9 July 2019

Read Ker

I read somewhere that a layman, said to be a buddy of some of the English Bishops, had claimed that for Blessed John Henry to be canonised by PF was highly suitable, because JHN was opposed to papal Infallibility, while PF often admits that he is wrong.

I can think of few suggestions more childishly perverse. JHN was most certainly not opposed to the dogma of papal infallibilty. Indeed, the claim itself demonstrates a woeful lack of appreciation of a brilliant, subtle, and nuanced mind.

Nor is PF famous for admitting his errors. Try asking the unfortunates whom he has viciously attacked and continues to lacerate.

I am afraid that we are going to get more of this: as we approach the canonisation, Begoglians, illiterates, and other life-forms will crawl out of the woodwork, claiming to instruct us on the teaching, and the significance, of this great Saint. How irritating. I suggest that readers who have not already done so should educate themselves by reading Dr Ker's biography of JHN in the 'Oxford Lives' series.

A thoughtful friend is uneasy about the canonisation because, she feels, for JHN to be canonised by such a pope runs the risk of bracketing JHN with some dodgy individuals canonised by this pope. I do see her point.

But apart from the clearly identifiable disorder of canonising 'the conciliar popes' as a crude piece of highly unedifying church politics, most canonisations have been of individuals who were already moving comfortably through the pipeline. Although the Bishop of Rome does the final formalities, I believe we should look upon canonisation as an act of the Church.

In order to give expression to this conviction, I shall in future refer to JHN as "S John Henry", even before October!

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