Upcoming canonization of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II–what is the real message?

Statue in Fatima, Portugal


The Vatican that it intends to ‘canonize’ the late Pope John Paul II and John XXIII this Sunday.  Here is some information about it:

April 25, 2014

This upcoming Sunday’s canonizations of John XXIII and John Paul II by Pope Francis have been covered by the media in a somewhat predictable fashion. The exhausted narrative goes like this: in an attempt to please various political factions within the Church and society, the current bishop of Rome has made a politically savvy decision to proclaim both the ‘liberal’ John XXIII and the ‘conservative’ John Paul II saints.

In a major demonstration of his papal authority, Francis decided to make John XXIII a saint even though the Vatican hasn’t confirmed a second miracle attributed to his intercession. The Vatican said Francis had the power to “dispense” with the normal saint-making procedures to canonize him on his own merit, without a miracle…By canonizing John Paul II along with John XXIII, the Vatican could be seeking to assuage concerns about John Paul’s fast-track sainthood case by tying it together with the 50-year wait since the death of John XXIII…

The particular sanctity of John XXIII and John Paul II is tied up intrinsically with the Second Vatican Council. In opening the Council in 1962, Pope John said he wanted to “throw open the doors of the Church and let the fresh air of the Spirit blow through.” If John opened the doors of the Church, then John Paul II was the one who most dramatically walked through those doors.  http://time.com/77371/john-paul-xxiii-and-john-paul-ii-the-catholic-churchs-modern-saints/

In the case of Pope John XXIII, who was known as the “good pope”, Francis waived the customary rules requiring a second miracle after beatification, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said. John XXIII was beatified in 2000.

Francis, who has tried to instill a spirit of simplicity and reform in the Church since his election in March, is known to have great admiration for the reforming Pope John, who was born of peasant stock in northern Italy. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/05/us-vatican-johnpaul-idUSBRE9640BA20130705

The current Vatican procedure for making one a saint seems to be that the person be well-known, that people pray to the individual after he/she died, and two reported ‘miracles’ (normally claimed healings) take place after the death credited to the potential saint, which the Vatican makes some attempts to ‘verify.’

Yet, for any other reason, the pope can eliminate the normal criteria. Or at least Pope Francis did. There are various ones who have wondered if Pope Francis is truly Catholic (see Is Pope Francis Catholic?). His move involving John XXIII seems political for many reasons, not the least of which is that Francis is sending a signal that being a reformer of Rome is a sign of a saint–Francis has claimed to be a reformer himself and taking steps consistent with that, hence the Vatican sainthood for John XXIII would seem to be sending a message that Francis considers that he should be treated as a Catholic saint (note: not all popes have been declared saints by the Vatican).

I believe that a major reason for the joint canonizations is that this fits in with the ecumenical plans of Pope Francis.  That was what Vatican II, put in place by John XXIII, advocated.  John Paul II also made major attempts toward ecumenism.  So, yes, I believe that Vatican politics were involved in the decision.

As far as the somewhat traditional Vatican criteria for declaring sainthood compared to the biblical criteria, there are a few points to mention (and I have chosen to use Catholic translations of the Bible to demonstrate that even their versions of the Bible support my points here).

First of all, one does not become a saint after one dies. The Apostle Paul clearly referred to saints that were alive in his writings. Here a few examples:

21 Salute ye every saint in Christ Jesus. 22 The brethren who are with me, salute you. All the saints salute you; especially they that are of Caesar’s household. (Philippians 4:21-22, DRB)

1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the will of God, to all the saints who are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 1:1, DRB)

15 And I beseech you, brethren, you know the house of Stephanas, and of Fortunatus, and of Achaicus, that they are the firstfruits of Achaia, and have dedicated themselves to the ministry of the saints: (1 Corinthians 16:15, DRB)

The Bible does not endorse the Pope or anyone else being able to canonize someone after death. One becomes a saint, a firstfruit, by becoming a real Christian. There are literally dozens of scriptures that use the term saints for people living at the time the New Testament was written.

Another is that there is one mediator, and that is Jesus, and no one else:

5 For there is one God, and one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus: (1 Timothy 2:5, DRB)

People are not to pray to dead people. There is no verse in the Bible that shows that any of God’s people ever did that.

Notice also something that the Apostle Peter stated:

10…the name of our Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God hath raised from the dead, even by him this man standeth here before you whole.

11 This is the stone which was rejected by you the builders, which is become the head of the corner.

12 Neither is there salvation in any other. For there is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4:10-12)

Notice that Peter did not claim he could heal anybody. Furthermore, he would not allow people to bow down before him:

25. And it came to pass, When Peter was come in, Cornelius came to meet him, and falling at his feet adored. 26. But Peter lifted him up saying, Arise, myself also am a man. (Acts 10:25-26, DRB)

Christians are not supposed to pray dead humans for intercession. Notice what the Bible teaches that the sick are to do:

14 Any one of you who is ill should send for the elders of the church, and they must anoint the sick person with oil in the name of the Lord and pray over him.

15 The prayer of faith will save the sick person and the Lord will raise him up again; and if he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven. (James 5:14-15, NJB)

Those who pray to the dead for healing are not in obedience to these biblical instructions.

As far as John Paul II goes, after the assassination attempt on his life, he was instrumental in getting Catholics to pay more attention to Fatima and “Mary.”

This is in odd contrast to John XXIII.

Pope John XXIII had so many concerns about Lúcia of Fatima (the main person who saw and reported about seeing the apparitions in 1917) that allegedly he wanted her “silenced” (Socci A. The Fourth Secret of Fatima. Loreto Publications, English Translation 2009, p. 131). Pope John XXIII apparently did not believe Lúcia’s visions were from “the Madonna” (Socci, p. 105). In 1960, Pope John XXIII simply did not believe the apparitions were messages from Mary or Heaven. According to Priest Martin, John XXIII was “hostile” to “the three prophets of Fatima” (Socci, p. 87). So, there seems to be a contradiction between how two popes viewed Fatima, yet both were declared saints at the same time by Pope Francis.  Politics seems to play a role.

As far as John XXIII goes, some have suggested that he is an ‘incorruptible’ as his body did not decay much (at least for a while) in his casket. This used to be a major criteria for sainthood by the Church of Rome. However, even Vatican officials admit that in John XXIII’s case that this had to do basically with the type of embalming and other physical factors ( Phil Stewart. Vatican not afraid to show Pope’s face of death. Tiscali.co.uk. Reuters, June 6, 2005. http://www.myusm.com/usm414427.html?t=Interesting viewed 07/06/2103).

It is my view that the usual criteria for sainthood by the Vatican gets people to look away from what the Bible actually teaches and puts too great of emphasis on signs that appear to be ‘lying wonders’ which deceive many (cf. Matthew 24:11; 2 Thessalonians 2:9).

And this general emphasis towards the pointing to signs and wonders will be a factor in the rise of the Beast and Antichrist, and possibly will involve a female appearing figure (cf. Isaiah 47; Revelation 17 & 18).

But true Christians are to “walk by faith, and not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). In my view, Pope Francis is walking by signs, wonders, and politics and not biblical criteria. This does not bode well for the world.

Pope Francis is ecumenical and is pushing his ecumenical agenda whenever he thinks it’s appropriate, including this coming Sunday.

Some items of related interest may include:

Why Should American Catholics Fear Unity with the Orthodox? Are the current ecumenical meetings a good thing or will they result in disaster? Is doctrinal compromise good? Here is a link to a related video Should you be concerned about the ecumenical movement?
Beware: Protestants Going Towards Ecumenical Destruction! What is going on in the Protestant world? Are Protestants turning back to their ‘mother church’ in Rome? Does the Bible warn about this? What are Catholic plans and prophecies related to this? Is Protestantism doomed?
Could Pope Francis be the Last Pope and Antichrist? According to some interpretations of the prophecies of the popes by the Catholic saint and Bishop Malachy, Pope Francis I is in the position of “Peter the Roman,” the pontiff who reigns during tribulations until around the time of the destruction of Rome. Do biblical prophecies warn of someone that sounds like Peter the Roman? Could Francis I be the heretical antipope of Catholic private prophecies and the final Antichrist of Bible prophecy? This is a YouTube video.
The Malachy Prophecies and “Peter the Roman” An Irish bishop allegedly predicted something about 112 popes in the 12th century. Pope Benedict XVI was number 111. Francis would seem to be number 112–if he is that one–and if so, he is to reign until Rome is destroyed. May he be an antipope/final Antichrist?
Some Doctrines of Antichrist Are there any doctrines taught outside the Churches of God which can be considered as doctrines of antichrist? This article suggests at least three. It also provides information on 666 and the identity of “the false prophet.” Plus it shows that several Catholic writers seem to warn about an ecumenical antipope that will support heresy. You can also watch a video titled What Does the Bible teach about the Antichrist?
Catholic Prophecies: Do They Mirror, Highlight, or Contradict Biblical Prophecies? People of all faiths may be surprised to see what various Roman and Orthodox Catholic prophets have been predicting as many of their predictions will be looked to in the 21st century.
Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Apparitions Do you know much about Mary? Are the apparitions real? What happened at Fatima? What might they mean for the rise of the ecumenical religion of Antichrist? Are Protestants moving towards Mary? How do the Eastern/Greek Orthodox view Mary? How might Mary view her adorers? See also the video Marian Apparitions May Fulfill Prophecy.
Feast of the Immaculate Conception? Did early Christians teach Mary had an immaculate conception and led a sinless life?
Origin of the Marian Dogmas: Where Do Catholic Scholars Say The Four Dogmas of Mary Came From?
Assumption of Mary Did Mary die? Was she taken to heaven on August 15th? What is known? What does the Bible show?
Will You Be Deceived by Antichrist? 1964 article by David Jon Hill, originally published in the old Good News magazine.
Two Horned Beast of Revelation and 666 Who is 666? This article explains how the COG views this, and compares this to Ellen White.
Europa, the Beast, and Revelation Where did Europe get its name? What might Europe have to do with the Book of Revelation? What about “the Beast”? Is an emerging European power “the daughter of Babylon”? What is ahead for Europe? Here is a link to a video titled: Can You Prove that the Beast to Come is European?

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