Tuesday, May 10, 2011


I suppose if anyone is going to be fast tracked to sainthood,Saints Pope John Paul II is as good a pick as any. For me, I would have chosen Mother Theresa to be fast tracked…but that’s just me. It always seems strange to me when humans choose saints. Okay, I know that all true believers are called saints according to the Bible. But sainthood in the Catholic Church is something beyond that. These are the super-saints whose lives are deemed to have been marked by great charity, heroic virtue, and able to intercede on our behalf while in heaven. Still it seems odd to me for man to make such a judgment. Oops, did I say judgment? That must come from our admonition not to judge people’s souls - - - to be bad or good. Anyway, it seems that deeming a super-saint (sainthood) ought to be a job for Almighty God. He ought to judge who He has given heavenly powers to. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to tell God His job!!

The Church started naming saints in the tenth century. I’ll state that again: The Church started naming saints in the tenth century. At first, saints were almost exclusively martyrs who were deemed saints by public acclamation. Gradually the bishops took over the job until the Vatican eventually became the authority for deeming saints. The first step of sainthood is that the candidate’s life and writings are examined for heroic virtue (or martyrdom) and doctrinal orthodoxy. If the Vatican approves then the Pope proclaims the candidate as "venerable." The next step is beatification. This requires evidence of one miracle (except in the case of martyrs). Miracles are deemed proof that the person is in heaven and can intercede for us. There’s a catch though… the miracle must take place after the candidate's death and as a result of a specific petition to the candidate. Only then will the pope canonize the saint. The Church says that “canonization does not ‘make’ a person a saint; it recognizes what God has already done.” If I was a little skeptic, I’d say that I thought that the Bible says that man does not know the mind of God. In other words, we have no idea if God has replaced His Biblical definition of saint with the canonized version the Church started in the tenth century. A skeptic would also say that God never goes against His Word (Holy Scriptures). Thus, He wouldn’t contradict His definition of saint.

Even though we are not to have idols, it’s good to have spiritual role models after whom we should replicate our lives. I have no problem calling these canonized persons saints. After all, God calls all true believers saints.

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