Friday, July 01, 2005

John Paul the Great May be Declared a Martyr

Memorial of Bl. Junipero Serra

Apparently Vatican officials no longer are rejecting the notion that Pope John Paul the Great could be declared a martyr, which would remove the need for a confirmed miracle to beatify him and making it easier for him to be declared a saint. A confirmed miracle occurring after his beatification would still be required for canonization.

Jose Cardinal Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, said, "In a technical, theological, juridical and canonical sense, the martyr gives his life for the faith." At question is whether the May 1981 assassination and the pope's long, public suffering are sufficient for such a declaration. He went on to say, "We have to verify the motive for the attempt on the life of (Karol) Wojtyla" because it is not clear that the attempt on the Holy Father's life was an act of religious persecution, rather than being politically motivated in light of his ties to the Solidarity movement in Poland.

I, for one, am confident in the ultimate outcome of the cause for sainthood, so I recommend proceeding judiciously. I do not expect it to be difficult to identify a couple of confirmed miracles. Abandoning the Church's normal due diligence in a fit of zeal could have the unintended consequence of undermining the presentations of her normally well considered teachings to an already skeptical world. Then again, if he is indeed a martyr, we should not be afraid to shout it from the rooftops.

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