Saturday, December 19, 2009

Behold! The Venerable Pope Pius XII (1939-58); Behold! The Venerable Pope John Paul II (1978-2005)

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As expected, this morning the Pope approved 21 decrees advancing causes for beatification and canonization... and, suffice it to say, the slate is full of notable names.

Among others, B16 declared:
  • the martyrdom "in odium fidei" of Fr (now Blessed-to-be) Jerzy Popieluzsko, the chaplain to the Polish Solidarity movement who was killed by the country's Communist authorities in 1984;
  • and, most prominently of all, the heroic virtues of not one, but two pontiffs: Karol Wojtyla, better known as John Paul II... and Eugenio Pacelli, Pius XII, whose cause has sparked a significant amount of controversy among Jewish leaders amid charges that the wartime Pope failed to do enough to avert the Holocaust. Both now become "Venerable," their causes now permitted to present a first miracle in order to progress to beatification -- which, in the case of John Paul, could come as soon as next year.
  • And, with Benedict slated to visit the UK next fall, likewise advanced was the cause of now-Venerable Mary Ward (1585-1645), the English foundress of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Inspired to start an Ignatian community for women in the spirit of the Jesuits -- one that, shockingly for its time, would be free from the obligations of the enclosure and a "specific" habit -- Ward's declaration, like MacKillop's, recognizes a life that endured ecclesiastical hardball; her community was suppressed in 1630, and only re-established sixty years after her death. Whispers in the Loggia

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