MAKING POPES INTO SAINTS AND GODS
|Pope Paul V1|
THE CRAZY FASHION OF MAKING DECEASED POPES INTO SAINT CONTINUED YESTERDAY IN ROME WITH POPE FRANCIS DECLARING POPE PAUL V1 "BLESSED".
Its got to the point in Rome where the following seems to be the desired line of promotion:
If this creeping "promotionalism" continues the next "logical" step would be for deceased popes to be declared "Assistant God", Deputy God and eventually God!
We would then have the situation whereby the pope is God's vicar on earth.....AND....God would eventually be declared the Pope's vicar in heaven!
It begs the question: "What is a saint"?
I like the two definitions of saints that I've often heard and used:
"A saint is an ordinary person who does ordinary things with extraordinary love"
"A saint is a sinner who kept trying".
Very few people in the Roman Catholic Church would be prepared to say that popes are either "ordinary" or "sinners" - even though we know from church history that many of the popes were among the worst sinners who ever lived - murderers, rapists, paedophiles, blasphemers, thieves, tyrants and liars.
But lets take two examples - Pope John Paul 11 who is already a saint - even though he is only 9 years dead and Pope Paul V1.
JOHN PAUL 11:
John Paul 11 was basically a Polish tyrant who had been used to exercising excessive power over the simple faith people of Poland.
When he became pope he did his best to exercise supreme authority over the bishops, priests and people of the Catholic Church.
He appointed Joseph Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict) as head of the modern Inquisition to secretly investigate Catholic theologians and silence them without giving them a fair and just hearing.
He turned himself into a "celebrity pope" by touring the world, kissing tarmacs and babies - but imposing a medieval style theology and discipline over the world's billion Roman Catholics.
When he was a guest in Nicaragua he publicly reprimanded a priest government minister - Ernesto Cardenal - waving a finger over him on the tarmac.
If I was Ernesto Cardenal I would have had a platoon of soldiers march him back on to his papal jet and given him ten minutes to be off Nicaraguan soil.
On that visit he shouted down millions of Nicaraguans who chanted "NO" to his right wing views.
John Paul 11 was not the friend of people. He was a friend of world governments and dictators - with the exception of Russia whom he grew up hating in Poland.
In my mind John Paul was / is no saint. He was a totalitarian dictator who practised good public relations. If there is a heaven, and if I get there, I will avoid him like the plague - IF he is there!
POPE PAUL V1:
Pope Paul V1 was the only pope I ever met. We shook hands briefly at a papal audience in Rome. He only said one word to me - "couraggio" - courage.
I did like him because he seemed to be a mild man and was certainly not the dictator that John Paul 11 was.
But he really made a major cock up in 1968 over his encyclical on contraception - Humanae Vitae - which to this very day continues to alienate millions of Catholics. Maybe the dreaded Vatican curis was behind that?
And then there are the unresolved rumours about his active homosexuality.
Of course I have no problem about his homosexuality. How could I?
But how can you be a secret gay pope, who reputedly had Vatican priests to out to procure young men for you; be surrounded by a mainly gay curia and still preside over a church that condemns gay people?
He may have been personally "trapped". But is not a good place to be.
And if that was your position would it not have better for your successors to leave you to God's infinite understanding and mercy - without proclaiming you a saint?
The Catholic Church says that saints are people that they hold up in front of us and invite us to imitate their thought, words, deeds and lives.
I think you are on very dangerous ground when you sanctify people who struggled with their humanity and weakness.
In any event most "saints" are not popes at all.
Real saints are:
1. Dedicated men and women who struggle over a lifetime to be good husbands / wives / partners and parents.
2. Men and women who stand up against injustice and corruption at the risk of being anhiliated.
3. Doctors, nurses and hospital workers who devote their lives to the NHS or to the people of poor places and wear themselves out in selfless service.
4. Family carers who give their lives to caring for their sick and disabled parents and family members - 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
"IT IS HARDER FOR A RICH MAN TO MAKE HIS WAY INTO HEAVEN THAN IT IS FOR A CAMEL TO MAKE ITS WAY THROUGH THE EYE OF A NEEDLE"
Surely those "rich" must include those who live in papal apartments, apostolic palaces, curial residences, bishop's palaces, nunciatures and five star monasteries?
Surely it must include those who wear daily, silk robes of white, crimson and purple and whose red leather slippers are hand made by Prada?
Surely it must include those who profess "vows of poverty" but who want for nothing and who wine and dine at daily banquets?
|"WHO got this plonk? I only drink Chateau Neuf de Pape"|
Could it even include those who spend millions on refurbishing their palaces and who buy door handles worth £350 each and wallpaper at £100 a roll?
And then after all that - when they kick the bucket - they declare them SAINTS!!!
Its enough to make any real saint spin furiously in their grave!
THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
JOE'S NO SAINT
(John D Sheridan)
Joe’s no saint,
And I ought to know
For I work at the bench alongside Joe.
He loses his temper just like another
- Days he’d bite the nose off his mother,
And when 1 call for a pint of plain
Joe’s not slow with ‘The same again.’
He gives an odd bob to the poor and needy
But you wouldn’t call him gospel-greed
- You know what I mean?
So if there’s enquiries after he’s dead
I won’t swear to no haloes around his head,
For I never seen none. When all’s said and done
I don’t suppose they give haloes out
To fellows who like their bottle of stout.
All the same, though,
I’m glad that I work alongside Joe.
For in the morning time I lie on
Long after Guinness’s whistle is gone
And scarcely have time for a cup of tea
- As for prayers,
Well between you and me
The prayers I say is no great load -
A Hail Mary, maybe, on Conyngham Road
- You know how it is?
The horn blows on the stroke of eight
And them that’s not in time is late;
You mightn’t get a bus for ages,
But if you clock late they dock your wages.
He’s never late at all,
Though he lives at the far end of Upper Whitehall:
And I happen to know
(For the wife’s cousin lives in the very same row)
That he sets his alarm for half-past six,
Shaves, and goes through the whole bag of tricks
Just like a Sunday,
Gets seven Mass in Gaeltacht Park
And catches the half-seven bus in the dark.
In ways, too, he’s not as well off as me,
For he can’t go back home for a cup of tea -
Just slips a flask in his overcoat pocket
And swallows it down while he fills in his docket.
I do see him munching his bread and cheese
When I’m getting into my dungarees.
There isn’t a thing about him then
To mark him off from the rest of men
- At least, there’s nothing that I can see.
But there must be something that’s hid from me
For it’s not every eight-o’clock-man can say
That he goes to the altar every day.
Maybe now you know
Why I’m glad I work alongside Joe.
For though I’m a Confraternity man
And struggle along the best I can
I haven’t much time for chapel or praying,
And some of the prayers that Joe does be saying
Those dark mornings must come my way.
For if Joe there prays enough for three
Who has more right to a tilly than me?
When my time comes and they lay me out
I won’t have much praying to boast about:
I don’t do much harm, but I don’t do much good,
And my beads have an easier time than they should,
So when Saint Peter rattles his keys
And says ‘What’s your record, if you please?’
I’ll answer ‘When I was down below
I worked at a bench alongside Joe.’
Joe is no saint with a haloed ring,
But I often think he’s the next best thing,
And the bus that he catches at half-past seven
Is bound for O'Connell Bridge ... and Heaven
- You know what I mean?
The Catholic Church held a conference on "Poverty" in a 5 star hotel where the assembled priests wined and dined of the best all week.
On the final night one old parish priests was standing with other priests - bursting with fine food, full of expensive wine, smoking a Cuban cigar warming a large XO cognac in his hand.
He said to his priest colleague: "If this was the conference on "Poverty" I can't wait until we have the one on "Celibacy"!