|The Diary Of John|
|What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty and democracy? - Gandhi|
Saturday, December 17, 2005
Pope John Paul II on Fast Track for Sainthood
Catholics campaigning to have the late Pope John Paul II declared a saint in record time should welcome two reports of miracles alleged to have occurred at the pontiff's tomb.
A woman from Turin who couldn't find her car keys took the train to Rome to view the pope's tomb yesterday. While she was standing in line waiting to buy a ticket to see the tomb, she miraculously found her car keys in her purse. In a separate incident, a man from Naples who had not had sex with his wife for sixteen years reported that after they had visited the pope's tomb, she miraculously took him by the hand and suggested they skip lunch and go back to their hotel.
These miracles are especially significant because they occurred after the pope's death, and only posthumous miracles count toward meeting the requirements for sainthood. According to Vatican regulations, one miracle is required in order for a person to be beatified, and a second miracle is required for canonization (sainthood).
Beatification is the equivalent of saint-in-waiting status. It allows businesses and private individuals with a current Vatican vendor's license who reside in the beatified person's village to sell key chains, bumper stickers, and window decals bearing the beatified person's image. Full sainthood is required before businesses or individuals in a saint's home state or province are permitted to put the new saint's image on coffee mugs, T-shirts, and other "big ticket" items.
The Vatican, which has been overwhelmed by reports of miracles attributed to Pope John Paul II, issued a stern set of guidelines earlier this week "that must be observed meticulously in both the spirit and the letter of the law" by anyone claiming to have witnessed a papal miracle.
"First of all," said John Paul's successor, Benedict XVI, "we will not consider any report that is not accompanied by the nonrefundable 100-euro application fee, which is payable only by certified check or international money order. Nor can we reply in writing to any application that is not accompanied by a self-addressed envelope bearing sufficient return postage. Finally, all telephone calls required to verify information sent to us will be made collect."
Catholics expect John Paul II to be canonized in time for the Christmas shopping season.Pope Benedict, a paleo-conservative, sternly reminded the papal flock that miracles performed by the pope while he was still living will not be counted toward his candidacy for sainthood. When he was asked why posthumous miracles are considered more miraculous by the Vatican, the new pope replied with a patient smile, "Because that's the way it's always been."
The no-living-miracles rule disqualifies many of John Paul's most celebrated feats, several of which had received prominent play in Italian tabloids shortly after his death. One miracle cure involved an American Jewish multimillionaire whose brain tumor disappeared after he had made a six-figure contribution to the Vatican Software Fund while attending mass at the pope's summer retreat in the gated community of Castelgandolfo, outside Rome.
Another favorite of the Italian tabloids is the story of the Mexican child with a hare lip who rose from his coffin and walked after the pope's motorcade had passed the funeral parlor where the child's viewing was in progress. The grateful young man ran to the door of the funeral home and cried out, "Theeenyor PaPa, theenyor PaPa."
That story is considered apocryphal by some members of the College of Miracles who point out that the late pontiff was nothing if not painstakingly thorough and, therefore, would have cured the boy's hare lip in addition to raising him from the dead.
In related news, Birdie Kim, who won the U.S. Women's Open last weekend on a miracle shot on the eighteenth hole, credits the picture of Pope John Paul that she wore in her bra with enabling her to achieve victory.
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