NEWS:  May 30, 2011

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Bird’s Eye View of the News

Atila Sinke Guimarães

BY-PRODUCTS OF A BEATIFICATION  -   More than once I have stated on this website that I believe John Paul II is not a saint (here and here). I think that the 'blesseds' and 'saints' raised to the glory of the altar by JPII and Benedict XVI unduly received these honors. This includes JPII's recent beatification. In this post-conciliar period - especially after the mass elimination of the canons that regulated the causes of canonization and beatification - these processes became highly irregular and stop reflecting the infallibility of the Church. Often the recent Popes elevated to the glory of the altar persons who were explicitly or implicitly condemned by the Church. This was the case of Abbot Antonio Rosmini, who in 2007 was declared a blessed by Benedict XVI, even though 40 of his theses are condemned by the Church as heterodox (Denzinger 1891-1930). Luther, heresiarch by antonomasia, had 41 of his theses condemned (Denzinger 741-781), just one more than Rosmini.

controversial beatification of John Paul II

An arbitrary beatification contested by progressivists & traditionalists
It is my conviction that, regarding these canonizations and beatifications, we are witnessing an enormous farce. When I see five Vicars of Christ in a row - from John XXIII on - changing everything in the Church, I wonder whether those warnings Our Lord left to us about false Christs and false prophets (Matt 24:24) are not to be applied to the these men who are officially His Vicars on earth.

I was curious to see how JPII's beatification would be received by the progressivists situated on the ideological spectrum at the antipode of TIA's position.

Here I list the objections against this beatification contained in London's progressivist weekly, The Tablet, issue of May 7, 2011. They are explicit or implicit objections bubble-wrapped in careful language to avoid any breakage in the shipment. I am removing this protective covering to examine their essence and assess their value:

On the editorial page (p. 2), The Tablet stated its official position:
  • JPII’s process of beatification should not have been initiated so soon after his death;

  • It was unwise to rush the process without waiting to see whether the alleged miracle - a supposed cure from Parkinson's disease - will be confirmed by time;

  • The aim of the beatification was to give a divine sanction to all of JPII's policies,

  • And to cut short any other historical evaluation;

  • JPII made mistakes that need to be examined in order to learn from them - such as the pedophilia crisis in the Church that showed up under his pontificate;

  • It is a mistake to try to place JPII's papacy above any criticism.

  • Benedict XVI is sending the wrong message to the Church.
In an article by Robert Mickens, The Tablet's correspondent in Rome (pp. 8-9), these points were made:
  • In order to open JPII's process, Benedict set aside the five-year waiting period normally observed;

  • Prelates in the Vatican raised "concerns," which include:

  • A. It is the first time a Pope beatifies his predecessor;

  • B. It is not prudent to beatify him in the emotional atmosphere that followed the death of this authoritative personality who led the Church for 27 years;

  • These two objections were ignored by Benedict;

  • This was the quickest beatification in modern history;

  • Benedict rushed JPII's cause to secure his grassroots support for Benedict's own policies;

Benedict XVI at the beatification Mass of Wojtyla

Is he trying to steal Wojtyla's popularity?
  • The beatification was also made to gain more support for Benedict XVI from Bishops around the world appointed by JPII,

  • And with the hope that some of the people's affection for JPII will shift to Benedict's ambivalent figure;

  • Indeed, after six years of his papacy, Benedict has shown a lack of charisma and inability to communicate with the people;

  • The beatification was supposed to "energize" the Church, which is showing alarming signs of fatigue;

  • At the beatification Benedict was dwarfed by the ghost of JPII;

  • Critics believe the beatification was used to whitewash the failures of JPII's pontificate;

  • They believe a man who failed to deal with pedophile priests cannot be presented as a model of faith;

  • Many of these past failures also incriminate the then Card. Ratzinger;

  • The beatification was a strategic move to put those who criticize Benedict and his pontificate into a "delicate situation";

  • The beatification generated an enthusiasm that either can help Benedict;

  • Or can cast a still darker shadow over him.
One can see that imposing acceptance of this beatification on the progressivist media's cupola was not as easy as expected. Neither progressivists nor traditionalists are rejoicing over this beatification that took place just because Benedict XVI decided it should be done. Does an arbitrary act of authority, applauded by a multitude dragged to Rome by Bishops covetous of better careers, make blessed a man who was not?

A warning to those who can still think: This beatification was not swallowed by Catholics. It has an unstable foundation. Whatever is built atop it will be unstable: the taller it will get, the weaker it will become.

NOT SO SURE ABOUT TRUTH - Early this year (January 14) we were bombarded with the news that for the first time in History a Pope had named a Protestant, Werner Arber, as president of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, a 400-year-old institution. Now, five months later, we are informed that Benedict has directed some novel questions to the head of that Academy.

Werner Arber now gives orientation to the Pope

Werner Arber, right, now gives philosophical orientation to Benedict XVI
According to an interview Arber granted to the internet magazine Swissinfo, the Pope has asked for guidance in philosophical matters related to evolution. The Protestant says: "I think that once in a while the Pope takes our findings on board and incorporates them into his knowledge. His decisions then are influenced by them. Questions like: What is truth? Where do I come from? What will the future bring? Also questions about evolution: What is the difference between life and non-life? All interests the Pope." (The Tablet, May 7, 2011, p. 29)

I understand that a man like Pontius Pilate could ask Our Lord: "What is truth?" (Jo 18:38) Because Pilate was buried in the darkness of paganism, he rejected the invitation to accept the Wisdom Incarnate, Truth itself.

It is much harder to understand why the Vicar of Christ on earth needs to ask a Protestant scientist "What is truth?" The Papacy is, or at least should be, the beacon of light to orient the Catholic Church and the whole world. However, it seems that Benedict XVI knows neither what the truth is, nor that God created us, nor that the future of man is to achieve eternal beatitude. These elementary truths the Catechism teaches every child escape this Pope. The Sovereign Pontiff, the Master of the Truth, needs to go to a Protestant scientist to be informed on these points...

I wonder whether Benedict - who does not know "what the future will bring" - believes that Heaven is a physical reality. If he does not, as it seems, how can he determine who is actually dwelling in Heaven and thus is a blessed?


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