Saturday, July 6, 2013

It's official! ... Well, almost ...

Soon-to-be Ss. John XXIII and John Paul II.
Yesterday at the Vatican, Fr. Federico Lombardi, reading from a prepared statement, announced that Pope Francis has signed and promulgated a decree approving a second miracle attributed to Bl. John Paul II. At the same time, he has also approved a vote by the Congregation for the Cause of Saints to raise Bl. John XXIII to the altars of sainthood without need of a second miracle.

Francis has also called for a consistory of the College of Cardinals to discuss further the canonization of JP2. This step isn't strictly necessary for his canonization to take place; my guess is that it's a last check to insure that he isn't declared santo too subito. As for the waiver of the second miracle in J23's case, Fr. Lombardi explained that it is "the Pope’s will that the Sainthood of the great Pope of the Second Vatican Council be recognized". There is some theological discussion over whether two miracles are really a necessary bar to hurdle; in any event, the Pope is free to set aside the rule.

No date has been set yet for the consistory, which will set the dates for the canonization ceremonies; Fr. Lombardi did not rule out a dual ceremony, and expressed confidence that both would take place by the end of the year. At the same time, the decree approves miracles by two other venerable servants, Alvaro del Portillo y Diez de Sollano and Maria Giuseppa Alhama Valera (Speranza di Gesu), recognition of four Spanish martyrs and the heroic virtue of five other candidates.

Frankly, canonizing both popes at the same time would be a brilliant step, emphasizing the hermeneutic of continuity without nailing it to anyone's forehead. I look forward to it, and I shall keep you informed.