Friday 24 March 2017

John Cooney: Pope faces down critics of fast-track to sainthood

Bishops during the Mass in honour of the late Pope John Paul II at St Peter's Basilica at the Vatican yesterday. The late Pope moved a step closer to
sainthood in yesterday's ceremony. Photo: REUTERS/STEFANO RELLANDINI
Bishops during the Mass in honour of the late Pope John Paul II at St Peter's Basilica at the Vatican yesterday. The late Pope moved a step closer to sainthood in yesterday's ceremony. Photo: REUTERS/STEFANO RELLANDINI

John Cooney

AN alliance of church establishment and popular piety marched triumphantly in Rome yesterday as a throng of cardinals, bishops and hundreds of thousands of Catholic faithful applauded Pope Benedict XVI's elevation of his Polish predecessor to heavenly status as Blessed John Paul.

The German Pontiff and a global 'people of God' overrode widespread disquiet among a sizable section of the Catholic population of 1.3 billion at the sheer speed of John Paul's beatification just six years after his death.

Yet, in the calendar of the Roman Church, the former Karol Wojtyla officially joined the hallowed ranks when Pope Benedict proclaimed in Latin: "From now on Pope John Paul shall be called 'Blessed'."

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