Pope Benedict XVI personally pronounced his predecessor John Paul II Sunday to be among the blessed, one step below sainthood, in a Mass attended by more than a million in Rome.
Declaring that the angels and saints in heaven were themselves celebrating, he praised John Paul's strength, will and holiness in the following words:
"Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Six years ago we gathered in this Square to celebrate the funeral of Pope John Paul II. Our grief at his loss was deep, but even greater was our sense of an immense grace which embraced Rome and the whole world: a grace which was in some way the fruit of my beloved predecessor's entire life, and especially of his witness in suffering.
Even then we perceived the fragrance of his sanctity, and in any number of ways God's People showed their veneration for him. For this reason, with all due respect for the Church's canonical norms, I wanted his cause of beatification to move forward with reasonable haste. And now the longed-for day has come; it came quickly because this is what was pleasing to the Lord: John Paul II is blessed!
I would like to offer a cordial greeting to all of you who on this happy occasion have come in such great numbers to Rome from all over the world – cardinals, patriarchs of the Eastern Catholic Churches, brother bishops and priests, official delegations, ambassadors and civil authorities, consecrated men and women and lay faithful, and I extend that greeting to all those who join us by radio and television.
Today is the Second Sunday of Easter, which Blessed John Paul II entitled Divine Mercy Sunday. The date was chosen for today's celebration because, in God's providence, my predecessor died on the vigil of this feast. Today is also the first day of May, Mary's month, and the liturgical memorial of Saint Joseph the Worker. All these elements serve to enrich our prayer, they help us in our pilgrimage through time and space; but in heaven a very different celebration is taking place among the angels and saints! Even so, God is but one, and one too is Christ the Lord, who like a bridge joins earth to heaven. At this moment we feel closer than ever, sharing as it were in the liturgy of heaven.
'Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe' (Jn 20:29). In today's Gospel Jesus proclaims this beatitude: the beatitude of faith. For us, it is particularly striking because we are gathered to celebrate a beatification, but even more so because today the one proclaimed blessed is a Pope, a Successor of Peter, one who was called to confirm his brethren in the faith. John Paul II is blessed because of his faith, a strong, generous and apostolic faith. We think at once of another beatitude: 'Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven' (Mt 16:17). What did our heavenly Father reveal to Simon? That Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. Because of this faith, Simon becomes Peter, the rock on which Jesus can build his Church. The eternal beatitude of John Paul II, which today the Church rejoices to proclaim, is wholly contained in these sayings of Jesus: 'Blessed are you, Simon' and 'Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe!' It is the beatitude of faith, which John Paul II also received as a gift from God the Father for the building up of Christ's Church.
Our thoughts turn to yet another beatitude, one which appears in the Gospel before all others. It is the beatitude of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of the Redeemer. Mary, who had just conceived Jesus, was told by Saint Elizabeth: 'Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord' (Lk 1:45). The beatitude of faith has its model in Mary, and all of us rejoice that the beatification of John Paul II takes place on this first day of the month of Mary, beneath the maternal gaze of the one who by her faith sustained the faith of the Apostles and constantly sustains the faith of their successors, especially those called to occupy the Chair of Peter. Mary does not appear in the accounts of Christ's resurrection, yet hers is, as it were, a continual, hidden presence: she is the Mother to whom Jesus entrusted each of his disciples and the entire community. In particular we can see how Saint John and Saint Luke record the powerful, maternal presence of Mary in the passages preceding those read in today's Gospel and first reading. In the account of Jesus' death, Mary appears at the foot of the Cross (Jn 19:25), and at the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles she is seen in the midst of the disciples gathered in prayer in the Upper Room (Acts 1:14).
Today's second reading also speaks to us of faith. St. Peter himself, filled with spiritual enthusiasm, points out to the newly-baptized the reason for their hope and their joy. I like to think how in this passage, at the beginning of his First Letter, Peter does not use language of exhortation; instead, he states a fact. He writes: 'you rejoice', and he adds: 'you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls' (1 Pt 1:6, 8-9). All these verbs are in the indicative, because a new reality has come about in Christ's resurrection, a reality to which faith opens the door. 'This is the Lord's doing', says the Psalm (Ps 118:23), and 'it is marvelous in our eyes', the eyes of faith.
Dear brothers and sisters, today our eyes behold, in the full spiritual light of the risen Christ, the beloved and revered figure of John Paul II. Today his name is added to the host of those whom he proclaimed saints and blesseds during the almost twenty-seven years of his pontificate, thereby forcefully emphasizing the universal vocation to the heights of the Christian life, to holiness, taught by the conciliar Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium. All of us, as members of the people of God – bishops, priests, deacons, laity, men and women religious – are making our pilgrim way to the heavenly homeland where the Virgin Mary has preceded us, associated as she was in a unique and perfect way to the mystery of Christ and the Church. Karol Wojtyla took part in the Second Vatican Council, first as an auxiliary Bishop and then as Archbishop of Krakow. He was fully aware that the Council's decision to devote the last chapter of its Constitution on the Church to Mary meant that the Mother of the Redeemer is held up as an image and model of holiness for every Christian and for the entire Church. This was the theological vision which Blessed John Paul II discovered as a young man and subsequently maintained and deepened throughout his life. A vision which is expressed in the scriptural image of the crucified Christ with Mary, his Mother, at his side. This icon from the Gospel of John (19:25-27) was taken up in the episcopal and later the papal coat-of-arms of Karol Wojtyla: a golden cross with the letter 'M' on the lower right and the motto 'Totus tuus', drawn from the well-known words of Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort in which Karol Wojtyla found a guiding light for his life: 'Totus tuus ego sum et omnia mea tua sunt. Accipio te in mea omnia. Praebe mihi cor tuum, Maria – I belong entirely to you, and all that I have is yours. I take you for my all. O Mary, give me your heart' (Treatise on True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, 266).
In his Testament, the new Blessed wrote: 'When, on 16 October 1978, the Conclave of Cardinals chose John Paul II, the Primate of Poland, Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, said to me: "The task of the new Pope will be to lead the Church into the Third Millennium"'. And the Pope added: 'I would like once again to express my gratitude to the Holy Spirit for the great gift of the Second Vatican Council, to which, together with the whole Church – and especially with the whole episcopate – I feel indebted. I am convinced that it will long be granted to the new generations to draw from the treasures that this Council of the twentieth century has lavished upon us. As a Bishop who took part in the Council from the first to the last day, I desire to entrust this great patrimony to all who are and will be called in the future to put it into practice. For my part, I thank the Eternal Shepherd, who has enabled me to serve this very great cause in the course of all the years of my Pontificate'. And what is this 'cause'? It is the same one that John Paul II presented during his first solemn Mass in Saint Peter's Square in the unforgettable words: 'Do not be afraid! Open, open wide the doors to Christ!' What the newly-elected Pope asked of everyone, he was himself the first to do: society, culture, political and economic systems he opened up to Christ, turning back with the strength of a titan – a strength which came to him from God – a tide which appeared irreversible. By his witness of faith, love and apostolic courage, accompanied by great human charisma, this exemplary son of Poland helped believers throughout the world not to be afraid to be called Christian, to belong to the Church, to speak of the Gospel. In a word: he helped us not to fear the truth, because truth is the guarantee of liberty. To put it even more succinctly: he gave us the strength to believe in Christ, because Christ is Redemptor hominis, the Redeemer of man. This was the theme of his first encyclical, and the thread which runs though all the others.
When Karol Wojtyla ascended to the throne of Peter, he brought with him a deep understanding of the difference between Marxism and Christianity, based on their respective visions of man. This was his message: man is the way of the Church, and Christ is the way of man. With this message, which is the great legacy of the Second Vatican Council and of its 'helmsman', the Servant of God Pope Paul VI, John Paul II led the People of God across the threshold of the Third Millennium, which thanks to Christ he was able to call 'the threshold of hope'. Throughout the long journey of preparation for the great Jubilee he directed Christianity once again to the future, the future of God, which transcends history while nonetheless directly affecting it. He rightly reclaimed for Christianity that impulse of hope which had in some sense faltered before Marxism and the ideology of progress. He restored to Christianity its true face as a religion of hope, to be lived in history in an 'Advent' spirit, in a personal and communitarian existence directed to Christ, the fullness of humanity and the fulfillment of all our longings for justice and peace.
Finally, on a more personal note, I would like to thank God for the gift of having worked for many years with Blessed Pope John Paul II. I had known him earlier and had esteemed him, but for twenty-three years, beginning in 1982 after he called me to Rome to be Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, I was at his side and came to revere him all the more. My own service was sustained by his spiritual depth and by the richness of his insights. His example of prayer continually impressed and edified me: he remained deeply united to God even amid the many demands of his ministry. Then too, there was his witness in suffering: the Lord gradually stripped him of everything, yet he remained ever a 'rock', as Christ desired. His profound humility, grounded in close union with Christ, enabled him to continue to lead the Church and to give to the world a message which became all the more eloquent as his physical strength declined. In this way he lived out in an extraordinary way the vocation of every priest and bishop to become completely one with Jesus, whom he daily receives and offers in the Eucharist.
Blessed are you, beloved Pope John Paul II, because you believed! Continue, we implore you, to sustain from heaven the faith of God's people. How many time you blessed us from this very square. Holy Father, bless us again from that window. Amen."
Its 2012 people! Enough with this popes and ghosts and gods and ghouls nonsense, grow up and face reality.
P.S. Santa Claus and Easter Bunny aren't real either!! shocker!!
In responce to Emmache
The 2300 day prophecy in the book of Dan. (that your unfamiler with) leads us to 1844. It was also prophecized that there would be a bitter disapointment at that time. A day is a year in Bible prophecy ( EZ. 4:6) You will see sir on judgment day that you are the one who rejected the truth. And doomed to the second death. I pray your heart softens
and you surender to bible truths. The papacy is the surrogate of Satan, (anti-Christ) receives worship in the place of
Jesus. Your under strong delusion to reject this fact. Deception is very dangerous.
I hope you come around, and I see you in heaven , after the resurection. With Love, Steve
REMEMBER THE SABBATH DAY AND KEEP IT HOLY,WHICH IS SATURDAY NOT SUNDAY....
My Bible says the POPE IS THE ANTI CHRIST. Dan. 7 and 8 . Study this . Its as plain as the nose on your face. God wants you to know. God wants all His catholic children to come out of this false pagan counterfiet system, that exaults the human.
Give Glory to God, and obey Him and worship Jesus Christ only. The book of Rev. forcast that ALL the world will be deceived. I was deceived myself, until I became a true Bible Christian. How wonderful it is to be in the marvelous light.
Theres one church that preaches the truth. The Seventh-Day Adventist
This is the typical claim from most cults – that they, and only they, preach the truth. Steve, since the Seventh-Day Adventists preached that Jesus would return in 1884, how's that one going? Are you folks keeping Jesus all to yourselves, or by chance were you WRONG?
The portrayal of Rome in the book of Daniel refers to the Roman Empire, not the Church. Once again, this is a typical cultish tactic to distract people from the real truth and promote the agenda of the cult. You are, in fact, still deceived, because truly there is no such thing as a "Bible Christian." There are only those who hold to Jesus's teachings – all of them – and remain faithful to the Church that He Himself set up according to the light that the Father gives them to be faithful. Jesus was never in a book, nor did He ever write a book – He redeemed us on the Altar of the Cross, and proved His Sacrifice worthy by raising Himself from the dead on Easter. The Bible itself records that not all of Jesus's words and actions are in the Bible, and the Bible itself declares that "sola scriptura" is false.
Truth is truth wherever you find it, and you can find truth in many places – but only in the Church are you guaranteed to find all the truth necessary for salvation. I sincerely wish you well, and encourage you to continue to seek God's light.
I read in the Belief Blog of a mother whose son had just recently suffered a tramatic injury to his head. She describes that while enroute to the hospital she prayed incessantly in the name of Pope John Paul II. Thankfully the son suffered no permanent injury or scarring. And the mother goes on to state that she firmly believes her son experienced a miracle as a result of having invoked help in the deceased Popes name.
The story itself is as heartwrenching as her faith is overwhelming. While she raced to the hospital trusting that medical doctors would do everything they could, she obviousely placed her real hope in the hands of a higher authority. That the woman has great faith is unmistakable, however, is her faith properly placed? I mean by that, is it appropriate for us to pray to a deceased Pope (or a living one for that matter).
Reasoning from the scriptures it is my firm belief that invoking the help of a mediator other Jesus Christ, would be in error based on instruction from the bible.
"There is only one God, and there is only one mediator between God and mankind, himself a man, Christ Jesus–(1Tim 2:5)
"Jesus said: I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one can come to the Father except through me. If you ask for anything in My Name, I will do it" --(John 14:6)
Another interesting scripture from the bible tells about a man by the name of "Cornelius" who went out from his house to greet Peter, and as he did so he knelt down and began prostrating himself, and Peter corrected him by saying "stand up,' I am only a man after all!"
Cornelius obviously knew that worship to anyone other than God was, wrong.
In the exudus from egypt, while Moses was up on mount Sinai the people fell away and created a golden calf and started worshiping it. 19,000 perished as a result. God gave specific commands not bow to images or idols. That being the case, would not statutes of saints (venerated or otherwise) as well as emblems and crosses not also be attached to that command?
What about the Pope, adorned in all his splended attire with affixed crosses, being prostrated to by everyone that comes within his presents as they stand in rooms filled with statutes of saints. Are all these things appropriate? Do they,or don't they conflict with Gods command to keep away from them?
Knowing Jesus as are only mediator would it be appropriate to worship someone who, in Peters words is: "only a man" ?
When we pray and ask for prayers of the faithful or saints in Heaven, we are not worshipping them! They are not mediators; they are intercessors. All prayers are made through Jesus Christ.
The Bible is the whole Bible…the Old and New Testaments as we have it from the Catholic Church…anything other than the whole Bible is not the True Bible.
We do not worship idols; statues are no different than you carrying a picture of a loved one in your wallet…unless you are worshipping that picture…hopefully, you are not!
There is a difference between mediation and intercession. That is why you should read 1 Tim 2:1-4 before you skip to v. 5. Because of Christi's mediatorship we can come to him with our intercessions and have them presented before the throne of God. We do not claim the Pope is mediating the new covenant like Christ. We claim that in heaven he sits before the throne of God just as it is said in Rev 5 and 8 and that he can INTERCEDE for us. Surely you pray for people and ask their prayers. We merely believe that those in heaven can pray for us as well and we ask them to do so. They are still members of the body of Christ for Rom 8 says NOTHING separates us from Christ.
The "church fathers" which you so endearingly refer to not ony rejected, but even renounced these "secret writings" that you are refer to. Theologist both then and now have been quick to recognize that the Greek-speaking Jews of Alexandria eventually inserted such Apocryphal writings into the Greek Septuagint and apparently viewed them (as you do) as part of an enlarged canon of sacred writings, when in truth they have been uncovered as only secondary writings and not of divine origin. Thus, the Jewish Council of Jamnia (about 90 C.E.) specifically EXCLUDED all such writings from the Hebrew canon.
With exception to the obvious "inspired books of the bible" those writings (Machabees, Ecclesiaticus and Wisdom) which you elected to quote from are equivalent to those false doctrines cited in defense of and regularly used by the Catholic church. The historical record is indicative of the fact that Jews and early Christians rejected the books of the Machabees as apocryphal or spurious writings. Neither Jesus nor the apostles quoted from them. Of the four books of Machabees—some say five—even the Catholic Bible contains only two. Jerome, hailed by Pope Pius XII as “the greatest Doctor in the exposition of the Sacred Scriptures,” warned: “All apocryphal books should be avoided; . . . they contain much that is faulty.”
It is regrettable that you would so disingenuously mislead those, whom through no fault of their own, lack the literary knowledge to contradict misleading and/or false teaching.
Though you are correct about the rabbinical council at Jamnia, why do you think that it was authoritative as far as the Church is concerned? The Church by that time had been a going concern for OVER 800 YEARS, and had its codified Canon of Scripture by the authority given to the Church by Christ, which included those books that those rabbis misguidedly excluded.
Either the Church never was authoritative – thus denying Christ's own words – or the rabbis at Jamnia are not relevant to Christianity.
By the way, the "Jamnia" argument is one of those commonly referred to as "appeal to irrelevant authority." As many good points as the Reformers had – most of which are Catholic doctrine today – this is one place where they were just plain old wrong. Get over it.
its funny to see how some people believe in children stories like the Bible.
CatholicMom, thank you for educating us. That was very good.
You are so welcome, Adelina!
Those obviously gay dresses the "men" are wearing only underscore the need to obliterate the Catholic Church from the earth.
All through the Bible vestments and priests are important. Jesus Himself had his robe ‘without seam’ taken from Him. Such robes were meant for Kings. Priests are standing in for Jesus Christ here on earth so that Jesus Christ can continue with His Priesthood. Here are a few verses to help you understand the ‘why’ about the robes, mitered diadem, and such:
The soldiers therefore, when they had crucified him, took his garments, (and they made four parts, to every soldier a part,) and also his coat. Now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. Remember the soldiers drew lots to see who would win the royal seamless robe…..
Remember also that the Old Testament is hidden in the New Testament and the New Testament is the fulfillment of the Old Testament.
Isaias (Isaiah) 22:21
And I will clothe him with thy robe, and will strengthen him with thy girdle, and will give thy power into his hand: and he shall be as a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Juda.
He gave him a holy robe of gold, and blue, and purple, a woven work of a wise man, endued with judgment and truth:
And thou shalt gird the tunick with fine linen, and thou shalt make a fine linen mitre, and a girdle of embroidered work.
For in the priestly robe which he wore, was the whole world: and in the four rows of the stones the glory of the fathers was graven, and thy majesty was written upon the diadem of his head.
And he girded him about with a glorious girdle, and clothed him with a robe of glory, and crowned him with majestic attire.
1 Machabees 10:20
Now therefore we make thee this day high priest of thy nation, and that thou be called the king's friend, (and he sent him a purple robe, and a crown of gold,) and that thou be of one mind with us in our affairs, and keep friendship with us.
And he took his ring from his own hand, and gave it into his hand: and he put upon him a robe of silk, and put a chain of gold about his neck.
All for the glory of God!
@DetDan: Only to perverts, everything and everyone is gay. Pathetic.
I have one question.
Why do they call it St. Peter's "Square". Always looked kinda roundish ta me. Those Eye-tallians. Go figure.
The Bernini Colonnade is gorgeous.
Sitting outside on a sunny day, on a throne. Now THAT'S a nice job.
Seems rather self-aggrandizing of the church.
I'm appalled at the catholicssss for honoring such scccuuum. The destructionnnn to children's live's. That's what CNN ought to be covering.
Pete, CNN is too busy covering crimes done by your secular countrymen. They never have enough space or time for those.
Thank you, Pope Benedict XVI for your homily of remembrances of our Pope John Paul II and for carrying us forward in Faith.
of course you can believe, what ever you want, because we live in a free world (thank God!). But have you ever made some research about ecclesiastical history? The rejection of papacy by Protestants is not only an issue of the Middle Ages, but still an issue of today, because the Vatican has not developed, but has become worse. In a roundabout way the pope still claimes that he is God. Dr. Martin Luther proved it and the proof is still valid even nowadays. Check it out, and become an advanced Christian.
Wish you well,
Of course, you may believe as you wish also. You are correct in that heresies have as-saulted the Catholic Church from the very beginning; it is the work of satan. My favorite sources of Truth are found in the earliest writings of Church Fathers and Doctors, and the Catholic Encyclopedia and Catholic Catechism, and of course, the Bible…. not Glaube, Nachfolge und Gnade.
Rainer and catholic mom..come on know you two. play nice..or we will have to take your god away. The beliefs you have today all came from your pagan ancestors anyway so enjoy your myth in peace or Thor will be upset...
The pope believes he is God? Man that's looney. You haven't read any of Benedicts or JPII's works quite clearly.
Rainer, your advanced Christianity still clings to sola scriptura even though it is nowhere stated in the Bible and faith alone even though the word faith is used 300 times in the NT but only once is it paired with the word alone. That passages, Ja 2:24 doesn't help protestants much.
Hey Catholicmom, still running around deceiving others? You're a priests and want to pretend moms really give a damnnnn. Fact is, you're no longer believable. Moms don't like their kids around this religion. Enough children's lives have been ruined.
I am sorry you feel that moms don’t care; did you have a mom who didn’t care about your well being? I hope not.
CatholicMom, I'm not Catholic and a mother, but I know enough how good some of you are. I read on Catholic saints and those are good next to the Bible. Only ignorants spew ignorance against the Catholic Church.
You priests are sick with your behavior.
Pete, you old broad brusher you. Don't want to leave us guessing at your prejudices do ya. God bless ya Pete.
Praise God for the life of JP II!
I guess the USA has a problem even bigger than the financial crisis: The USA doesn't realize the danger of papacy.
Coming from someone who believe that benedcit XVI thinks he is God, I bet you believe black helicopters are swirling around the white house at this minute. Have to say your views on Catholicism are just not credible because your not rational.
The danger of the Papacy? The papacy was dangerous during the reformation, sure, but, definitely not today. The Papacy is the only thing that kept the Church unified during the first 1500 years after Christ. Since the Reformation how organized has the body of Christ been? Jesus instilled the papacy so that we may be one just as he with the Father. Study scripture and really discern the mystery of our faith and of Jesus and maybe you can understand the primacy of the Papacy and why it is so crucial to our Faith. I'll pray for you, brother.
How much does the Vatican pay for CNN's promotion???
Vatican pay CNN? You haven't been reading the articles on here much apparently. They simply reported the Pope's homily which Catholics would be interested in even if you aren't. I guess you don't think Catholics should get news they are interested in.
They should be covering the worst crimes against humanity committed by the pope and John Paul, demanded cover ups of child abuse and threats to small children. How putrid these two.
@Rainer: This is an incident that affect 3 billion people. It's a news. @Pete: Catholics terminated killing and abusing children all over the world, providing barbarians a proper education. Get some education yourself, please. Average households in your own country are a lot more dangerous, guilty places.
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.