When the saints come marching in

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When the saints come marching in

Can we canonize the Pope before he's dead?

Since being hired as pope in 1978, John Paul Jones II has canonized 482 saints. The vast Vatican bureaucracy used to vet nominations through a judicial process (there was once an actual job for a "Devil's Advocate," who inveighed against a candidate for sainthood). Yet JP2 turned investigating powers over to local bishops, who began visiting barrooms and bathhouses (OK, not bathhouses) asking about holy dead people. For those not versed in canon law, what we're talking about here is more of a Dr. Pepper strategy:

 

I'm a saint

You're a saint

He's a saint

She's a saint

Wouldn't you like to be a saint, too?

The question of the moment, of course, is how long it will take for mourners to tap John Paul for membership in the country club of saints. (It's harder these days to get into Augusta.)

 

Writing in Der Spiegel, dissident theologian Hans Kung does his best to speak for the devil, chronicling JP2's destructive legacy for the church. (One personal favorite is the Vatican's 2003 claim that condoms contribute to the spread of AIDS in Africa. In other Vatican science news, the sun rotates around the earth once a day.) It's a long and damning list of the doctrinal and organizational blunders that have left the church with a doddering clergy, a disaffected laity, and a Cardinal's College full of conservative cronies.

 

Yet that won?t be the story in the media for the next week. And so the ironic question instead is whether some overeager papal groupie, on some blessed blog, might have already proposed the still-living pontiff for beatification.

Only god and Google know the answer.


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