Friday, January 14, 2011
The news that Pope Benedict has approved the beatification of Pope John Paul II could not have come at a better time. As we read stories of Christians being slaughtered in the Middle East and watch the sad memorials for the victims of last week's shooting in Arizona, people are hungering for hope-- something true and lasting to inspire them. Perhaps John Paul's progress toward sainthood will fill the bill.

At a time when we are focused on politics and unspeakable acts of sudden violence, John Paul offers a different way to engage the world. With deep faith and courage he faced some of the most insidious ideologies of our times and triumphed. Even when hobbled by infirmity, he tireless dragged himself across the globe continuing to evangelize by example. He became his teaching-- embodying and reflecting the Lord he followed. That doesn't mean that every decision of the Pope was impeccable. The media is awash with criticism of his beatification owing to his support of the Legionaries of Christ and their founder, the disgraced Father Marcial Maciel. There certainly was a failure to acknowledge the charges against Maciel, though the current Pope was on the case for years. Despite the controversy, there is no impediment to the beatification. John Paul's life has been throughly examined and vetted, and perfection is not a requirement.

As John Paul said when beatifying some of his predecessors: Holiness lives in history and no saint has escaped the limits and conditioning which are part of our human nature. In beatifying one of her sons, the Church does not celebrate the specific historical decisions he may have made, but rather points to him as someone to be imitated and venerated because of his virtues, in praise of the divine grace which shines resplendently in them.

The light of John Paul continues to shine--long may it do so.

What do you think. Let me know at raymond@raymondarroyo.com

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