WASHINGTON (CNS) — The two popes whose canonizations received final clearance July 5 “each had a profound impact on the church and the world,” as New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan put it.
Pope Francis signed a decree clearing the way for Blessed John Paul II and Blessed John XXIII to be canonized, possibly later his year.
In a July 5 statement, Cardinal Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said: “I know that today’s news has gladdened the hearts of the faithful throughout the world, just as it did for me.”
Blessed John, known most widely for having convened the Second Vatican Council, will be canonized without having met the normal requirement of having a second miracle attributed to his intercession.
The cardinals and archbishops who are members of the saints’ congregation met at the Vatican July 2 and voted in favor of the pope recognizing as a miracle the healing of Floribeth Mora Diaz, a Costa Rican who was suffering from a brain aneurysm and recovered after prayers through the intercession of Blessed John Paul.
The congregation members, according to news reports, also evaluated the cause of Blessed John and voted to ask Pope Francis to canonize him without requiring a miracle. According to church rules — established by the pope and subject to changes by him — a miracle is needed after beatification to make a candidate eligible for canonization.
Cardinal Dolan said that by convening Vatican II, “Pope John XXIII helped present the timeless teaching of Jesus and his church in the modern age. And, Pope John Paul II helped to bring that teaching to every corner of the globe, as a tireless missionary for the faith.”
Archbishop Charles Chaput said he “received with joy” the news about the two popes, adding “the pontificates of these two men shaped Catholicism as we know and practice it today. In convening the Second Vatican Council, John XXIII ushered in an era of reform that touched every facet of the universal Church. Throughout his long reign, John Paul II exhibited compassion and love for members of the Church around the world and worked diligently to advance social justice issues on behalf of those neglected by society.”
The archbishop asked “all of the priests, deacons, religious and lay faithful of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to join me in raising their voices and hearts in prayerful thanksgiving for the lives and saintly examples of John XXIII and John Paul II.”
Cincinnati Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr, noted that as director of the 1993 World Youth Day in Denver, he met with Pope John Paul II many times.
“When Pope John Paul II died on April 2, 2005, the cry immediately went up from the crowd in St. Peter’s Square of ‘Santo Subito’ — ‘Saint Immediately!'” Archbishop Schnurr said in a statement.
“In addition to resolve, kindness, a sense of humor and many other fine qualities, I observed in him that sanctity which the crowd proclaimed. I am grateful that the church’s careful process of canonization has confirmed what we all felt in our hearts.”
Miami Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski said the news of the canonizations while not unexpected “is nevertheless received with great joy.”
Linking the announcement to the other major Vatican news of the day, the publication of “Lumen Fidei” (“The Light of Faith”), the first encyclical published under Pope Francis, which was begun by Pope Benedict, Archbishop Wenski said the two future saints “were shining witnesses to the ‘lumen fidei,’ the light of faith, in the second half of the 20th century.”
He said both popes “spoke frequently and urgently about the need for a new evangelization directed towards those who once had received the faith but now seem to be ‘tired’ of it. They will certainly be the patron saints of the new evangelization that we — disciples in faith and missionaries of hope — are called to announce to our contemporaries in this 21st Century.”
The Knights of Columbus in a statement said the Blessed John Paul II Shrine in Washington would be offering a series of programs and events to mark Blessed John Paul’s canonization.
The shrine was established by the Knights at the former Pope John Paul II Cultural Center, which the fraternal organization purchased in August 2011.
“John Paul II was a champion of the rights and dignity of every human person, and his witness and legacy continue to speak important messages to our world today. Similarly, his life of holiness and devotion to God continue to be an example to us all,” said Patrick Kelly, the shrine’s executive director.