Mexico Already Considers Juan Diego a Saint

Cardinal Rivera Carrera Talks of Upcoming Canonization

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MEXICO CITY, MARCH 6, 2002 (ZENIT.orgFides).- John Paul II´s canonization of Guadalupe visionary Juan Diego on July 30 in Mexico could draw 5 million people. To put the event in context, the Vatican agency Fides spoke with Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, archbishop of Mexico.

The cardinal recalled that «Pope John Paul II began his pontificate at the feet of Our Lady of Guadalupe» and that on his fifth visit to Mexico he will bring a gift most awaited by Mexicans.

Q: What does the canonization of Juan Diego [1474-1548] mean to Mexicans?

Cardinal Rivera Carrera: For most people he is already a saint. But for all of us it is most important that the highest Church authority should proclaim his sainthood, especially at the present time.

The spreading of the Gospel in Mexico was accompanied by the Virgin of Guadalupe and her spokesman Juan Diego, who spent the years after the apparitions proclaiming what he had seen and heard. It is very important for the plan of evangelization in America that this is recognized.

Q: What does it mean to you personally, Your Eminence?

Cardinal Rivera Carrera: I am very happy because light has been shed on many things that were uncertain or were part of the faith of the people. Recent documents confirm not only the existence of Juan Diego but also his fame of holiness.

This is a source of great satisfaction for me because, since the beatification, we have acquired more information. Besides Juan Diego there have been other people whom the people claim are saints and they want the Church to recognize. I refer to [Bishop] Juan de Zumárraga.

Q: Can anyone still doubt the existence Juan Diego?

Cardinal Rivera Carrera: No one of sound judgment can doubt the existence of Juan Diego because it is proved by a lot of information — for example, a document regarding an investigation carried out in 1666 among people who knew Juan Diego or lived at the same time. These people confirmed that Juan Diego existed and was known for his outstanding holiness.

Another decisive element is the recent discovery of the original Escalada Codex of which up to now there existed only copies.

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