With four Popes - two dead, two living - numerous cardinals, hundreds of bishops and virtually countless priests, history will be made today in Rome. Not just with the canonization of two former Popes, John XXIII and John Paul II, but for the first time ever two popes will con-celebrate mass. Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who stepped down over a year ago, will be joined by clergy from around the world in saying mass. Having more than one living pope hasn't happened for eons, and evidently the last time it did the two passed on saying mass together.
Attending this momentous event will be throngs of worshipers, media and the generally curious. To say nothing of the hordes of security personnel that are unfortunately required in our modern world. Providing appropriate sanitary arrangements for such a large gathering is no easy undertaking, but officials have assured pilgrims that sufficient portable toilets, known as Vati-Cans will be in place.
There was some doubt regarding John Paul's second miracle and whether he actually qualified for sainthood. As far as I'm concerned one miracle would do the trick. It brings to my mind the situation in the bible where Christ spits on the ground, makes a bit of mud, applies it to a blind man's eyes and, Viola, he regains his sight. Some of those present still gave Christ a hard time, claiming he couldn't be who he said he was, because he performed this miracle on the sabbath. Hello people, the miracle was the focal point, not what day it was done on. This story also gave us the old toast, here's mud in your eye!
But that's a matter of doctrinal opinion, angels dancing on heads of pins. The harbouring of sexual abusers by moving them to different dioceses rather than excommunicating and prosecuting them is a whole different matter, but in a sense is also pin-headed.In this most outstanding canonization of the social media era, commentary and criticism have been plentiful. Focused primarily on John Paul's papacy during which the cover-up of sexual abuse within the church was rampant. Some critics wonder if he is the stuff of which saints should be made. Whatever your thoughts on sainthood, these individuals are held up as role models in the Catholic Church.
John XXIII may have annoyed many conservatives with Vatican II, his attempt to bring the Church in line with a modern world, in fact there are those who still refuse to acknowledge the second Vatican Council. But that's a matter of doctrinal opinion, angels dancing on heads of pins. The harbouring of sexual abusers by moving them to different dioceses rather than excommunicating and prosecuting them is a whole different matter, but in a sense is also pin-headed.