Finally, a saint for the theology of our population of aging Directors of Religious Education, et al.
First, let me say that I do not belong to any organized religion. I'm a Roman Catholic. Actually, Mrs. Crowndot says I'm an Irish Catholic infiltrating the Roman Catholic Church. Let me assure you, the organization that appears as Catholic is surface organization. Not far underneath is not so much popes as populi. Authors of best-selling novels of mystery-conspiracy-romantic-politics may be expert in drawing the organizational chart from the Vatican on down. But to simplify, here's the real Catholic organizational chart:
At the top: the triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Underneath: Everybody, "Catholic" or not. Sorry, that's just the way it is.
Anyway, the reason I'm more an Irish as opposed to Roman Catholic is my frequent lack of respect for the workings past and present of other parts of the organizational chart that are theologically on the same level as me.
Today, 27 April 2014, there is a certain hubbub taking place in Rome. About nine time zones ahead of me. They canonized Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II. To speak with greater precision: "828 By canonizing some of the faithful, i.e., by solemnly proclaiming that they practiced
heroic virtue and lived in fidelity to God's grace, the Church recognizes the power of the
Spirit of holiness within her and sustains the hope of believers by proposing the saints to
them as models and intercessors." (Catechism of the Catholic Church) The Church doesn't "make saints" -- God by grace actualizes the life of faith. So today the Church didn't make two popes into saints; the Church publicly recognizes their sanctity.
Why bother to make a big public ceremony about it? Why not leave it to the populi? I think the reason is that Jesus didn't call us sheep for no reason. The people benefit from some direction indicating that we'd be better off having a devotion to a holy man like JPII than a "holy man" like Rasputin or some such. In other words, the title of Saint means the Church is not going to stand in the way of your particular devotion. But neither is the Church really in the business of promoting particular devotions.
But that's background. What I came to talk about is Pope Saint John XXIII.
Specifically, WTF, Holy Spirit? Seriously. We're watering down the canonization of Pope Saint John Paul II The Great by working in on the same day a guy whose claim to fame was that a.) he opened a can of worms (Second Vatican Council) and b.) he was nice?
This is like the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame deciding they were going to induct a Henry Aaron (no steroids in those home runs, dude) and Bill "Between-the-Legs" Buckner on the same day. I mean, yes, technically Aaron and Buckner were in the same league. But they weren't really "In the Same League" -- and neither are JPII and JXXIII. Compare the scope of encyclicals from the one to the other, just as a for-instance.
But here's what I wanted to say: squishy theology always loved John XXIII because he opened through Vatican II an opportunity for communist-inspired social justice, ecumenism, etc., the gist of which is that we don't need forgiveness as much as we need to just be nice to each other and feel good about ourselves. I do not believe John XXIII would ever have agreed with most of the icky revisionists -- but neither was he known for stolid defense of the truth, unfortunately.
This is being written hastily on Sunday morning 27 April 2014. This is of course not intended to be definitive as much as personally revelatory. Perhaps to my shame. There goes my cause for canonization!