Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

10/1/2013 (6 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

During a public consistory with his brother Bishops, Francis, often called the Pope of Mercy by the faithful, announced the expected news that Blessed Pope John XXIII and Blessed Pope John Paul II will be raised to sainthood, canonized, together

The decision to canonize Blessed John XXIII and Blessed John Paul II together speaks a message of mercy and underscores the fact that the work of renewal and reform of the Church, as properly understood, will continue. It also puts the axe to the root of any who, directly or indirectly, seek to diminish the importance of the Second Vatican Council. The joint participation of Benedict and Francis in the event underscores a proper approach to the Council, a hermeneutic of continuity.  

With the joint canonizations of John XXIII and John Paul II we will reaffirm as a universal Church that the Second Vatican Council is a gift. Though it is still being  unpacked - under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and in continuity with the past - it points us toward the future and illuminates the path.

With the joint canonizations of John XXIII and John Paul II we will reaffirm as a universal Church that the Second Vatican Council is a gift. Though it is still being unpacked - under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and in continuity with the past - it points us toward the future and illuminates the path.

Article Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

10/1/2013 (6 months ago)

Published in Europe

Keywords: John Paul II, John XXII, Canonization, Vatican, Pope Francis, Mercy, Mercy Sunday, hermeneutic of continuity, Deacon Keith Fournier


VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - The official announcement from the Holy See "decreed that Blesseds John XXIII and John Paul II will be enrolled among the saints on April 27, 2014, the Second Sunday of Easter, of the Divine Mercy." 

During a public consistory with his brother Bishops, Francis, often called the Pope of Mercy by the faithful, announced the expected news that Blessed Pope John XXIII and Blessed Pope John Paul II will be raised to sainthood, canonized, together. The confirmation of the date chosen is utterly fitting. The Canonizations will take place on the Sunday Feast of Divine Mercy, April 27, 2014.

The joy in the Pope was evident, and rightly so. The angels in heaven are also rejoicing. He has often been compared to Pope John XXIII, especially in his smile and kind demeanor. He has also been compared to Pope John Paul II,in his passion for evangelization, his love for the poor and his call to mercy. His linking of the two popes in one Liturgy of canonization,like all of his actions, is prophetic. 

This is a Pope who understands that he speaks most loudly through his actions. What is it about Francis that grabs the heart of a watching world, cuts through cynicism and imparts happiness and hope to so many? I suggest the answer is simple; it is the character of Christ which he reveals. It is the Mercy of God which he preaches - in word and prophetic action.

The name which Cardinal Bergoglio took upon accepting the invitation to be the successor of Peter was appropriate. The little poor man of Assisi named Francis had a similar effect in his own time. Francis, like his namesake, is a simple, joyful, humble, merciful and uncomplicated man, a man so in love with Jesus Christ that when people see him, they see Jesus.

He truly reminds me of the words of the Apostle Paul to the Galatians, "No longer do I live but Christ lives in me". (Gal. 2:20) It is not about Francis - and simple people discern that right away. It is all about Jesus Christ, whom he serves, proclaims and lives.

Like the Lord whom he loves, Francis loves God's people - and they know it. They want to be with him just like they wanted to be with Jesus. That is how it is with holy people. Yet, as it is also with holy people - it is not really about Francis. People are being drawn to Jesus Christ, whether they know it yet or not. His message, spoken with lip and life, makes it all so very clear.  He walks the talk.

The decision to canonize Blessed John XXIII and Blessed John Paul II together speaks a message of mercy and underscores the fact that the work of renewal and reform of the Church, as properly understood, will continue. It also puts the axe to the root of any who, directly or indirectly, seek to diminish the importance of the Second Vatican Council. The joint participation of Benedict and Francis in the event underscores a proper approach to the Council, a hermeneutic of continuity.  

My memory of Blessed John XXIII is really captured by his smile. The stories of his visiting the poor and surprising so many with his humble, joyful encounters are inspiring. His convening of the Second Vatican Council established his place in the history of the Catholic Church for ages to come. 

However, for me, I had no experience with him personally.

Not so with Blessed John Paul II. I was captured by his teaching, moved by his apostolic ministry and totally transformed by a blessed personal encounter with him which completely turned my life upside down. I have long known what will be formally proclaimed on April 27, 2014, he is a Saint. 

On April 2, 2005 at 9:37 p.m., John Paul II died. In April of 2009 his beloved successor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, told Pilgrims gathered in Rome "With you, I pray for the gift of beatification".  That prayer was answered on Friday, January 14, 2011 the Holy See released the "Decree for the Beatification of the Servant of God John Paul II."

The choice of the Feast of Divine Mercy, May 1, 2011 was no accident. John Paul had a deep devotion to his fellow Pole Sr. Faustina Kowalska and to the Divine Mercy devotion identified with her. In August 2002, in Lagiewniki, Poland where Sr. Faustina lived and died, John Paul II entrusted the entire world  "to Divine Mercy, to the unlimited trust in God the Merciful."

The Decree of his Beatification noted, "Since the beginning of his pontificate, in 1978, John Paul II often spoke in his homilies of the mercy of God. This became the theme of his second encyclical, Dives in Misericordia, in 1980. He was aware that modern culture and its language do not have a place for mercy, treating it as something strange; they try to inscribe everything in the categories of justice and law. But this does not suffice, for it is not what the reality of God is about."

With millions of the faithful, I prayed fervently throughout those final days of his life before he entered the eternal communion of love. What a gift he was - and still is. He showed us how to live and how to love as Jesus, poured out for others. He showed us that suffering joined to the Savior is a sign and vehicle of God's mercy and an occasion of grace.

Then, he showed us how to die, not with fear, but with living faith which opens into eternity.

This Polish Pope was so filled with the love of God it was contagious. A talented and gifted "man of letters", a playwright, a philosopher, an intellectual giant, a poet, and a genuinely human person, he had a heart that embraced the whole world like the Heart of the One whom he represented on earth.

He traversed the globe, proclaiming freedom to the captives and truth to the victims of failed false ideologies that had ravaged the people of the twentieth century, the bloodiest in all of human history. He proclaimed the unchanging, Christian message with a prophetic urgency, profound clarity and contemporary relevance.

Many tried to label him but he demonstrated how shallow the labels can be. He was simply a Christian who stood on the shoulders of giants, rooted in the ancient rich tradition of the Church while proclaiming Jesus Christ as "forever young."

Communism, atheism, secularism, and false humanisms, were exposed because he had the courage to stand up to tyrants with the bold message of the God who came among us to make us all new! He taught that Jesus Christ is the path to authentic personal, social and universal freedom!

He authored more encyclical letters, apostolic exhortations, constitutions and letters than any Pope in the two thousand year history of the Christian Church. Once I started reading his writings as a young man I could not stop. I wanted to consume them, and I have done so, over and over. I also hoped to become them and offer them to others. On that front, I have a long way to go.

It was the writings of John Paul which prompted a later call in life for this lawyer to the Catholic Diaconate, the pursuit of a Masters Degree at his Institute and later studies for the PhD in Moral Theology at Catholic University, focusing on his immense contributions. I knew I was called to be a part of the New Evangelization and New Springtime of world missions which he proclaimed.

His successor, Pope Emeritus Benedict continued that trajectory. Now, Pope Francis, the Pope of mercy, is opening new horizons to the Message of the Mercy of God which John Paul proclaimed, embodied and died manifesting for the world. 

Over many years I have been drawn into the ever deepening experience of living in the communion of the Church because John Paul II taught about it and lived it with beauty. He captured my heart and inspired me to ever deeper prayer. I have tried to practice his version of authentic ecumenism. I have tried to pass on to others his message of authentic freedom. However, the older I get, the more I realize how little I have accomplished.

This giant whose voice changed history was barely able to speak during those final hours. The once physically robust Pope presided over the Church from a wheelchair as a prophetic sign of the dignity of every human life; the message he carried throughout his pontificate. Just before he died he spoke to a friend at his bedside "I am happy. You should be too. Let us pray together with joy." Then, on April 2, 2005 at 9:37 p.m. after asking, "Let me go to my Father's House", he died in peace. The world wept.

I remember his death like it was yesterday. Along with millions, my heart sunk as he was placed in the earth after such a long period of suffering. When the "transitus" (passing to eternal life) of this holy man was completed it seemed as though that earth stood still. History was changed by the witness of one man singularly conformed to the One whom he served, Jesus Christ.

John Paul II was in both life and death a "living letter", as St Paul wrote to the Corinthians. (2 Cor.3) Also, like the Lord he loved he became a "grain of wheat" fallen to the ground in order to bear much fruit. (John 12: 24-26) Like many others my life was forever changed by this prophet who occupied Peters' chair for such a brief time. I must admit, my heart still hurts when I think of him. I still miss him.

I am convinced that history will record him as John Paul the Great. However, I am further convinced that his message still remins to to be unpacked in order to be effectively used as material for the work to be done in this new missionary age.

Pope Benedict unpacked it through his profound theology and teaching. He also personified it in the dignity and humility of his pontificate; crowned by his historic and humble act of voluntarily  stepping aside. It continues through his prophetic choice of spending the remainder of his days in a monastic vocation praying for the Church he loves.

Now, Pope Francis is unpacking the message with his all embracing evangelical zeal, love for the poor and prophetic message of the call to a new missionary age of the Church which enlists all of us!

The sentiment of the faithful expressed on the day when John Paul's dead body was processed through the streets of Rome, "Santo Subito" has been confirmed. He will be canonized on the Sunday of Divine Mercy, along with Blessed John XXIII, and the faithful will be able to say in public what we have known all along, John Paul II is a Saint.  We will also say that John XXIII is a saint.

With the joint canonizations of John XXIII and John Paul II we will reaffirm as a universal Church that the Second Vatican Council is a gift. Though it is still being  unpacked - under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and in continuity with the past - it points us toward the future and illuminates the path.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for April 2014
Ecology and Justice:
That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources.
Hope for the Sick: That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness.



Comments


More Europe

Pope Francis on the Resurrection: Why Do You Seek the Living Among the Dead? Watch

Image of Pope Francis: Today this question is also addressed to us.

By Pope Francis

This week is the week of joy, we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus. It is a true, profound joy, based on the certainty that Christ is now risen, He is dead no more, but is alive and active in the Church and in the world . This certainty dwells in the hearts of ... continue reading


Pope Francis Easter Vigil Homily: Where is My Galilee? Encountering Jesus Watch

Image of Pope Francis: To return to Galilee means above all to return to that blazing light with which God's grace touched me at the start of the journey. From that flame I can light a fire for today and every day, and bring heat and light to my brothers and sisters. That flame ignites a humble joy, a joy which sorrow and distress cannot dismay, a good, gentle joy.

By Pope Francis

Galilee is the place where they were first called, where everything began! To return there, to return to the place where they were originally called. Jesus had walked along the shores of the lake as the fishermen were casting their nets. He had called them, and ... continue reading


Urbi Et Orbi: Pope Francis Gives Easter Message to the City and the World Watch

Image of The message flows from his entire pontificate of loving service.True and lasting peace comes through reconciliation and love. God is Love. He sent His Only Son to offer all of us the path to peace and the plan of loving salvation.

By Pope Francis

The message which Christians bring to the world is this: Jesus, Love incarnate, died on the cross for our sins, but God the Father raised him and made him the Lord of life and death. In Jesus, love has triumphed over hatred, mercy over sinfulness, goodness over ... continue reading


LOCH NESS MONSTER - FOUND? Amazing new photos appear Watch

Image of Cutting-edge technology may have just added credence to a long-standing legend in Scotland's Loch Ness.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Cutting-edge technology may have just added credence to a long-standing legend in Scotland's Loch Ness. A satellite orbiting Earth and using Apple's satellite map app may have provided proof that there's a Nessie to be found in the Scottish Highlands. The ... continue reading


UFO caught on film in England, but it's not a spacecraft... Watch

Image of This mysterious ring lasted for about three minutes in the air before dissipating, according to the eyewitness.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A bizarre black ring is baffling experts in England, after it was filmed by a sixteen year old girl in Warwickshire. The ring apparently hung in the sky for three minutes before dissipating. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Nick Pope, a former adviser to the ... continue reading


Russia continues to devour Ukraine Watch

Image of Russia's Prime Minister, and former president of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev said that Ukraine is on the brink of civil war.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Vladimir Putin has continued his land grab in Ukraine, making it ever more apparent that the Russian president wants to reunite the old Soviet republics and from a new Soviet Union, even at the risk of causing a major war. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Russia ... continue reading


Immune to poison, GIANT rats terrify Great Britain Watch

Image of Nationwide, councils have reported a rise in the number of rats being reported. Birmingham has the highest number of call-outs with 5,100 in the past year.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"Rats -- the size of cats" is a lyric in David Bowie's classic rock hymn "Diamond Dogs." It's a terrifying, dystopian vision that unfortunately coming true in Great Britain today, with rodents as large as two feet in length. Even worse, these monster rats have ... continue reading


Pope appoints Lady Margaret Scotford Archer to head Pontifical Academy Watch

Image of Lady Margaret Scotford Archer was born in Grenoside, U.K., and holds a Ph.D. from the University of London. She is currently a professor at l'Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland. She previously taught for many years at the University of Warwick in Great Britain.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Lady Margaret Scotford Archer has been appointed by Pope Francis to be President of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences." The group consists of scholars dedicated to studying issues in the social sciences in order to offer reflection and advice to the ... continue reading


Dissenting Priest Defies Church of England's Teaching on Marriage, 'Marries' his Homosexual Paramour Watch

Image of An Anglican priest has defied the Church of England's insistence that marriage is between one man and one woman by openly dissenting from the Scripture and Christian tradition and wedding his longtime homosexual companion. The 58-year-old Canon Jeremy Pemberton, a divorced hospital chaplain, wed 51-year-old Laurence Cunnington this past weekend.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A practicing homosexual priest has defied the Church of England's ban on homosexual and lesbian clergy marrying by wedding his longtime male homosexual companion. The 58-year-old Canon Jeremy Pemberton, a divorced hospital chaplain, wed his long-term homosexual ... continue reading


Who Am I? Homily of Pope Francis on the Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion Watch

Image of

By Pope Francis

This week begins with the festive procession with olive branches: all the people welcome Jesus. The children, the young people sing, praising Jesus.But this week proceeds into the mystery of Jesus' death and his resurrection. We've heard the Passion of the Lord. ... continue reading


All Europe News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 3:1-10
1 Once, when Peter and John were going up to the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 105:1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8-9
1 Alleluia! Give thanks to Yahweh, call on his name, ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 24:13-35
13 Now that very same day, two of them were on their ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 23rd, 2014 Image

St. George
April 23: Pictures of St. George usually show him killing a dragon to ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter