blessed john paul II – the day after

I watched the moment of beatification of John Paul II live on CNN. It was about 3:30 am our time. The commentators repeated the ongoing controversies surrounding his fast-track to sainthood in the midst of the sexual abuse scandal. Meanwhile, the cameras showed waves of supporters flying flags and ecstatically welcoming the present pontiff, Benedict XVI, as he circled St. Peter`s square in the pope-mobile. It was reminiscent of the Royal wedding just days before. The cheering crowds on the TV screens seemed to make a mockery of the negative media coverage.

Of course, only die-hard Royal or Papal fans would brave the inconvenience of long lines and claustrophobic crowds to be physically present at either event. And much money was spent at each for effective security measures. Both the wedding and the beatification were blessed with sunny skies despite dire forecasts. Both were beautiful, photogenic moments for the history books.

As the tapestry was unveiled at the moment of beatification, I had an unexpected emotional moment. The portrait chosen was of JPII in the early years of his papacy. This was the strong, athletic Pole who had survived World War II and helped to bring down the iron curtain in Eastern Europe. This was the younger Pope who had inspired so many on his energetic travels around the world. These were exciting years of hopeful renewal, of reminders to `be not afraid` because our faith will help to conquer all the evils of the world.

We need hope in our church and world today. And, we all need our heroes. As we change with the growing years, our heroes may change with us. When the halos of our heroes are tarnished, we yearn for the nostalgia and passion of earlier times. And because we are a diverse people, we will never share the same depth of affection or acceptance of the heroes that the Church offers to us. We should accept this without undue or harsh judgment of each other.

Yesterday was a moment of great celebration for many in our church, and indeed in our world. We need celebrations to lighten the heart and energize the spirit. But all parties end. The true test of a celebration comes in the morning after.

5 thoughts on “blessed john paul II – the day after

  1. Did Benedict have a deal with the Cardinals who elected him to quickly beautify John Paul II? Here are some insights by John Allen, a Vatican Reporter:
    Answering today’s six OFF-SET questions is John Allen, CNN’s Vatican expert and Senior Correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter. Allen is author of the book, “The Rise of Benedict XVI: The Inside Story of How the Pope Was Elected and Where He Will Take the Catholic Church.”

    Catholic faithful from around the world poured into Rome on Sunday as the Catholic Church declares Pope John Paul II “blessed,” a step below sainthood. There were cheers as Pope Benedict XVI personally beatified his predecessor, and a huge tapestry protrait of John Paul II was unveiled, showing him as the healthy, vigorous and relatively young man he was early in his papacy.

    “Normally a person cannot become a saint until 50 years after his death. But John Paul II was put on a fast track to sainthood by the current Pope Benedict XVI, who waived the normal five-year waiting period to begin the beatification process. Why did Pope Benedict make that decision?

    Formally, Benedict XVI waived the waiting period because the cardinals who elected him pope just after the death of John Paul II signed a petition asking him to do so.

    (An interesting footnote is that Italian media reports have identified Slovakian Cardinal Jozef Tomko, 87, who served in the Vatican under John Paul II in various capacities, as the man who initiated that petition. When CNN asked Tomko about that this week, he said: “I neither confirm nor deny.” Translation: “Yeah, it was me.”)

    Beyond that, Benedict XVI was responding to the chants of “Santo Subito!” meaning “Sainthood Now!” in St. Peter’s Square during John Paul’s funeral Mass, and in general to the strong conviction in many quarters of the Catholic Church that John Paul II was a living saint.”

  2. Don’t you wish the gentlemen in Rome responded just as quickly to other requests from the lay people in and out of St. Peter’s Square!!!

    1. Did you read the article (NCR), regarding Bishop William Morris of Australia? The Bishop stated he would be in favor of ordaining women and married men IF they were permitted to be ordained. OUCH…must we become aware of EVERY word we use when we are members of the Roman church? The guys with the HATS certainly are moving fast these days. Bishops involved in pedophilia get promoted and one who states IF, gets canned. Amazing what happens when MAN-POWER takes over.

  3. pope john paul ii was a man, a priest, a pope and also a sinner with faults just like you and i. i am sure he made mistakes too.
    according to our religion, God forgives us if we are truly sorry for our sins. That is between penitent and God and none of our business. All those made saints in the past were the same. lets not let jealousy or malice hurt this beatification or canonization which is well earned and deserved by karol wojtyla, the man and pope john paul ii.

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