Vatican Announces Popes John Paul II, John XXIII To Be Canonized
To date 76 of the 265 men who have served as Pope of the Roman Catholic Church have been named Saints after their death Today, the Vatican cleared the way for two Popes to be canonized before the end of the year:
Pope Francis has cleared John Paul II for sainthood, approving a miracle attributed to his intercession.
Francis also decided Friday to canonize another pope, John XXIII, even though there has been no second miracle attributed to his intercession. The Vatican said Francis approved a decision by cardinals and bishops.
The ceremonies are expected before the end of the year. The date of Dec. 8 has been floated as a possibility, given it’s the feast of the Immaculate Conception, a major feast day for the church.
John Paul has been on the fast track for possible sainthood ever since his 2005 death, but there remains some concern that the process has been too quick.
Some of the Holy See’s deep-seated problems — clerical sex abuse, dysfunctional governance and more recently the financial scandals at the Vatican bank — essentially date from shortcomings of his pontificate.
Defenders of the fast-track process argue that people are canonized, not pontificates.
La Stampa newspaper reported earlier in the week that John Paul would likely be canonized together with Pope John XXIII, who called the Second Vatican Council but died in 1963 before it was finished.
The last Pope to have been canonized was Pope Pius X, who served from 1903 until his death in 1914.
Update: Ed Morrissey makes an interesting observation about the decision to canonize John XXIII:
The Vatican issued a statement regarding a number of approvals for canonization, but the most interesting is that of John XXIII. The exercise of papal authority in this case seems to be a very strong signal from Francis endorsing the outcome of the Second Vatican Council, which remains controversial with conservative elements within the Church. It’s a big rebuke to the Pius X Society (SSPX), a splinter group with whom the Vatican has tried to reconcile for decades since they split off in the 1970s. Pope John Paul II excommunicated a number of them in the 1980s for their attempt to consecrate new bishops.
SSPX wants the Vatican to back off from Vatican II changes and return to the earlier practices of the Church. This looks like Francis’ answer to their demands,
SSPX is but one group of conservative Catholics who have had Vatican II in the cross hairs for quite some time. These people have been hoping for a Pope who would roll back some or all of the liberalization that occurred at that time, only to see those hopes dashed. John Paul II didn’t do it, the theologically and liturgically conservative Benedict XVI didn’t do it, and now Pope Francis is making clear that he won’t be doing it either. There will be no turning back from Vatican II.