it this way, if you feel compelled to scapegoat, whine and complain bitterly about the “trads”, who even now seem to lack for just about any presentable status or power in the Church objectively, then, what does that say about your message and activism? It has never been a particularly Christian hallmark to scapegoat a whole stereotype of believer in order to accomplish certain demands now has it.

  70. Phil_NL says:


    I was not speaking of the beatification as a direct example of the Divine will, but of the miracle. Now if one doubts the miracle, one could perhaps claim that wrongful beatification is possible. But believing God granted a miracle attached to a cause He knows to be fruitless would be beyond illogical – it would imply the Lord would mislead us. Quod non. Secondly, I fail to see how He could damage the authority of his Vicar on Earth this way (by granting a “wrongful miracle”, so to say), as the source of that authority is divine too.

    As for the existence of a cult, I fail to see how that is relevant to this discussion. What makes a saint a saint is God’s decision. If we follow up on that or not would not retroactively affect the sainthood of that person. It may seem a tad akward or even silly to canonize a person around who no cult of any substance seems to be present, but again the question is: isn’t that rather our fault?

  71. benedetta says:

    Is it not quite interesting, the premises we discover on certainly the comboxes below any msm article concerning anything related to the Catholic Church, which are upon examination the very same one encounters not just in the comboxes but in most any sort of article from certain American “Catholic” media, most theology classrooms in a great many “Catholic” universities, sometimes from pulpit in parishes, often in parish schools and Catholic high schools, and in general conversation nowadays with people. All the assertions are based upon the premise that pope, cardinals, bishops are, a bad thing. When these places discover one in this group who says something that can be presented as consistent with a menu of demands, then, one will speak favorably of that one, but, always with the caveat of exceptionality from the general premise or rule that controls.

    Further curiously nearly all these quarters universally premise their special interests upon the doctrine of relativism, happily so. And yet clearly for them, there is at least one absolute, and that is the notion of a human being consenting willingly to an authority of nearly any sort of their own freedom. Of course, the action is accordingly minimized to just that statement or less and never anything more. And of course all these mouthpieces also consent to their own sorts of authority and hierarchy in their work or vocations or whatever it may be, sometimes for the greater good. Indeed, the points of their agenda also encompasses the ideals of self sacrifice, altruism, faithfulness, obedience, for some identified common good.

    Further all will denigrate with dripping sarcasm anyone who would deign to be a “culture warrior”. Yet their assertions and advocacy are always based on the assumption that secular culture is an absolute “good” which must be emulated and celebrated, and which must animate any number of desired ends.

    So one sees that the great and vast area of American “nones” and “seculars”, wherever situated and affiliated, have in a very real sense bought into the idea of moral absolutism, and they push same on everyone, even to impose, on everyone else, to the disregard of one’s human rights to one’s culture, ethnicity, freedom of worship.

    With the result being that if I of my own free will choose not to worship their rendition of absolutism, with draconian methods those same ends will be imposed upon me, against my human dignity and freedom.

    While I am not unsympathetic towards their misdirected anger aimed in a trendy way at the Catholic Church, the reality is that in their hunger for the absolute, I say to them that only their making contact with the one, true, living God will ultimately satisfy that.

  72. benedetta says:

    typo should be changed as follows

    And yet clearly for them, there is at least one absolute EVIL, and that is the notion of a human being consenting willingly to an authority of nearly any sort of their own freedom.

  73. Maria says:

    Dear Fr_Sotelo says:
    11 May 2014 at 11:40 am

    Thank you for your comments. I agree.

    God’s blessings of peace and joy!

  74. CrimsonCatholic says:

    Are we really questioning miracles now? I understand that people don’t like skipping the usually required miracles, but in this case there is an attributed miracle. Reading the comments here saddens me a great deal, especially the one comparing the beatification to beatification of Obama.

  75. robtbrown says:

    Fr_Sotelo says:

    Paul VI showed kindness to those who loved Latin liturgy. What he was not amused at where the “Tridentines” who turned the missal of St. Pius X into a battle weapon to undermine and attack a General Council of the Church.

    If you think that unkind, see the reactions of St. Pius V towards those who attacked Trent, or thbe feelings of Pius IX towards those who would undermine Vatican I. No, I’m sorry, I have no sympathy, especially as a priest who has dealt with same. Precisely for his patience with the Tridentines, Paul VI showed heroic virtue. Any previous pope would have placed them all under anathema.

    Fr Sotelo,

    I was referring to Latin liturgy in general rather than Lefebvre and his followers, but I’ll address both.

    1. The comparison to Pius V and Trent doesn’t really work. Although I’m not fond of Sacrosanctum Concilium,nevertheless, there is nothing in the texts that mandates complete conversion to vernacular liturgy. I don’t know of Paul VI even lifting a finger much less issuing a document promoting Latin liturgy, including the Divine Office. Thus, unlike Pius V and Trent, Papa Montini was not acting to implement Vat II

    2. It was made clear to priests during the Montini Pontificate that Latin liturgy was to be avoided, even as guitars, etc., were being encouraged. This was done by bishops and heads of religious orders. Paul VI did nothing to mitigate the situation.

    3. It obviously follows that the identification of Latin liturgy with the TLM (and Lefebvrists) was the fault of Paul VI, either by negligence (not implementing Vat II) in promoting Novus Ordo Latin masses or by active suppression of Latin.

    4. I have mentioned here before that in the first half of the 70’s, I spent a lot of time in France (even being Confirmed there in February 1973) when Lefebvre was still in good standing with Rome. I know a bit about L’affaire de Lefebvre.

    5. Of course, Lefebvre was not only promoting the TLM , he was also criticizing Vat II, which in those days was being promoted as second (barely) in importance to Scripture. . Even worse, he objected to the liturgical mess. That, however, wasn’t L’s only problem. The French bishops were unpardonably bad, and the Church in France was dormant. I knew people in France who tried to attend mass on Christmas, went to the parish, only to find the door locked–no priest. In Paris during Cardinal Marty’s genius pastoral program, weekly attendance went from c. 78% to c. 25%.

    6. And of course, that meant no vocations. The SSPX, however, was doing well, especially with vocations coming from France.

    7. So the liberal French bishops not only didn’t like L criticizing their liberalism and the spirit of Vat II, they also made the excuse that they didn’t have vocations because of the SSPX. They refused to incardinate Econe priests.

    8. Paul VI had a French Sec of State. The French conflict then spread to Rome because French bishops complained about Lefebvre raining on the liberal (or worse) parade. B And so L was told to ordain no priests and to close the seminary. He refused.

    10. I’m not defending L’s refusal, but Paul VI was a Francophile and should have known that the French will die for an idea. When the pope pressured L, he should have known that L would not back down.

    11. Paul VI also committed the cardinal sin of anyone in positions of governance: He supported those people who opposed the papacy and opposed those people who supported it.

    P poor comparison.

  76. robtbrown says:


    Miracles are from God. Tying a miracle to a certain person is human judgment.

    As for the existence of a cult, I fail to see how that is relevant to this discussion. What makes a saint a saint is God’s decision. If we follow up on that or not would not retroactively affect the sainthood of that person. It may seem a tad akward or even silly to canonize a person around who no cult of any substance seems to be present, but again the question is: isn’t that rather our fault?

    I noted above that an unbroken cult is one of the criteria. BTW, a cult is the product of Divine Grace.

  77. Phil_NL says:


    Correct me if I misunderstood you, but if you say that tying the miracle to a cause is human work, and might be in error, but a cult surrounding a person is an action of Divine grace, I’d say you have it exactly backwards.

    The miracle is from God, and occured under circumstances God knows, including that it is or will be tied to a cause. Again, it seems to me beyond the nature of God to grant a miracle that he knows will be abused (unless some other good comes from it, of course).
    Cults on the other hand are quite susceptible to the fads and fashions of the day. I’m no student of sainthood causes per se, so can’t name examples on cults ibn that sense from the top of my head, but as for human judgement regarding cults in a broader sense going wrong I think I can suffice with the word “Medjugorje”…

    Also note that miracles are a direct divine action, while cults would, at best, be indirect.

  78. Sonshine135 says:

    I just wish we could get Father Michael J. McGivney and Archbishop Fulton Sheen canonized. Remember those guys? Father McGivney started that largest Fraternal Catholic Organization in the world, the Knights of Columbus, that has continued to take care of widows and orphans. Archbishop Sheen probably was the best model of evangelizing in the 20th century. I’d say they were pretty important.


  79. robtbrown says:


    I referred to unbroken cult, which must occur over plural generations and/or nations to be considered of Divine origin. Miracles are not just considered in themselves but in the context of the cult. Even Padre Pio, known throughout Europe and the US as a holy man during his lifetime, wasn’t beatified for 30 years.

    BTW, miracles are established negatively, i.e., that a certain phenomenon cannot be explain naturally.

    Marian apparitions and the sanctity of the seers are two different matters. For examples, Lourdes and Fatima were considered according to the messages, but Bernardette was not beatified until 60 years after the approval of Lourdes. That notwithstanding, the personal lives of the seers can nix approval.

  80. robtbrown says:

    Also: I noted above that miracles are one thing, tying them to the cult of a prospective saint is another.

  81. Chon says:

    Dietrich Von Hildebrand was very much against beatifying Paul VI. Alice Von Hildebrand still is.

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