One of my new go-to guys for thinking about things Vatican is Andrea Gagliarducci and his Monday Vatican post.
Today he has a piece about “Five Revealing Details” about Pope Francis, what he is doing, what he aims to do.
Evangelii gaudium is first of all the criterion through which Pope Francis chooses saints to be canonized. The formula the Pope has often used is that of the “equipollent canonization,” i.e., the proclamation of a saint whose veneration is widespread, without the need of a second miracle as required by the regular procedure. Pope Francis wanted to explain in person why he continues to make saints this way, probably aware that he had been much criticized for excessive use of the procedure. The Pope explained his ‘picks’ among new saints during his in-flight presser from Sri Lanka to the Philippines on January 15th. At the beginning of his remarks, he underscored that he had inherited from Benedict XVI the process of equipollent canonization (that of Angela of Foligno), and that he then chose other saints to canonize with the “simplified procedure” on the basis of the evangelizing criterion in Evangelii gaudium which calls for the Church to be in a state of permament mission. So in his view the saints he selects for this special procedure are noteworthy evangelizers who exemplify the central message of Evangelii gaudium. After Joseph Vaz, the most important missionary of Asia, who was canonized last week in the Philippines, the next candidate for equipollent canonization will beJunipero Serra when the Pope travels to the United States in September. [When I was in London, I attended a Mass in honor of St. Joseph Vaz. HERE]
The announcement of Junipero Serra’s forthcoming canonization was made by Pope Francis himself. This is the second revealing detail from this trip to Asia: with Francisno media plan or strategy is possible. The Pope does whatever he wants and whenever he wants. There is no way to prepare in advance.
And there was this harrowing paragraph…
This concern for the peripheries is the reason behind the rumor of papal trip to Erbil, Iraq: to meet Christian refugees. The upcoming encyclical on ecology – which the Pope made clear he will strive to complete in March – will certainly be filled with references to a missionary Church. Meanwhile it is also rumored that a first draft for the announcement of a Third Vatican Council is circulating, but no source has confirmed the report. However, other sources acknowledge the possibility of a papal documentthat would increase the limit of Cardinals voting in a conclave (i.e., Cardinals under the age of 80) from 120 to 140, thus increasing by 20 the limit that Paul VI established.
It’s a rumor … but… God help us all.