Walt will not be among the million or more pilgrims expected to flock to the Eternal City this weekend for the "canonizations" of Popes John Paul II and John XXIII. I put "canonizations" in quotes because there is serious doubt about the propriety of declaring these popes saints.
In times past -- before Vatican II and even through the papacy of Paul VI -- it took a long time for the process of canonization to unfold. A case or "cause" had to be opened, and then promoted under the direction of a "postulator", whose mission was to make the case for the sainthood of the individual. But there was also a "devil's advocate" charged with arguing the case against the person in question. And, as proof of saintliness, two miracles -- not one but two -- had to be authenticated, and declared attributable to the intervention of the proposed saint. All this could take decades, even centuries.
But nowadays, under Francis the Party Pope -- now becoming known as "Pope of the Cold Calls" -- all those formalities are no longer required, especially for wannabe saints of the "new and improved" Roman Catholic Church of Vatican II. Francis has short-circuited the norms of Holy Mother Church so that JPII and John XXIII can be elevated to sainthood without the usual enquiries, arguments, and proofs of sanctity.
Why is this being done? Because to authenticate the saintliness of John XXIII, who convened Vatican II in spite of the warning given to him by Our Lady of Fatima, and John Paul II, who perpetuated and even worsened its errors, is to (in the minds of the faithful) authenticate the Council itself. So says Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X, in his latest Letter to Friends and Benefactors (No. 82), titled "We vigorously protest these canonizations ".
Also worth reading is the Catholic Family News interview with Professor Roberto de Mattei on the proposed canonizations. Here's a quote: "If I had to admit that Pope Roncalli [John XXIII] exercised virtue in a heroic way while carrying out his role of Pontiff, I would undermine at the core, the rational presuppositions of my faith. When in doubt, I adhere to the dogma of faith established by the First Vatican Council, according to which there can be no contradiction between faith and reason..."
Meanwhile, in a village called Cevo, in northern Italy, a man was killed yesterday when a crucifix devoted to John Paul II collapsed on top of him. The gigantic cross -- nearly 100 feet high -- was erected to honour the late pontiff’s 1998 visit to the nearby city of Brescia.
Coincidentally, the 21-year-old victim lived with his parents in a town called Lovere, on Via Papa Giovanni XXIII. In English, that's "Pope John XXIII Street". More primitive people might take the event as an evil omen, but of course we Catholics aren't that primitive... are we...