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Friday, 25 January 2013

A Serious Subject and a Nod to Those Who Want More Lives of the Saints

Deus, qui universum mundum
beati Pauli Apostoli praedicatione docuisti:
da nobis, quaesumus;
ut, qui eius hodie Conversionem colimus,
per eius exempla gradiamur.

O God, who instructed the whole world
by the preaching of the Blessed Apostle Paul:
grant us, we beseech You,
that we, walking in life toward You according to the examples of him,
whose conversion we are celebrating today,
may be witnesses of Your truth in the world.

O God, who taught the whole world
through the preaching of the blessed Apostle Paul,
draw us, we pray, nearer to you
through the example of him whose conversion we celebrate today,
and so make us witnesses to your truth in the world

Collects; second translation thanks to Fr. Z.

Happy Feast of St. Paul, and may he help us on our way to perfection in the Love of Christ.

And from the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent bear it away. Matthew 11:12 DR

In the past, some of my friends asked me why the Church only canonizes Catholics. Well, here are some reasons listed below.

The Catholic Encyclopedia is a good place to start, with an excellent article on canonization. I cannot recommend the CE on line or in book form without a warning that there are many articles infected by the modernist heresies, which crept into the original publication over a 100 years ago. However, when I refer or recommend an article, I have vetted these. Now, the process was changed under Blessed John Paul II, but this post in on the particular question of Protestants or non-Catholics being recognized as holy.

Here is a section: As was taught by St. Augustine (Quaest. in Heptateuch., lib. II, n. 94; Reply to Faustus XX.21),Catholics, while giving to God alone adoration strictly so-called, honour the saints because of the Divine supernatural gifts which have earned them eternal life, and through which they reign with God in the heavenly fatherland as His chosen friends and faithful servants. In other words, Catholics honour God in His saints as the loving distributor of supernatural gifts. The worship oflatria (latreia), or strict adoration, is given to God alone; the worship of dulia (douleia), or honour and humble reverence, is paid the saints; the worship of hyperdulia (hyperdouleia), a higher form of dulia, belongs, on account of her greater excellence, to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Church (AugustineReply to Faustus XX.21; cf. City of God XXII.10) erects her altars to God alone, though in honour and memory of the saints and martyrs. There is Scriptural warrant for such worship in the passages where we are bidden to venerate angels (Exodus 23:20 sqq.Joshua 5:13 sqq.Daniel 8:15 sqq.10:4 sqq.; Luke 2:9 sqq.Acts 12:7 sqq.Revelation 5:11 sqq.7:1 sqq.Matthew 18:10; etc.), whom holy men are not unlike, as sharers of the friendship of God. And if St. Paul beseeches the brethren (Romans 15:302 Corinthians 1:11Colossians 4:3Ephesians 6:18-19) to help him by their prayers for him to God, we must with even greater reason maintain that we can be helped by the prayers of the saints, and ask their intercession with humility. If we may beseech those who still live on earth, why not those who live in heaven?

and again, more clarity on the nature of canonization...

Canonization, therefore, creates a cultus which is universal and obligatory. But in imposing this obligation the pope may, and does, use one of two methods, each constituting a new species of canonization, i.e. formal canonization and equivalentcanonization. Formal canonization occurs when the cultus is prescribed as an explicit and definitive decision, after due judicial process and the ceremonies usual in such cases. Equivalent canonization occurs when the pope, omitting the judicial process and the ceremoniesorders some servant of God to be venerated in the Universal Church; this happens when such a saint has been from a remote period the object of veneration, when his heroic virtues (or martyrdom) and miracles are related by reliablehistorians, and the fame of his miraculous intercession is uninterrupted. Many examples of such canonization are to be found inBenedict XIV; e.g. Saints RomualdNorbertBrunoPeter NolascoRaymond NonnatusJohn of Matha, Felix of ValoisQueen Margaret of ScotlandKing Stephen of HungaryWenceslaus Duke of Bohemia, and Gregory VII. Such instances afford a goodproof of the caution with which the Roman Church proceeds in these equivalent canonizationsSt. Romuald was not canonized until 439 years after his death, and the honour came to him sooner than to any of the others mentioned. We may add that this equivalent canonization consists usually in the ordering of an Office and Mass by the pope in honour of the saint, and that mere enrollment in the Roman Martyrology does not by any means imply this honour (Benedict XIV, l, c., xliii, no 14).

and the fact that it is infallible....
The Conversion of St. Paul

This general agreement of theologians as to papal infallibility in canonization must not be extended to beatification, not withstanding the contrary teaching of the canonical commentary known as "Glossa" [in cap. un. de reliquiis et venerat. SS. (III, 22) in 6; Innocent., Comm. in quinque Decretalium libros, tit. de reliquiis, etc., no 4; Ostiensis in eumd. tit. no 10; Felini, cap. lii, De testibus, etc., X (II, 20); Caietani, tract. De indulgentiis adversus Lutherum ad Julium Mediceum; Augustini de Ancona, seu Triumphi, De potestate eccl., Q. xiv, a. 4). Canonists and theologians generally deny the infallible character of decrees ofbeatification, whether formal or equivalent, since it is always a permission, not a command; while it leads to canonization, it is not the last step. Moreover, in most cases, the cultus permitted by beatification, is restricted to a determined province, city, orreligious body (Benedict XIV, op. cit., I, xlii). Some, however, have thought otherwise (Arriaga, Theol., V, disp. 7, p. 6; Amicus, Theol., IV, disp. 7, p. 4, no 98; Turrianus on II-II, V, disp. 17, no 6; Del Bene, De S. Inquisit. II, dub. 254).

Now for the real question:

The first rule of looking at the holiness and/or heroic virtue of a person is that they are actually orthodox with regard to the Teachings of the Catholic Church and that their lives have been a witness of the Church Militant.

For example, if a person was good and an excellent apologist, but never became a Catholic when he had the chance, one would wonder at the mind of that person with regard to the Mind of Christ. The only true teaching we have in this world is in the Teaching Magisterium of the Church and the Kingdom of God subsits in the Catholic Church and not outside it. The reality of having one foot in a Protestant denomination and the other in the Catholic Church shows that the person was not conformed totally to the witness of Faith needed for canonization.
The Visitation

There are many people in heaven who are not canonized. I have a sister who died at one, in grace, and without sin, being baptised  She is absolutely innocent and with God, but not canonized. Her life is not one to be examined and modelled by others, although she shares in the Beatific Vision. I hope she prays for her much less than perfect sister.

Her life was a hidden one of innocence and God called her to Him early. The saints are those to whom we look for guidance and as examples of holiness while still on earth. This is the key point. While millions of people have died in the Faith and either gone directly to heaven or have been purified in a purgatorial state, few have given us the witness of Faith, Hope and Charity needed to be declared saints.

Orthodoxy is the basis for this holiness. This is like staring on page one in the Algebra book and proceeding to Trig and Calculus, building on learned skills. One must start with having the Mind of Christ, who established His Church on earth, a visible institution headed by His Own Vicar, the Pope. Can one have the Mind of Christ outside the Church? Yes, but the question would be, why then did this person not convert and join the Church, the visible sign of unity and the Kingdom of God on earth?

Not becoming a Catholic when one is pursuing or being given the grace to enter into the life of perfection is a serious situation. It may indicate that a person is living in an irregular situation, such as C. S. Lewis marrying a divorced and not annulled woman, or having prejudices from his Northern Irish upbringing. We cannot see the soul, but outward actions reveal the limits or extensions of holiness.

Canonized people are held up by Holy Mother Church are our guides and models. The Church, after a longish process, declares that, with miracles, this person showed, while on earth, a level of conformity to the Mind of Christ, which led them through the stages of purification, illumination and unity at some level.

Martyrs of Korea
Miracles are merely signs of that conformity, that oneness with Christ and His Mystical Body, the Church.

We are talking about PERFECTION here. A non-Catholic can be a very moral person, having experiences of grace and even infused knowledge to a certain extent, because God is generous in His grace, but the question is, why is that person not joining the Church? What is the obstacle in their life which precludes outward unity and the fulfillment of God's Will for them, for it is God's Will that all be saved in and through the Church?

Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne 
There is an obstacle to complete union. I was an RCIA coordinator and director in the past, and I can assure you that only when the obstacles keeping people out of the Church were realized and faced did those good people see the beauty of the Church and God's plan for salvation in and through the Church.

Some of these obstacles were: not complete agreement on contraception or abortion; not complete agreement about marriage laws; not complete agreement about the nature of the Papacy and infallibility; misunderstandings about the nature of grace; misunderstandings about the nature of the priesthood; faulty Christology;  confusion as to the history and meaning of the Church; the nature of the Church herself was misunderstood;  non-compliance regarding IVF and sterilization; irregular marriages; just plain prejudice and so on....

Those who came into the Church under my care had no doubts as to the real teaching of Christ as preserved in His Church. If they could not come to understanding, they accepted the gift of faith in order to believe and then understand. So too, was the beginning of the lives of the saints.

Some Christians are living and believing like Catholics and only have one obstacle to overcome, such as the papacy, or the idea of the visible Church. God offers them grace and then, they convert. It is exciting to see.

The entire idea that the Kingdom of God subsits in the Catholic Church and no where else was the deciding factor for some who finally accepted the grace to join Rome and be part of the Mystical Body of Christ.

Holiness demands orthodoxy. If one is looking at the saints, one can see some imperfections of temperament or even a lack of intellectual prowess. But, the real deciding point for Holy Mother Church is did these good people join with Christ in all things while on earth, in their minds, souls, hearts, intellect, will? In addition, the Church asks for signs of a life of virtue to a high degree. One cannot be a martyr, by the way, without at least arriving at the beginning of the Illuminative State, as the process of martyrdom is purgation. This  is why so many of the martyrs were able to stand, for example, at Tyburn and forgive their enemies, as well as pray for the King and Queen. They had arrived at a great holiness in their lives of suffering and purgation to enter into the life of virtue and conformity to Christ in His Suffering, as sign of  the Illuminative State.

If the answer is yes to all the above, a person cause may go forward, as we say. The Church can state that the saint is a model:

For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that we may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:26, DR

St,Herman of Alaska
BTW: there is a Roman Catholic Church agreement with the Orthodox to honour post-schism saints. I shall find this for you on line, somehow, as I saw it in print years ago in Canada at a Ukrainian study centre  It was written in the 1920s. We were already honouring pre-schism saints, such as SS. Olga, Vladimir the Great and many others..... 

In addition, there are several icon companies selling icons of some non-canonized Catholics, non-Catholics, even non-Christians and pagans, as if these people were saints. Do not bother--these are not "windows into heaven" if these depict such persons as Gandhi, Albert Einstein, Black Elk, Cesar Chavez,  C. S. Lewis, James Lloyd Breck. Cardinal Bernadine of Chicago, Thomas Merton (in a yoga pose), Martin Luther King, or homosexual "saints" such as Mychal Judge, Mark Bingham, Harvey Milk, or such people as Oscar Romero, John Donne, We-wha the Zuni shaman, and the worst one I have ever seen, Merlin of Britain , which was actually a soft-porn icon.

Why we need the Church.....and why we need the basis of orthodoxy.