Canonizations and Infallibility
#1
I have recently read that JP2 will soon be canonized.
This is causing me a crisis of conscience because I have read that canonizations are infallible. That the Church cannot err when She proposes a saint for veneration and immitation.
Can someone please help me to understand this within the context of JP2.
There is just no way I can ever accept that he is worthy of veneration and immitation given his scandalous activities, like kissing the Koran etc. and that the Church would raise him to the altar for veneration.
How can the Church propose him as a model of sanctity when he, as Pope, betrayed the first commandment? Prayed with non-believers etc etc.
This really makes me wonder if the faith is just a made-made construction that is now being manipulated to enshrine liberalism.
If anyone has any info that can help please post the links etc.
I haven't had such doubts before, but really I can't square this issue without loosing faith.
Please help.

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From:
http://www.ewtn.com/library/liturgy/zlitur373.htm

The 1967 New Catholic Encyclopedia discusses the theological foundation for the infallibility of canonization: "The dogma that saints are to be venerated and invoked as set forth in the profession of faith of Trent (cf. Denz. 1867) has as its correlative the power to canonize. ... St. Thomas Aquinas says, 'Honor we show the saints is a certain profession of faith by which we believe in their glory, and it is to be piously believed that even in this the judgment of the Church is not able to err' (Quodl. 9:8:16).


"The pope cannot by solemn definition induce errors concerning faith and morals into the teaching of the universal Church. Should the Church hold up for universal veneration a man's life and habits that in reality led to [his] damnation, it would lead the faithful into error. It is now theologically certain that the solemn canonization of a saint is an infallible and irrevocable decision of the supreme pontiff. God speaks infallibly through his Church as it demonstrates and exemplifies its universal teaching in a particular person or judges that person's acts to be in accord with its teaching."
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#2
I am not eloquent in explaining such things, but as I have read, anyway, this is the meaning of a canonization:

Not an evaluation of the individual person's worldly or professional competence.  Let's take it out of the papal context.  We have all probably met people who, unlike the Pope, are not highly visible in their job or function.  Yet they are living Saints, and some of us "know" they will have an amazingly short Purgatory, if at all.  They could be mediocre factory workers, mediocre businessmen, mediocre whatever, but their level of virtue is extraordinary.

I am one of possibly few Catholics who does not "relate" well to JP2, and never understood the "fervor" for him relative to other Popes.  I think that's because a religious office is perceived to be different from a worldly occupation.  (The way the person in office conducts himself tends to be factored into their spiritual status, even unconsciously.)  However, supposedly the same principle applies:  the priest, the monsignor, the bishop, the cardinal, the Pope, is not being declared as superlative in how he carried out his duties, but in how he lived out the call to personal sanctity.
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#3
There was once a Pope who was foul-mouthed, had a temper, had violent outbursts, said less than logical things, had to be confronted about circumcision, denied Christ, and both ran like a coward and rushed head-long into things.

That's St Peter.

I don't say this to belittle your concerns, but rather to reassure you that you may think that JP2 was terrible, the reality is that our first Pope wasn't much better.
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#4
When you say "there is just no way I can ever accept that he is worthy of veneration and immitation given his scandalous activities," it leads me to think you really don't want help, but are decided. Would you imitate his forgiveness of the person who shot him? Would you imitate his embrace of the cross of disease for years? Would you imitate his devotion to our Lady? Would you imitate his courage in pursuing the priesthood underground while the Church was persecuted in Poland? Would you imitate his challenges to Soviet Communism which helped bring it down? Would you imitate his prayer life? Would you imitate his penitential life? Would you imitate his attention to others? Would you imitate his bold teaching in favor of life? Would you imitate his Carmelite mysticism? We can go on. You're kind of broad brushing the guy, and the canonization process. The process does not certify his every action. Also he becomes worthy of veneration by Christ through the Church raising him up, not because he was simply a good person. Canonization is a calling, and like the calling of the priesthood, no man is worthy.
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#5
The infallibility of the canonization refers only to the person being Heaven, not that we should all imitate everything the Saint ever did.  The formula for canonization only definitively declares this and that the person be honored in the liturgy.  Every Saint has sinned in one way or the other except the BVM, and we are not called to imitate their sins--so there's nothing that says you must imitate any actions of John Paul II's you judge to be sins (and of course there's always the possibility that you may have misjudged something....).  Unless you somehow know for certain that John Paul II was damned (which is impossible), this should not affect your faith in the indefectibility and infallibility of the Church.  Perfect prudence and timeliness was not promised to St. Peter and his successors.

Even if you think it is being done to further some agenda or another, and not for holy motives, that doesn't ultimately matter--nor would it be the first time this was the case.  To use another papal example, St. Celestine V was canonized quickly by Celement V at the demand of Clement's childhood friend Philip IV, to serve as an indirect negative judgment on Boniface VIII.  It served for Philip as a public demonstration that it was Celestine's treatment of Philip and policy toward France, rather than Boniface's (embodied by the Bull Unam Sanctam), that was the proper course.  This was Philip's consolation prize, as he had originally demanded that Boniface be directly condemned at the Council of Vienne (the threat of arms helped prevent this).
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#6
(07-09-2013, 11:28 AM)Scriptorium Wrote: When you say "there is just no way I can ever accept that he is worthy of veneration and immitation given his scandalous activities," it leads me to think you really don't want help, but are decided. Would you imitate his forgiveness of the person who shot him? Would you imitate his embrace of the cross of disease for years? Would you imitate his devotion to our Lady? Would you imitate his courage in pursuing the priesthood underground while the Church was persecuted in Poland? Would you imitate his challenges to Soviet Communism which helped bring it down? Would you imitate his prayer life? Would you imitate his penitential life? Would you imitate his attention to others? Would you imitate his bold teaching in favor of life? Would you imitate his Carmelite mysticism? We can go on. You're kind of broad brushing the guy, and the canonization process. The process does not certify his every action. Also he becomes worthy of veneration by Christ through the Church raising him up, not because he was simply a good person. Canonization is a calling, and like the calling of the priesthood, no man is worthy.

I understand your point and want to clarify that I do want help to reconcile how the Church can raise to the altars someone who kissed the Koran etc. Let me put it this way, would any of your venerate the Koran and have no scrupple to confess it?
I certainly would feel terribly guilty and know it violated the 1st commandment.

Perhaps if the canonization was simply a statement that he is in heaven - fine. But it also includes that the Church believes this person is worthy of immitation and certainly the Church has never said it is OK for the faithful to venerate the Koran. That is just unbelievable.
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#7
(07-09-2013, 11:32 AM)SaintSebastian Wrote: The infallibility of the canonization refers only to the person being Heaven, not that we should all imitate everything the Saint ever did.  The formula for canonization only definitively declares this and that the person be honored in the liturgy.  Every Saint has sinned in one way or the other except the BVM, and we are not called to imitate their sins--so there's nothing that says you must imitate any actions of John Paul II's you judge to be sins (and of course there's always the possibility that you may have misjudged something....).  Unless you somehow know for certain that John Paul II was damned (which is impossible), this should not affect your faith in the indefectibility and infallibility of the Church.  Perfect prudence and timeliness was not promised to St. Peter and his successors.

Even if you think it is being done to further some agenda or another, and not for holy motives, that doesn't ultimately matter--nor would it be the first time this was the case.  To use another papal example, St. Celestine V was canonized quickly by Celement V at the demand of Clement's childhood friend Philip IV, to serve as an indirect negative judgment on Boniface VIII.  It served for Philip as a public demonstration that it was Celestine's treatment of Philip and policy toward France, rather than Boniface's (embodied by the Bull Unam Sanctam), that was the proper course.  This was Philip's consolation prize, as he had originally demanded that Boniface be directly condemned at the Council of Vienne (the threat of arms helped prevent this).

This is very helpful - if canonizations are simply that the person is in heaven, and no more, I can feel a bit more at peace... Thanks so much.
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#8
You're not the only one.
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#9
Interesting. From The Canonization of Saints, by Mgr. P. E. Hallett. An outline of the history and the processes of beatification and canonization. Published by the Incorporated Catholic Truth Society, London, 1952.

Benedict XIV enumerates seven acts as constituting this official cultus.

(1). All Christians are commanded to regard them as, and call them, saints.
(2). They are invoked in the public prayers of the Church, and it is forbidden any longer to pray for them.
(3). Churches and altars may be dedicated to God in their honour.
(4). Mass is offered and Divine Office recited in their honour, and though this Mass may not be prescribed for the universal Church, but only for one or more dioceses, yet it may be said, as a votive Mass, anywhere throughout the Church.
(5). Feast days are assigned to them.
(6). Their images are depicted with the aureole or other attributes of sanctity.
(7). Their relics are publicly honoured.

Canonization is the final and irreformable judgment of the Church, and therefore we are bound, as her dutiful children, to believe that saints duly canonized are in heaven.[1] Beatification, on the contrary, is not a decree for the whole Church, but rather of the nature of a local tolerance, and therefore we are not bound to believe that the beatified are in heaven, although we should be extremely rash not to do so, especially where they have been formally beatified by the Church, and not merely allowed to retain an immemorial cultus.

1 The statement in the text would command the assent of theologians generally, though a few have held that it is not strictly "de fide." In any case it is only the fact of the saints being in heaven that we are bound to believe and not necessarily the grounds alleged for their sanctity or the miracles asserted to have been wrought in attestation of it. Even in regard to the Church's official definitions it is, strictly speaking, only the defined doctrine itself we are bound to believe, not necessarily the reasons alleged in support of it.

http://www.ewtn.com/library/mary/canonize.htm

And Benedict XIV's book, De Servorum Dei Beatificatione et Beatorum Canonizatione:

http://archive.org/details/heroicvirtue01beneuoft
http://archive.org/details/heroicvirtue02beneuoft
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#10
I share your concerns - as many do. In fact, the closer I look, the more concerned I get (that is, looking beyond the blooper events and at the theology/philosophy behind it as evidenced in words written and spoken).

I hate to have to retreat to the minimalist position as described by Saint Sebastian here, but that may be all we can do. Maybe. Like so much in these times, we just have to bear up with the situation and realize that the Lord is allowing these things for His own reasons and somehow, someway, He will straighten things out in the long run.

That being said...call me cooky, but it hasn't happened yet. I still think something might just happen to throw a monkey wrench into this thing. We shall see.
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