Controversial Canonizations: Uncomfortable Questions

How Do We Know Whether a Beatification or Canonization is or is not of God? — By their fruits, ye shall know them (Saint Matthew 7:20).

YES. CATHOLICS throughout the world have reacted in shock and disbelief at the beatification and canonization of individuals publicly linked to ideas, policies, practices, and ideologies shrouded in doctrinal controversy and debate. What is the underlying agenda, they ask, behind the beatification or canonization of these individuals done, to boot, under post-Vatican II, dramatically relaxed, non-infallible rules and regulations?

Why are these beatifications and canonizations being hastily rushed in the face of doubt, scandal, and/or opposition by so many people, including Catholics of unquestionable fidelity to the Church’s Magisterium?

Let’s see. Shouldn’t beatifications and canonizations be moments of joy, unity, and strengthening of the bonds of faith of the entire Church? Aren’t they supposed to bring all of us together? Should they ever be the source of discord, scandal, or controversy? Why are there people everywhere so concerned about the beatification and canonization process being abused or exploited by the Vatican to advance worldly interests, ideological causes, or political agendas?

The world asks: What kind of “pastoral policy” could induce imposing on the Universal Church beatifications and/or canonizations that undermine the Church’s unity; scandalize the faithful, or otherwise disturb the peace within Christ’s Mystical Body? Would a caring, responsible shepherd, one who is zealous for souls, ever force on his flock anything that confuses, scatters, or harms it?


Doesn’t the mere fact that these individuals’ beatification or canonization provoke such heated controversy and public scandal among the faithful, or that they’re imposed by the Vatican using questionable means or spiritual intimidation, constitute irrefutable proof that these controversial beatifications and canonizations are not of God, but, rather, of a destructive spirit, one diametrically opposed to the faith, the holiness, and the unity of Christ’s Church?

Would Popes John XXIII, Paul VI, or John Paul II ever have supported beatifying or canonizing anyone, including themselves, were it to stoke the fires of discord, controversy or scandal? What true shepherd, one that loves his sheep, impose a non-essential, non-doctrinal pronouncement that provokes even the slightest injury or incites the least discord or division?

Should we, in good conscience, ignore these very relevant, but uncomfortable questions, grounded, as they are, on sound logic, right reason, and the common sense of people of all religions, faiths, ideologies or philosophies? Don’t these questions deserve honest, forthright answers? Isn’t it a grave disservice to the faith and the Church to pretend that these questions do not exist or to attack those who humbly ask them?

Pope Francis, your answer is eagerly awaited. Do not fail us.


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4 Responses to Controversial Canonizations: Uncomfortable Questions

  1. How do we know if ANY priest or sacraments are valid since EVERYTHING has changed and Francis has been the first “Pope” under the “new” rite of ordination.

  2. John says:

    I haven’t heard about all the discord and disharmony before but there are many Catholics who didn’t like Humana Vitae so it doesn’t surprise me. I doubt they would have thought much of JP2’s situation either considering he was instrumental in overturning their beloved Marxism in Poland

  3. johnhenrycn says:

    “What true shepherd, one that loves his sheep, imposes a non-essential, non-doctrinal pronouncement that provokes even the slightest injury or incites the least discord or division?”

    Such a beautifully phrased, delicate rhetorical question which only hints at what happened Sunday, but to which the answer is obvious: canonisation is being weaponized (I hate that word because it’s so new when used in relation to ideas, and I’m suspicious of novelties when it comes to language – thinking for instance of “gender” – but it really is the mot juste here) to advance a non-Catholic political agenda. Much as I love and admire John Paul II, I do believe his canonisation was precipitate, not because he may not be in Heaven – how can we know – but because he had many failings which only history can explain. Should we have any questions at all about our Saints?

    Before my time, but there used to be, I believe, a protocol, which delayed canonisation for several (not just one or two) generations. A good policy that was, if it was.

  4. “Shouldn’t beatifications and canonizations be moments of joy, unity, and strengthening of the bonds of faith of the entire Church?”

    Some of you know me here, and my winter monastery cemetery photo stands as the header of this page. I speak sometimes from the head and sometimes from the heart. When we speak of “joy, unity, and strengthening of the bonds of faith” these are by defininion non-rational elements of our human response – and this is good – and long may we rely on these essential compass points.

    Canonising people for political reasons strikes me as a dangerous practice, for didn’t the Nazis canonise Horst Wessel? Didn’t the communists canonise the murdered Rosa Luxemburg? And whether or not the Church recognizes Paul VI or the courageous priest of El Salvador as saints, let us remember they are simply political choices too, and therefore no more significant than the choices available to us on The Celebrity Dance Apprentice Reality Show.

    Oh yes. Let’s just elect a new saint, as a mirror of the poor beings that our fallen humanity has led us to applaud.

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