21 January 2015

Equipollent Beatification and Canonisation

The revelation that the Holy Father has adopted a set policy of Canonisation without proof of miracles for those who fit snugly enough into his own criterion - Mission - for the life of the Church, apparently disquiets some. There is always somebody ....!

But there is no need to panic. Canonisation equipollently done is clearly laid out in the great work on Beatification and Canonisation by that exquisitely erudite Pontiff Benedict XIV Lambertini, who himself made considerable use of it. Englishmen can hardly disapprove of the process: 63 of our Martyrs were beatified in this way by Leo XIII on 29 December 1886 and 13 March 1895. The evidence upon which he felt able to do this was the painting in 1583 of the pictures of the Martyrs in the Chapel  of the Venerabile, showing them with haloes.

I myself feel just the slightest, almost imperceptible, stir of unease on three grounds. A massive use of a method which is generally thought of as unusual might give a mistaken impression that our beloved Holy Father is making things up as he goes along, and might also appear to support what seems to be the pretty well unanimous conclusion of the Vaticanistas (I have no idea if they are right) that he is arbitrary and dictatorial ... that we have a one-man-government. It reminds me, if I am completely honest, of his policy of ignoring the liturgical rule confining the pedilavium to viri. (I would like to disbelieve this, but it seems to be confirmed by video clips.)

And secondly, I rather wonder whether it is quite in the scheme of things so blatantly to conform the emergence of new beati and sancti to the policies of a particular pontificate. Again, it might make the Church seem like a one-man game. This is not the model of Papacy which is most likely to appeal to Orthodox or to Catholic-minded Anglicans and Lutherans, who are not always attracted by the image of the Pope as an absolute monarch.

And thirdly, I fear that this may be seized upon by those who disapprove of the fast-track, apparently almost automatic, canonisation of recent popes with Conciliar connections, and who argue that Canonisation has been thereby cheapened.

But I rejoice that our beloved brethren  the Sons of S Philip have a great, a magnificent new Saint; and I look forward to the equipollent beatification of blessed Charles Stuart the Martyr, King of England, Scotland, France and Ireland. Santo subito! Vivat Rex!


Woody said...

Your second point is intriguing. Could he hope that by his actions as pope non-Catholics will not want to convert to the Church?

Elizabeth @ The Garden Window said...

I can live with the "unusual" process if they complete the canonisation of my dearly esteemed Archbishop Fulton Sheen :-)
Canonisation of Charles, King & Martyr would be a thrice blessed event; I speak as a member of the family of one of the regicides of the Martyr, and no pilgrimage to Walsingham is ever complete for me without lighting a candle near St Charles' statue.

Marc in Eugene said...

Today, St Agnes Day, is the anniversary of the martyrdom of the Most Christian King Louis XVI. Another opportunity for his Holiness, pray God.

Unknown said...

But really could they please get on with canonizing Blessed Henry VI?