The lives of the saints show us that being holy means being human, not perfect.
Recently, word came that the miracle required for Pope John Paul II's beatification may have happened: A French nun's Parkinson's disappeared after her religious community prayed to him to intercede. But amid the growing enthusiasm for the canonization of Pope John Paul II comes some dissent from a surprising place—within the Catholic Church. Not that the dissenters are airing their grievances publicly. Grumbling about someone's canonization is a little like complaining about a co-worker's promotion: It makes you look like a spoilsport.
The naysayers, mainly on the left, see John Paul not as one of the great religious figures of the age, but as a person with whom they often disagreed, particularly on issues of the ordination of women, the Vatican's response to the sexual-abuse crisis, and treatment of gays and lesbians. The most common arguments against his canonization can be boiled down to two: First, I disagreed with him. Second, he wasn't perfect.
Both objections fundamentally misunderstand who the saints are, and were. Many people envision the saints as perfect human beings whose flaws, if any, miraculously evaporated once they decided to become, well, saintly. Popular iconography does little to correct this misconception. Those pristine marble statues, romantic stained-glass images, and kitschy holy cards make it easy to forget that the saints were human beings who sinned not only before their conversions, but afterward, too. [...Snip] Read it All
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