Skip to comments.Pope beatifies John Paul II before 1.5M faithful
Posted on 05/01/2011 12:53:26 PM PDT by NYer
VATICAN CITY - Some 1.5 million pilgrims flooded Rome Sunday to watch Pope John Paul II move a step closer to sainthood in one of the largest Vatican Masses in history, an outpouring of adoration for a beloved and historic figure after years marred by church scandal.
The turnout for the beatification far exceeded even the most optimistic expectation of 1 million people, the number Rome city officials predicted. For Catholics filling St. Peter's Square and streets and watching around the world, the beatification was a welcome hearkening back to the days when the pope was almost universally beloved.
"He was like a king to us, like a father," Marynka Ulaszewska, a 28-year-old from Ciechocinek, Poland, said, weeping. "I hope these emotions will remain with us for a long time," she said.
Pope Benedict XVI, who has set off controversies with remarks on Islam, contraception, and other issues, praised John Paul for turning back the seemingly "irreversible" tide of communism with faith, courage and "the strength of a titan, a strength which came to him from God."
John Paul is universally credited with helping bring down communism in his native Poland with support for the Solidarity labor movement, accelerating the fall of the Iron Curtain.
"He rightly reclaimed for Christianity that impulse of hope which had in some sense faltered before Marxism and the ideology of progress," Benedict said. "He restored to Christianity its true face as a religion of hope."
John Paul's beatification, the fastest in modern times, has triggered a new wave of anger from sex-abuse victims because much of the criminality occurred during his 27-year watch. Critics also say John Paul left behind empty churches in Europe, too few priests in North and South America, priests who violate their celibacy requirement in places like Africa and a general dwindling of the faith in former Christian strongholds.
John Paul's defenders argue that an entire generation of new priests owe their vocations to John Paul, and that millions of lay Catholics found their faith during the World Youth Days, which were a hallmark of his papacy.
Vatican officials have insisted that the saint-making process isn't a judgment of how John Paul administered the church but rather whether he lived a life of Christian virtue.
Benedict put John Paul on the fast-track for possible sainthood when he dispensed with the traditional five-year waiting period and allowed the beatification process to begin weeks after his April 2, 2005, death. Benedict was responding to chants of "Santo Subito!" or "Sainthood Immediately" which erupted during John Paul's funeral.
With a sea of red and white Polish flags fluttering in the square, the beatification evoked the days after the pope's death in 2005, when some 3 million faithful held vigil under his studio window and filed past his remains for days on end.
Pilgrims from Mexico to Mali repeated the procession after the Mass Sunday, for hours filing past his simple wooden coffin that had been raised from the grottoes underneath St. Peter's Basilica to the church's center aisle, where it was surrounded by four Swiss Guards standing at attention.
Beatification is the last major milestone before a candidate is declared a saint. John Paul needs another miracle attributed to his intercession before he can be canonized.
Already, Vatican officials have said reports of inexplicable cures were pouring into the Vatican, suggesting that it's only a matter of time before John Paul is declared a saint or even a doctor of the church, an even greater honor.
Police placed wide swaths of Rome even miles (kilometers) from the Vatican off limits to private cars to ensure security for the estimated 16 heads of state, eight prime ministers and five members of European royal houses attending.
Helicopters flew overhead, police boats patrolled the nearby Tiber River and some 5,000 uniformed troops manned police barricades to ensure priests, official delegations and those with coveted VIP passes could get to their places amid the throngs of pilgrims.
Spain's Crown Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia, wearing a black lace mantilla, mingled with Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, Poland's historic Solidarity leader and former President Lech Walesa and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who sidestepped an EU travel ban to attend.
"He went all over the world," said Bishop Jean Zerbo of Bamako, Mali, who came to Rome for the ceremony. "Today, we're coming to him."
Many in Rome and in capitals around the world erupted in cheers, tears and applause as Benedict pronounced John Paul "Blessed" and an enormous color photo of a young, smiling John Paul was unveiled over the loggia of St. Peter's Basilica.
"John Paul is an angel, he has such charisma," said Esperanza Concilion, a 69-year-old hairdresser who traveled from Guadalajara, Mexico for the beatification.
Catholics jammed churches from Mexico to Australia to pray and watch broadcasts of the Rome Mass on television.
was a model and an inspiration who united the world with his extraordinary charisma," said John Paul Bustillo, a 16-year-old medical student named after the pontiff who turned out Sunday along with more than 3,000 for a six-mile (10-kilometer) race followed by a Mass near Manila Bay in the Philippines.
In John Paul's native Poland, tens of thousands of people gathered in rain in a major sanctuary in Krakow and in Wadowice, where the pontiff was born in 1920 as Karol Wojtyla. Prime Minister Donald Tusk and his wife Malgorzata watched the ceremony together with Wadowice residents.
After the nearly 3-hour Mass, Benedict prayed before John Paul's coffin, which had a copy of the Lorsch Gospels on it, an illuminated medieval book of the Gospels that is one of the most precious in the Vatican's collection.
The basilica was expected to stay open for as long as it takes to accommodate the throngs of faithful who paid their respects and took photos as loudspeakers piped in hymns and clips of some of John Paul's most memorable homilies and speeches.
The sealed coffin will ultimately be moved to a side chapel inside the basilica just next to Michelangelo's famous marble "Pieta" statue.
Police put the figure of those attending the Mass at 1.5 million; only a few hundred thousand could fit into St. Peter's Square and the surrounding streets but others watched it on some of the 14 huge TV screens set up around town or listened to it on radios in Polish or Italian.
During the Mass, Benedict received a silver reliquary holding a vial of blood taken from John Paul during his final hosptalization. The relic, a key feature of beatification ceremonies, will be available for the faithful to venerate.
It was presented to him by Sister Tobiana, the Polish nun who tended to John Paul throughout his pontificate, and Sister Marie Simone-Pierre of France, whose inexplicable recovery from Parkinson's disease was decreed to be the miracle necessary for John Paul to be beatified.
Pope Benedict XVI, center, kneels in prayer in front of the casket of late Pope John Paul II, laid out in state at the Altar of the Confession inside St. Peter's Basilica, at the end of a solemn celebration in St. Peter's Square where he was beatified, Sunday, May 1, 2011
Sister Marie Simon-Pierre Normand (L) and Sister Tobiana (C) greet Pope Benedict XVI during the beatification mass of the late Pope John Paul II in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican May 1, 2011.The late Pope John Paul moved a major step closer to sainthood on Sunday at a joyous ceremony that drew more than a million people, the largest crowd in Rome since his funeral six years ago. French nun Normand suffered from Parkinson's disease but her inexplicable cure has been attributed to John Paul's intercession with God to perform a miracle, thus providing the grounds for his beatification.
If you missed this morning's live transmission, EWTN will replay it at 8 pm EST.
Two nuns kiss the casket of John Paul II inside St. Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican Sunday, May 1, 2011.
Cardinals wait to pay their homage in front of the casket of late Pope John Paul II, laid out in state at the Altar of the Confession inside St. Peter's Basilica, at the end of a solemn celebration in St. Peter's Square where he was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI, Sunday, May 1, 2011
In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Sister Tobiana kneels in front of Pope Benedict XVI as she hands him the glass reliquary containing the blood of late Pope John Paul II while Sister Marie Simon-Pierre stands at left during the beatification ceremony of John Paul II, in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, May 1, 2011
by Benedict XVI
Dear brothers and sisters, [...] today is the Second Sunday of Easter, which Blessed John Paul II entitled Divine Mercy Sunday. The date was chosen for today’s celebration because, in God’s providence, my predecessor died on the vigil of this feast. [...]
“Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe” (Jn 20:29). In today’s Gospel Jesus proclaims this beatitude: the beatitude of faith. For us, it is particularly striking because we are gathered to celebrate a beatification, but even more so because today the one proclaimed blessed is a Pope, a Successor of Peter, one who was called to confirm his brethren in the faith. John Paul II is blessed because of his faith, a strong, generous and apostolic faith. We think at once of another beatitude: “Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven” (Mt 16:17). What did our heavenly Father reveal to Simon? That Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. Because of this faith, Simon becomes Peter, the rock on which Jesus can build his Church.
The eternal beatitude of John Paul II, which today the Church rejoices to proclaim, is wholly contained in these sayings of Jesus: “Blessed are you, Simon” and “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe!” It is the beatitude of faith, which John Paul II also received as a gift from God the Father for the building up of Christ’s Church.
Our thoughts turn to yet another beatitude, one which appears in the Gospel before all others. It is the beatitude of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of the Redeemer. Mary, who had just conceived Jesus, was told by Saint Elizabeth: “Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her by the Lord” (Lk 1:45). The beatitude of faith has its model in Mary, and all of us rejoice that the beatification of John Paul II takes place on this first day of the month of Mary, beneath the maternal gaze of the one who by her faith sustained the faith of the Apostles and constantly sustains the faith of their successors, especially those called to occupy the Chair of Peter.
Mary does not appear in the accounts of Christ’s resurrection, yet hers is, as it were, a continual, hidden presence: she is the Mother to whom Jesus entrusted each of his disciples and the entire community. In particular we can see how Saint John and Saint Luke record the powerful, maternal presence of Mary in the passages preceding those read in today’s Gospel and first reading. In the account of Jesus’ death, Mary appears at the foot of the cross (Jn 19:25), and at the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles she is seen in the midst of the disciples gathered in prayer in the Upper Room (Acts 1:14). [...]
Dear brothers and sisters, [...] in his Testament, the new Blessed wrote: “When, on 16 October 1978, the Conclave of Cardinals chose John Paul II, the Primate of Poland, Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, said to me: ‘The task of the new Pope will be to lead the Church into the Third Millennium’”. And the Pope added: “I would like once again to express my gratitude to the Holy Spirit for the great gift of the Second Vatican Council, to which, together with the whole Church – and especially with the whole episcopate – I feel indebted. I am convinced that it will long be granted to the new generations to draw from the treasures that this Council of the twentieth century has lavished upon us. As a Bishop who took part in the Council from the first to the last day, I desire to entrust this great patrimony to all who are and will be called in the future to put it into practice. For my part, I thank the Eternal Shepherd, who has enabled me to serve this very great cause in the course of all the years of my Pontificate”.
And what is this “cause”? It is the same one that John Paul II presented during his first solemn Mass in Saint Peter’s Square in the unforgettable words: “Do not be afraid! Open, open wide the doors to Christ!” What the newly-elected Pope asked of everyone, he was himself the first to do: society, culture, political and economic systems he opened up to Christ, turning back with the strength of a titan – a strength which came to him from God – a tide which appeared irreversible.
By his witness of faith, love and apostolic courage, accompanied by great human charisma, this exemplary son of Poland helped believers throughout the world not to be afraid to be called Christian, to belong to the Church, to speak of the Gospel. In a word: he helped us not to fear the truth, because truth is the guarantee of liberty.
To put it even more succinctly: he gave us the strength to believe in Christ, because Christ is "Redemptor hominis," the Redeemer of man. This was the theme of his first encyclical, and the thread which runs though all the others.
When Karol Wojtyla ascended to the throne of Peter, he brought with him a deep understanding of the difference between Marxism and Christianity, based on their respective visions of man. This was his message: man is the way of the Church, and Christ is the way of man. With this message, which is the great legacy of the Second Vatican Council and of its “helmsman”, the Servant of God Pope Paul VI, John Paul II led the People of God across the threshold of the Third Millennium, which thanks to Christ he was able to call “the threshold of hope”.
Throughout the long journey of preparation for the great Jubilee he directed Christianity once again to the future, the future of God, which transcends history while nonetheless directly affecting it. He rightly reclaimed for Christianity that impulse of hope which had in some sense faltered before Marxism and the ideology of progress. He restored to Christianity its true face as a religion of hope, to be lived in history in an “Advent” spirit, in a personal and communitarian existence directed to Christ, the fullness of humanity and the fulfillment of all our longings for justice and peace. [...]
Blessed are you, beloved Pope John Paul II, because you believed! Continue, we implore you, to sustain from heaven the faith of God’s people. Amen.
Not to be a party pooper...
...and I love what JP2 did to the Communists...
...but I want someone to get to the bottom of JP2’s involvement with protecting Cardinal Bernard Law from prosecution, before I we rush him to into recognized Saint status.
RE: before I we rush him to into recognized Saint status
Quite an ego you have there Pope Yossarian
Ho ho ho! I'm no pope, but I recognize that Saint designation is a RECOGNITION of some soul's existing "saint" status, and NOT a CREATION of that status.
Furthermore, who are YOU to tell ME that we shouldn't pursue justice against deviant priests buggering OUR CHILDREN!
I'm Catholic to the Core, but those that bring an individual like the Pope into the cult of personality sicken me. You want a cult of personality, do it with CHRIST.
(And to answer any Protestants out there seeing this as a crack in the idea of a Pope, well, the Pope has authoritative teaching concerning matters of faith and morals. Protection of those who abused children is a horrible lapse in applying correct morals.)
Today is the Feast of the Divine Mercy. On the subject of "Enemies and those who are a thorn in our side", our Lord said to St. Faustina:
The Lord said to me, "It should be of no concern to you how anyone else acts; you are to be My living reflection, through love and mercy. I answered, "Lord, but they often take advantage of my goodness." "That makes no difference, My daughter. That is no concern of yours. As for you, be always merciful toward other people, and especially toward sinners." (1446) It is because you are not of this world that the world hates you. first it persecuted Me. Persecution is a sign that you are following in My footsteps faithfully. (Jesus to suffering souls - 1487)
We would all do well to heed that advice.
I fully believe in this statement (how could I not)?
But to use this as an excuse to not investigate a problem is a horrible, horrible thing to do, NYer.
To take this statement at it's literal truth, so as we judge, so shall we be judged. My takeaway from that is this: If my name is involved with the shielding from appropriate justice those who BUGGERED ALTAR BOYS, then you know what? An investigation into my culpability is not just warranted, but REQUIRED.
I'm not asking anything be done regarding the Pope JP2 that I wouldn't expect done regarding myself, if I ever find myself in a similar spot.
I hope and pray that JP2 did not commit any grave sin in these matters. But an investigation is certainly warranted, especially before you give him "saint" designation, and incredibly so before you call him the "patron saint of youth"!!
**Some 1.5 million pilgrims **
I think that upstages the royal wedding — so to speak!
Holy confusion? Beatification, canonization are different (Catholic Caucus)
Vatican to encourage greater caution in opening sainthood causes
Pope clarifies Churchs traditions, norms for canonization; announces new instruction
They Need A Miracle Will a future pope relax the rules for sainthood?
Role of Miracles In Sainthood Eyed
Saint-making Pope is ready to ditch the miracle clause
Contribution to a Canonization
Catholic Biblical Apologetics: The Canonization of Saints: Current Canonization Process, Biblical Description of Miracles
You took the words out of my mouth.
If what Jesus said about knowing a tree by its fruit is true, then JPII full deserves this recognition.
But it is good to keep in mind that only Jesus was perfect, and he had some people that didn’t agree with everything he did also.
Just caught EWTN’s News Director on Fox News! He did an excellent job of addressing their questions and passing on the flame of faith to his colleagues.
Quite the indignation you have when pedophile defenders get held accountable for their actions, big'ol_freeper.
JPII was a mixed bag. If you put him on a pedestal, all of him goes there.
Better a millstone had hung around his neck....
While we can not know the hearts of others, we can judge them by their actions. Victims of institutionalized pedophilia singly and in groups addressed JPII about what was going on throughout his papacy - as they had his predecessors, and things were not addressed significantly until the courts forced a change.
That fact is undeniable at this point - it is a matter of public record through the court proceedings.
The only thing being debated legitimately at this point is whether it was okay to hide this, and if it was not okay - just how bad was it to do that.
I come down on the side of really, really bad.
Isn’t that Doug Keck?
His case is officially closed.
Doug Keck is the Producer. Raymond Arroyo is the News Director.
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