Pope Francis declared John XXIII a saint by the unusual means of an “equivalent canonization” without any formal process or additional miracle. The problem, however, is that Francis apparently ignored the requirements for this extraordinary act. As no less than Cardinal Amato, head of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, explained in connection with Francis’s “equivalent canonization” of Peter Faber in 2013:
For such a canonization, according to the teaching of Benedict XIV, three elements are required: an ancient tradition of devotion, the constant and common attestation of trustworthy historians on the virtues or martyrdom, and the uninterrupted fame of miracle.
If these conditions are satisfied—again according to the teaching of pope Prospero Lambertini [Benedict XIV]—the supreme pontiff, by his authority, can proceed with the “canonization equivalent”… without any definitive formal sentence, without any preliminary juridical process, without having carried out the usual ceremonies.
But where is the “ancient tradition of devotion” to John XXIII? He died only 52 years ago and there was no universal cult of devotion to him as of 2014. And where is the “uninterrupted fame of miracle,” seeing that only one confirmed miracle was attributed to his intercession (for purposes of the beatification in 2000)?
By comparison, St. Peter Faber (d. 1546), co-founder of the Jesuits, was revered as a saint from the moment he died nearly 500 years ago, no less than Saint Francis de Sales consistently depicted him as a saint, and he was beatified by Blessed Pius IX in 1872. Other examples of equivalent canonizations are Saint Peter Damian, Saints Cyril and Methodius, Saint Albert the Great, Saint John of Avila, and Saint Hildegard of Bingen (d. 1179), canonized and declared a Doctor of the Church by Benedict XVI in 2012 after many centuries of veneration as one of the Church’s greatest saints and mystics.
Unless one is willing to maintain that a saint is anyone a Pope says is a saint, without need of following any established canonization procedure or recognized exception thereto, it is hard to see on what basis John XXIII was canonized.
And in view of Francis’s approval of the cause for the “beatification” of the Marxist subversive Helder Camara, just declared a “Servant of God” by Amato’s Congregation despite his having been a defender of Mao and Castro, an opponent of Humanae Vitae and an advocate of women’s ordination and the acceptance of divorce and “remarriage” in the Church, it is hard to see how any act of beatification under this pontificate can be trusted.
Moreover, as the Catholic Encyclopedia notes, canonizations are “commonly and rightly held” to be infallible “whencanonization takes place according to thesolemnprocess that has been followed since the ninth century. Mere beatification, however, as distinguished fromcanonization, is not held to be infallible…”
With Francis now abandoning the solemn process for canonization seemingly at will, and with beatification—never infallible to begin with—now clearly the plaything of the ideologues Francis has let loose upon the Church, prudence, not blind faith, is indicated. For the saint factory put into operation by John Paul II now appears to be operating without a safety manual or even a minimal safety inspection. The common opinion of theologians respecting canonization may well have to be revisited in these unprecedented circumstances, as the Church herself has never declared infallibly that the act of canonization is absolutely immune from error regardless of how it is done.
As one Vatican observer put it concerning Francis’s canonization of John XXIII: “He wanted to make someone he really likes a saint.” That’s about the size of it. And so it goes with the ever-more-alarming rise of what Antonio Socci has so rightly termed “Bergoglianism.”
Want more Chris Ferrara? His contra evolution manifesto, "The Neo-Catholic Planet of the Apes" appears in the new issue of The Remnant. Subscribe to the E-edition and join us in protesting the unscientific, Bible-bashing, outdated theories of Mr. Darwin and his Neo-Catholic apologists: