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?
SCANDAL, DISCORD, AND DIVISION
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.