Holiness requires no balancing

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  • July 11, 2013

KRAKOW, POLAND - The approval by Pope Francis of a miracle worked through the intercession of Blessed John Paul II was met with great joy in the Polish pope’s hometown, where nary a church can be found without an image of the blessed. Indeed, just last month the John Paul II Be Not Afraid Centre — a religious, educational and cultural complex on the grounds of the Divine Mercy shrine — was dedicated, the crypt chapel of which already contains the relics of John Paul II. So there was joy at the announcement, but not much surprise, even though at less than nine years after his death John Paul’s canonization will set a modern record.

The surprise came in regard to another pope, John XXIII, who will also be canonized. Beatified in the great jubilee year of 2000, the usual requirement for another miracle after beatification was waived. It was simply said that the Holy Father accepted the recommendation of the Congregation for Saints, with no explanation of why another miracle would not be required for John XXIII.

It’s an unusual decision, but not unprecedented. In 1935, Pope Pius XI decided to canonize the English martyrs John Fisher and Thomas More, even though no miracles had been approved in either cause. (Martyrs do not require a miracle for beatification, but do for canonization.)

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