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A ‘Saint Factory’

Excerpt from We Resist You to the Face
Atila S. Guimarães, Michael J. Matt, John Vennari, Marian T. Horvat, Ph.D.

The canonizations and beatifications proclaimed in the pontificate of Your Holiness have been so proliferous that it was called the “saint-factory” by Cardinal Silvio Oddi. (1) Since the formal canonization procedure was founded by Pope Sixtus V in the 16th century, the Church had canonized 296 saints. During your 21-year pontificate, You had canonized the exact same number by November 21, 1999. (2) Good sources say that under your pontificate, the number of beatifications reached 987, more than the same number made by all your predecessors together. (3)

Maximillian Kolbe

A new criterion was used for "martyr" in the process of Maximillian Kolbe
To accommodate this quantity of canonizations and beatifications, the processes were simplified and the rules were even changed. For example, no doubt the edifying life of Maximillian Kolbe would permit him to be raised to the altars following the requirements of the ordinary process. However, Your Holiness canonized him as a martyr, when his death did not fulfil the conditions required for such.

In effect, offering himself to die in the place of a companion prisoner, Maximillian Kolbe became an admirable model of compassion. He did not die, however, because of a refusal to deny the Faith, which is the first condition to be a martyr. Further, with this precedent, a new criterion was created to declare someone a “martyr”: a person who dies in defense of “human rights,” rather than for the Catholic Faith.

In many of your trips, as an act of courtesy, Your Holiness has presented the people You visited with a new canonization. Among the various criteria being used to increase the number of saints are the ideological ones and those of convenience. An example of the former is the unacceptable “beatification” of John XXIII that is being prepared, which would represent the “beatification” of the Conciliar Revolution. As an example of the latter, there are movements that pour funds into the Holy See, which open doors to having their founders canonized in record time.

These are some of the factors that have inordinately increased the number of canonizations and beatifications. The result of this inflation for the whole Church is not difficult to point out. It is contained in the Latin proverb assueta vilescunt, [“Habit debases,” in the sense that the frequent use of something precious tends to diminish the perception of its true worth]. It has sensibly diminished the importance, respect, and veneration given to the saints. Collaterally, in practice, it has sensibly relativized the idea that papal infallibility is implicated in the declaration of a saint.
1. Silvio Oddi, Il tenero mastino di Dio (Rome: Progetti Museali Ed., 1995), pp. 199f.; “Il Vaticano è diventato una fabbrica di santi,” La Repubblica, Rome, April 14, 1996.
2. Inside the Vatican, “Pope Canonizes 12 New Saints,” January 2000, p. 35.
3. “John Paul II Nearing 1,000 Beatifications,” Zenith News Report, April 7, 2000, Internet site; Georges Théotis, “Um bienhereux peut en cacher un autre,” Actualité des Religions, Paris, February 2000, p. 15.

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