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Tuesday, June 07, 2005
St. John Paul: What's the Hurry?

The Vatican has begun the process of getting Pope John Paul II declared a saint, going so far as to (as everybody mundanely describes this) "fast-track" it.

Benedict announced May 13 that he had decided to put John Paul on a fast track for possible sainthood. While Mother Teresa was put on a similar fast-track, her cause didn't begin until a year after her death, whereas the process began six weeks after John Paul died.

During John Paul's April 8 funeral, mourners interrupted the Mass by chanting "Santo! Santo!" and carried banners exclaiming "Santo Subito!" or "Sainthood Immediately!"

("Through a bizarre typographical error, he was declared 'St. Immediately' and now functions as the patron saint of procrastinators.")

Yes, but: why? Is sainthood a change in status of JP's immortal soul, such that the few years it would take otherwise to get him there represent an infinite loss for him? Does the Church claim to hold that much spiritual power? If not that, is there anything to this beyond Church politics and a worldwide popularity contest? That is, does JP becoming a saint quickly, even within the premise of Catholicism, make any difference?

(By the way, for anti-beatification arguments -- including, ironically, the earlier beatification of Mother Teresa -- see this blog-or-whatever that I've never heard of before.)

UPDATE: First thing I didn't know is that "beatification" is not sainthood:
Beatification places virtuous Roman Catholics halfway toward full sainthood

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