Monday, April 28, 2014

The Day of Four Popes

We're still riding the high of all the excitement of yesterday - Second Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday, and the Canonization of Saints John XXIII and John Paul the Great. Though I didn't get up at 3 in the morning to watch the canonization Mass (offered by two popes!), we did enjoy some programming on EWTN that included interviews that Raymond Arroyo did with Jon Voight and Cary Elwes about their roles in the Pope John Paul II movie. In the afternoon, we helped with the music for our parish's Divine Mercy Services and in the evening, we had some friends over to watch the above mentioned movie as a way of celebrating the canonization (I really had forgotten great the movie was - it's been a few years since I've seen it).

A few thoughts are swirling around in my head that I'd like to tack down here...

First, our pastor's reflection given during our Divine Mercy services was quite interesting. I knew that Saint John Paul II was heavily involved in promoting devotion to Divine Mercy, but I really had no sense of how far that went. Apparently St. Faustina's diary was kind of messy to begin with, because she did not have a high level of education, and the translation that was originally submitted to Rome had a lot of problems with it - so much so that the devotion was initially condemned. Saint John Paul II, apparently, had the diaries re-translated and re-submitted to Rome (I believe) even before he became pope. Would love to see an exposition of this whole story.

Regarding the canonizations that took place yesterday, I was fascinated/captivated by the fact John XXIII and John Paul II were canonized together. For me it held special value because, while I've long been an admirer of Pope John Paul II, I really don't know very much about Pope John XXIII. But, John Paul II's Apostolic Constitution Fidei Depositum (which you can find in the front of the Catechism of the Catholic Church) really rocked my world when I first read it. I had a strong sense of love and trust towards Pope John Paul II, but had a more vague and slightly wary sense of Vatican II, growing up. So you  can, perhaps imagine my surprise, when I read this in the above-mentioned document:

"Vatican II has always been, and especially during these years of my Pontificate, the constant reference point of my every pastoral action, in the conscious commitment to implement its directives concretely and faithfully at the level of each Church and the whole Church."
You can read the whole thing here: Apostolic Constitution Fidei Depositum

That was a bit of a game-changer for me!

I think the quote also highlights how silly such media quotes as this one really are:

"By canonising both John XXIII - the pope who set off the reform movement - and John Paul II - the pope who applied the brakes - Francis has skilfully deflected any possible criticism that he could be taking sides." 

(Source: BBC News |Vatican declares Popes John Paul II and John XXIII saints).

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