If Pope Francis is bad - what about Pope St. John Paul II et al?

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JMJ

So here we are on the apparent cusp of yet another post conciliar Papal canonization. This time we have Pope's John-Paul I and Paul VI canonizations to 'look forward' to.

This follows, obviously, on the heels of Pope St. John Paul II's canonization?

So the first question that I usually encounter is: How is it possible, keeping in mind the doctrine on infallibility of canonizations (note doctrine not dogma), that Pope St. John Paul II is a Saint?

First, what does it mean???  According to the doctrine of dogmatic facts - it is the universal opinion of Theologians that canonizations are infallible.  It means that they enjoy the beatific vision.  ... that's it.  That is the doctrine and it is at the level of universal opinion of theologians.  It is called a 'dogmatic fact'.

That they made mistakes is obvious.  That the miracles seem to not be very miraculous is also a bit of an issue.

Here's something to consider:
The rush that surrounded this beatification is not only regrettable in light of posterity’s judgement on this pontificate. Its most significant consequence is to neglect the serious questions addressed to the Catholic conscience, in particular with regard to the virtues that define Christian life, the supernatural and theological virtues of faith, hope and charity. In light of the first commandment of God, for example, how can we evaluate the acts of a pope who, by his words and by his kiss, seemed to raise the Koran to the same level as the Word of God (Rome, May 14, 1999)? who prayed to St. John the Baptist for the protection of Islam (Holy Land, March 21, 2000)? who was proud of actively participating in animist rituals in the sacred forests of Togo (August 9, 1985)? Courtesy of SSPX.org
Obviously, Pope John Paul II is not worthy of imitation in kissing the koran, calling pan-religious prayer meetings, and the belief that no one is in hell.

What's the last bit?

The conclusion that Pope St. John Paul II believed in universal salvation is supported by this (among others) statement:
Eternal damnation remains a possibility, but we are not granted, without special divine revelation, the knowledge of whether or which human beings are effectively involved in it.
The logical reading of this statement is we don't know whether there are human beings who suffer eternal damnation. This statement was scrubbed on the Vatican website shortly before the canonization.  (Tradicat: UNIVERSAL SALVATION AND POPE JOHN PAUL II - UPDATED)


So, while Pope John Paul II may be in Heaven, it is not for kissing the koran, calling Assisi, or his globe trotting.

In my opinion, it is because of the suffering he underwent during the remaining years of his life.  Years of relatively silent suffering.

That is the example that we can imitate, meekly accepting the suffering that God sends us on this life to fire the metal of our soul.

P^3








Comments

  1. Let's start by not calling John Paul II a "Saint." It's not a denial that he is in heaven, but using "Pope St." in front of his name is imprudent and promotes his cult, which should be suppressed.

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    1. Thanks for the comment Alex. The reason for placing the title is to combat a tendency that I've noticed amongst Traditional Catholics.

      There is the tendency to believe something can't be possible and reject it outright - even if doing so contravenes a doctrine or even Dogma of the Catholic Church.

      Sedevacantists deny that the Popes since Pius XII have been validly elected. The contravenes another dogmatic fact. In essence the same level of authority the states that canonizations are infallible.

      So to allow one error is to allow the other.

      Hence why I bend the minds of some Traditional Catholics by saying Pope St. John Paul II. They, in my opinion, need to believe what the Catholic Church Teaches, not just what they want to believe. If one picks and chooses, without really understanding the important details, then they will not be long without a wound. Just take a look at the "resistance'.

      It may very well come to pass that some later Pope or Council will cut the Gordian Knot of the canonizations - but until then I stand fast with the need to ensure that we abide by all doctrine.

      P^3

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    2. What doctrine are we talking about?

      If it’s a doctrine, then a future Pope or council cannot undo it.

      The only infallible item attached to canonizations is that the person is in heaven; not confirmation of miracles, not confirmation of heroic virtue, and not the declaration that they can be emulated.

      Hence, by denying the title “Saint” one is not denying the infallible decree that he is heaven, but rather we are rejecting the fact that he should be emulated based upon infallible Church teaching. In essence, “traditional Catholics” are trying to follow Church teaching when it relates to what is infallible and what is not.

      Take for instance the Assisi meetings where John Paul II accommodated pagans in breaking the first commandment on consecrated Church ground. This is a public action with no public correction or repentance, but rather he defends it later in an address.

      From this example (and others), we can easily say that identifying that John Paul II is safe emulate is erroneous. Why? Because not worshipping false gods is dogma and being an accessory to idol worship is explicitly sinful, because it invites breaking infallible teaching. Again, there was not public repentance of this act, but rather he defended the event. Granted, he did not defend of sin, but I am not arguing that he intended to do anything bad, just that he shows us a bad example for emulate – a very, very bad and scandalous event that goes against the Catholic faith.

      Now, is identifying that John Paul II has heroic virtue and safe to emulate an infallible act? No.
      But, not worshiping false gods is infallible. The ability to be an accessory to evil is an infallible teaching.


      Keeping that mind, what does the title “saint” mean in the context of canonization here on earth? Well, one condition is that the person is safe to emulate, to imitate and follow. In fact, this is the primary purpose of canonization, to screen the person and make sure they are safe to emulate. It is not primarily about being in heaven, but that is a necessary component.

      Since John Paul II is not safe to emulate, based on infallible teaching, then he should not be called “saint” in this context. Not everyone who is in heaven should be canonized and be called a “saint.” Being in heaven alone has never been the prerequisite to call someone a “saint” in our context.

      There is a level of authority when identifying someone as safe to emulate. However, again, that is not infallible. And if a non-infallible teaching contradicts an infallible one (as shown above), then the infallible must reign supreme. Hence, he should not be called a saint.

      It’s like if Pope Francis, in Amoris Laetitia, explicitly stated we should give holy Communion to divorced and “re-married,” but he does so in a non-infallible way. Then I turn around and disagree based on infallible Church teaching. But… people keep saying “You must adhere to this! It’s from the Pope and it’s in a papal document!” Nope.

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    3. Also, canonization makes sure the person is safe to emulate on the context of all their actions.

      If they have done scandal (intentionally or not), and repented publicly, then that is okay – like St. Paul.

      However, the faithful are not here to say “gee, JPII is only a Saint based on the end of his life suffering and not all these other dozens of things.” That is the job of the Church’s judgement. A judgement that is not infallible in this situation and is in contradiction to infallible Church teaching.

      Canonization is not about focusing on one trait and then ignoring public scandal that has no correction.

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    4. Based on the doctrine of dogmatic facts, the only thing that is infallible in these canonizations, is that Pope St. John Paul II is presently enjoying the beatific vision.

      P^3

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    5. Answering your 7h40 post:

      Hi Alex,

      The doctrine in question is that of Dogmatic Facts. This doctrine is based on the universal opinion of theologians. As such it is doctrine, but not a dogma.

      With respect to the rest of your post, what exactly are you trying to say?

      It almost seems that, because of some very bad acts, you believe Pope St. John Paul II should not be called a Saint?

      The same could be said for St. Peter, St. Paul, St. Magdalen.

      There's even an anti-pope who died a martyr and is a canonized saint.


      P^3



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    6. Hello,

      Yes, I am saying he should not be called a Saint.

      The difference between St. Peter et al. and JPII is that there was no public correction or repentance for JPII’s public scandals. Hence, he is not a good example to show the faithful for heroic virtue, emulate, saintliness.

      Martyrdom is the clear reason why someone can be canonized and be called a Saint. With John Paul II, there is nothing in the canonization that says, “go look here and emulate X, but ignore Y over there.” It is different with martyrdom.

      So, both comparisons fall short here.


      Otherwise, what is the entire point of having a canonization process that tries to go over the person's writings, speeches, and brings in witnesses, etc?

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    7. Hello,

      I replied several days ago. Did it show up?

      Delete
    8. Hi Alex,

      How do you know that there was no repentance on the part of PsJP2?

      While your opinion is that he should not be call Pope St. John Paul II because of his scandalous acts, it remains your opinion.

      My opinion differs in that:

      1. Clearly he performed a number of scandalous acts, he pontificate leaves much to be desired, even if these were not present.

      2. The doctrine provides us the assurance that he is enjoying the beatific vision and therefore is a 'saint'. Until the Church examines this (not holding my breath on this one) and amends the doctrine (note it is a dogmatic fact which is doctrine not dogma) this is the state of reality.

      3. Not calling hms (even occasionally) Pope St. John Paul II, opens up discussions on whether or not you accept the teachings of the Catholic Church, sedevacantism, etc.

      So ... it is an "infallible" dogmatic fact that Pope John Paul II is a Saint. Refusing to acknowledge this can create more problems that it solves.

      This is a teaching moment in which we adhere to the Doctrines of the Catholic Church and explain that all it means is that he is worthy of imitation in those things he did right.

      Such as suffering for the last five years of his life trapped in a body while (like Pius XII) the bad prelates had full sway.

      Holding this in contrast with his objectively bad actions - Assisi and the Koran affair - is part of the discussion.

      P^3

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    9. Hi Alex,

      With respect to "I replied several days ago. Did it show up?"

      I lead a very very full life and haven't had a chance to look at Tradicat for a while.

      P^3

      Delete
    10. Hello,

      You wrote:


      “How do you know that there was no repentance on the part of PsJP2?”

      The key here is *public* repentance or *public* correction of the act, so people will not be as scandalized or confused when he is suggested as a role model and person to emulate.

      There were no *public* acts such as these for his numerous scandals.
      Therefore, no one knows if thought of his scandals as real error and real damage. Rather, an onlooker can easily interpret that he adhered and accepted his scandals and errors because, once again, there is no known public correction or repentance.


      As for your points, 1 and 2 are agreeable.

      However:

      “3. Not calling him (even occasionally) Pope St. John Paul II, opens up discussions on whether or not you accept the teachings of the Catholic Church, sedevacantism, etc.

      So ... it is an "infallible" dogmatic fact that Pope John Paul II is a Saint. Refusing to acknowledge this can create more problems that it solves.”

      I will try to explain more clearly. Let’s examine the facts:

      Canonization is only infallible insofar as confirming the person is in heaven. I agree that he is heaven.

      However, everything else is prone to error. Including the prudence of the declaration and recommending that he is a person worthy of emulation and a role model. Again, not everyone who is a saint in heaven should be called a “Saint” in its formal title, within our context of emulation and role model. Why? Because not everyone’s lives are models of heroic virtue and free from scandal.

      Hence, one can safely refuse to call him “Saint” in our context of the word as a person of emulation and heroic virtue. However, we can admit that he is a “saint” in the context that he is in heaven. But again, not everyone should be titled “Saint” if they give a bad example (e.g. *public* scandal with no *public* correction).


      You wrote:

      “This is a teaching moment in which we adhere to the Doctrines of the Catholic Church and explain that all it means is that he is worthy of imitation in those things he did right.”

      Of course. But canonization is supposed to screen individuals in order that they can be shown to the laity at large as a safe example of emulation. The laity are not supposed to be the ones decipher what they can ignore and what they can embrace.

      That defeats the whole reason for the process.

      Now, we can have people look to JPII and proclaim heresy because of the examples he has shown. I have personally run into this many times.

      With all this said, it is easy to see that taking this position is within the teaching authority of the Church, but also holds to the Catholic principles about Saints, emulation, and good role models.


      You wrote:

      “I lead a very very full life and haven't had a chance to look at Tradicat for a while.”

      I suspected that was a case. So, I waited four days before responding. I can relate.

      Delete
    11. "... Now, we can have people look to JPII and proclaim heresy because of the examples he has shown. I have personally run into this many times. ..."

      This would be a fallacy on their part. The truth is the truth.

      My reasons still stand. Those who are less understanding of doctrine and more prone to jumping to conclusions are the ones that I use this on the most. Consider it a teaching moment if you will.

      As far as the process etc, there wasn't always a process ... but it is what it is ...just another part of the crisis.

      Cheers!
      P^3

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  2. Even if I remove my example about people not understanding the truth, my points still stand. You never addressed anything else I said. The persons who blundered on issues of soteriology were very well educated, professors who teach hundreds of students a year, and they referenced John Paul II directly. It is much more difficult to justify heresy with other modern saints.

    But, if personal experience with those who teach 100s of students a year on the faith does not matter, we can look to my other points which were never addressed and still stand:

    1. Public acts, with no public correction, give a bad example and therefore should bare someone from canonization or at least serve as justification for not calling them a “saint.”

    2. There is a distinction between recognizing someone is a Saint via the dogmatic fact that they are in heaven, as opposed to the prudency of actually calling them a “Saint;” promoting their cult, and making a claim that they are safe to emulate.


    3. Hence, one can safely claim that the person in question, John Paul II, should not have been canonized and they can safely refuse to call him a Saint in the context that he is worthy of emulation, possessed heroic virtue, and the promotion of his cult.



    Also, I have studied the process and how it developed overtime. Due to recent canonizations changes (and the next one which is Paul VI, which is even more mindboggling) it should be clear by now that reform is needed. It appears the definitions of Heroic Virtue, and being a good role model/being safe to emulate have changed to some degree.

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    1. > Even if I remove my example about people not understanding the truth, my points still stand. You never addressed anything else I said. The persons who blundered on issues of soteriology were very well educated, professors who teach hundreds of students a year, and they referenced John Paul II directly. It is much more difficult to justify heresy with other modern saints.
      [Tradicat: This is a deeper area in which to delve. The citation of JP2's writings may still be to create an inference from what is said by JP2 to what one wants to assert. If you have an specific examples it may be worthy of separate article.]
      >
      > But, if personal experience with those who teach 100s of students a year on the faith does not matter, we can look to my other points which were never addressed and still stand:
      >
      > 1. Public acts, with no public correction, give a bad example and therefore should bare someone from canonization or at least serve as justification for not calling them a “saint.”
      [Tradicat: ... and at the same time you have acts that were worthy of emulation. For example, looking at Dr. Lamont's recent article on Amoris Laetitia (see Rorate-Caeli) demonstrates that there are good actions. No one is perfect and not all aspects of a Saint's life are always worthy of emulation.]
      >
      > 2. There is a distinction between recognizing someone is a Saint via the dogmatic fact that they are in heaven, as opposed to the prudency of actually calling them a “Saint;” promoting their cult, and making a claim that they are safe to emulate.
      [Tradicat: Now we enter into the question of practicing the virtue of prudence. I have no problem call Pope JP2, Pope St. JP2 and then pointing out to my opponents elements of his life that are obviously not worthy of emulation. By calling him by an approved title, I keep the door open for further conversation. ]
      >
      >
      > 3. Hence, one can safely claim that the person in question, John Paul II, should not have been canonized and they can safely refuse to call him a Saint in the context that he is worthy of emulation, possessed heroic virtue, and the promotion of his cult.
      [Tradicat: Agreed. It is a matter of prudence. As noted earlier, I do so in order to help Traditional Catholics to understand the Doctrine of the Church (thereby avoiding the greater evil of sedevacantism and ignorance) and with Modern Catholics in order to enable the discussion on demonstrating what is NOT worthy of emulation.]
      >
      > Also, I have studied the process and how it developed overtime. Due to recent canonizations changes (and the next one which is Paul VI, which is even more mindboggling) it should be clear by now that reform is needed. It appears the definitions of Heroic Virtue, and being a good role model/being safe to emulate have changed to some degree.
      [Tradicat: ... and that is an entirely different topic. That the use of canonization in order to promote a political agenda as opposed to virtue is ... in my mind ... criminal. ]

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  3. Part 1:


    “The citation of JP2's writings may still be to create an inference from what is said by JP2 to what one wants to assert. If you have an specific examples it may be worthy of separate article.”

    Yeah, that could produce a much larger topic. One can start with Ut Unum Sint and the calls for a common martyrology.


    “[Tradicat: ... and at the same time you have acts that were worthy of emulation. No one is perfect and not all aspects of a Saint's life are always worthy of emulation.]”

    Right. There are always good things to emulate. But again, if there are bad things, public with no public correction, they will get mixed in with the good without differentiation. This is a danger.

    It is even more a danger when one considers that John Paul II can be praised so highly in certain areas, as to cause a sort of “super saint” atmosphere due to it mixing with the current stream of Papolatry or “papal positivism.” – i.e. whatever the Pope does or says is always right.

    This is a hyperbole, obviously, but it makes his canonization even worse. Once he is set up as seemingly an impeccable super saint (since he was Saint and Pope) then the public scandals against the Catholic faith are even more dangerous and confusing.


    “[Tradicat: I have no problem call Pope JP2, Pope St. JP2 and then pointing out to my opponents elements of his life that are obviously not worthy of emulation. By calling him by an approved title, I keep the door open for further conversation. ]”

    Well, that is obvious. It is just safer to not call him a Saint, but at the same time one to point to what is highly praiseworthy and worthy of imitation, then warn of the scandals. Something like: “John Paul II has many good things about his life and Papacy, we can learn some lessons in piety and theology. However, often he has poor qualities, errors, and incorrect actions against the Catholic faith. His is essentially a mixed bag.”


    “[Tradicat: Agreed. It is a matter of prudence. As noted earlier, I do so in order to help Traditional Catholics to understand the Doctrine of the Church (thereby avoiding the greater evil of sedevacantism and ignorance) and with Modern Catholics in order to enable the discussion on demonstrating what is NOT worthy of emulation.]”

    Ah, I see. Sedes and pseudo-Trads will often claim defunct authority behind canonization. However, in order for a proper reform and restoration of the canonization process, it would be more prudent to not title people like JPII as “saints” in our earthly context.

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  4. Part 2:

    I do not see how it is possible that we can call someone a “Saint” (in our earthly context) in the face of things like Assisi.

    John Paul II accommodated pagans in breaking the first commandant. Pagan gods are called demons in Scripture. This was done on consecrated Church ground.

    John Paul II accommodated and became an accessory (materially?) to not only sacrilege, but also breaking of the first commandment, which is not only in Divine law, but also in supernatural law. What makes this worse is that he later defended the Assisi event in a speech. Regardless of intentions, or if he knew what he was doing, it is madness to have this man raised to the altars and to be put forth as worthy of veneration and emulation.

    I cannot even call him a Saint for this reason alone, much less the other bizarre things he did. It makes no sense to me and it disturbs my faith to the core. Not many may understand this. The simplest of commandments is spit upon and now I am supposed to call him a Saint? What is more Catholic: what John Paul II did, or my refusal to call him a saint, yet recognize that he is still in heaven? (I am not posing this question towards you, it’s just a little rant because of the experiences I have been through with this)

    In order to “understand the doctrine of the Church,” as you say, then we should really describe, and point out the truth in it’s entirely, without confusion – or the confusion that words like “saint” could bring. The mean lies in not calling him a Saint, but to always preference this by recognizing that he is in heaven and has done some things good and some bad things against the faith.

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