The Canonization Crisis
Fatima Perspectives #1242
What can one say about the canonization of Paul VI, who catastrophically disrupted the good order of the Church, beginning with the sacred liturgy he dared to replace with a human invention, only to spend the rest of his life weeping and wringing his hands over the sudden disaster he himself had provoked? And this after his immediate predecessor John XXIII, in the Bull convoking Vatican II, had hailed the Church’s robust condition just before the Council, observing that “she has seen the rise and growth within herself of immense energies of the apostolate, of prayer, of action in all fields, first on the part of a clergy ever better equipped in learning and virtue for its mission and then of a laity which has become ever more conscious of its responsibilities within the Church and especially of its duty to collaborate with the Church’s hierarchy.”
What can one say about a “canonization” that appears to have been based upon scrounging around for two distinctly non-miraculous “miracles” — reduced from the traditionally required four by John Paul II, who benefitted from his own loosening of the requirement? Neither purported “miracle of Paul VI” involved a scientifically inexplicable, instantaneous cure of a disease or disorder but only the good outcome of aggressive medical treatment related to a problem pregnancy. These “miracles” were no different from cases in which no purported saint was invoked, such as this one, where the neonate was in even greater danger from the same sorts of conditions that Paul VI’s intercession is supposed to have “cured.”
As one observer has noted, the “miracles” attributed to Paul VI would never have survived the scrutiny of the medical commission at Lourdes. Apparently, where Popes associated with Vatican II are concerned, anything that can be passed off as “miraculous” suffices.
And what can one say about the canonization of Oscar Romero, a social justice warrior who injected himself into a civil war between the government of El Salvador and communist guerillas by making politically-charged speeches from the pulpit? No one has ever been prosecuted or even identified definitively as a suspect in his murder, which took place while he was saying Mass. For all we know, his killer was a Catholic in that Catholic country, whose motive was hatred for a political opponent in the midst of a war, not hatred of the Faith.
Yet Romero was called a “martyr” and then canonized based on a lone “miracle,” involving yet another problem pregnancy, where no disease or disorder was miraculously and instantaneously healed but rather there was an outcome no different from that in other cases involving precisely the same condition (HELLP syndrome) but without prayers to Romero or any other purported saint, as shown here and here.
Here is what one can say: The process of canonization has been hijacked for political and ideological purposes and thus is no longer what it once was. Regarding the rapid-fire canonizations of John XXIII, John Paul II and Paul VI, which is to say every Pope associated with Vatican II, no one has captured the essence of the travesty better than Dr. Peter Kwasniewski:
“[I]t should cause the deepest astonishment and skepticism to note that while the Church had canonized exactly two popes from a 700-year period, in recent years, she has “canonized” three popes from a period of scarcely over 50 years – a half-century that magically coincides with the preparation, execution, and aftermath of that most magical of all Councils, Vatican II. Must be that ‘new Pentecost’ effect. If this is not enough to make a cynic of someone, I’m not sure what would be.”
Are we really expected to accept blindly – as a model of heroic virtue whom the whole Church must venerate – the very Pope who turned the Church upside down, who deliberately disrupted the bimillenial unity of the Roman Rite based on the work of Annibale Bugnini, whom Paul VI later sacked on suspicion of being a Freemason as Bugnini himself records? Call me astonished. Call me skeptical.
It is the probable opinion of the theologians that canonizations are acts within the charism of papal infallibility. But the Magisterium of the Church has never so declared. Perhaps the reason for the lack of any such declaration is the canonization crisis we now witness. One would have to be willfully blind to deny that the canonization process has been compromised. And that compromise would appear to be yet another element of a crisis the likes of which the Church has never seen.