VATICAN CITY, JAN. 14, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Here is an excerpt of the decree written by the Congregation for Saints’ Causes regarding the beatification of Servant of God John Paul II, published today by Vatican Radio. The prefect of the saints’ causes dicastery is Cardinal Angelo Amato.
The full text can be found on ZENIT’s Web page: www.zenit.org/article-31459?l=english
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Beatification: Sign of the depth of faith and invitation to a fully Christian life
The proclamation of a Saint or of a Blessed by the Church is the fruit of putting together various aspects regarding a specific Person. First, it is an act which says something important in the life of the Church herself. It is linked to a “cult,” i.e. to the memory of the person, to his full acknowledgment of him in the awareness of the ecclesial community, of the country, of the Universal Church in various countries, continents and cultures. Another aspect is the awareness that the “presentation on the altars” will be an important sign of the depth of the faith, of the diffusion of faith in the path of life of that person, and that this sign will become an invitation, a stimulus for us all towards a Christian life ever more profound and full. Finally, thesine qua non condition is the holiness of the person’s life, verified during the precise and formal canonical proceedings. All this provides the material for the decision of the Successor of Peter, of the Pope in view of the proclamation of a Blessed or of a Saint, of the cult in the context of the ecclesial community and of its liturgy.
John Paul II’s pontificate was an eloquent and clear sign, not only for Catholics, but also for world public opinion, for people of all color and creed. The world’s reaction to his lifestyle, to the development of his apostolic mission, to the way he bore his suffering, to the decision to continue his Petrine mission to the end as willed by divine Providence, and finally, the reaction to his death, the popularity of the acclamation “Saint right now!” which someone made on the day of his funerals, all this has its solid foundation in the experience of having met with the person who was the Pope. The faithful have felt, have experienced that he is “God’s man,” who really sees the concrete steps and the mechanisms of contemporary world “in God,” in God’s perspective, with the eyes of a mystic who looks up to God only. He was clearly a man of prayer: so much so that it is from the dynamism of his personal union with God, from the permanent listening to what God wants to say in a concrete situation, that the whole of “Pope John Paul II’s activity” flowed. Those who were closest to him have been able to see that, prior to his meetings with his guests, with Heads of State, with Church high officials or ordinary citizens, John Paul II would recollect himself in prayer according to the intentions of the guests and of the meeting that was to come.
1. Karol Wojtyla’s contribution to Vatican II Council
After Vatican II, during the pontificates of Paul VI and of John Paul II, the manner of presentation, and thus of self-presentation of the papacy, has become quite expressive. On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the pontificate of John Paul II, the Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs published in 2004 a book entitled “Go Forth in the Whole World.” Giancarlo Zizola, a “vaticanist,” remarked on the fact that “the papacy has conquered its citizenship in the realm of public visibility, breaking away from the siege of worship marginalisation where it had been kept by decree of secular society, in the name of a militant vision of the liberal tenet of Separation of Church and State” (p. 17). A German historian, Jesuit Klaus Schatz, speaking of Paul VI and of John Paul II, underlined the meaning of the “papacy on the way” — thus in conformity with Vatican II — more in the manner of a missionary movement than as a static pole of unity. Schatz refers to the manner of interpreting the papal mission as a challenge to “confirm the brothers in the faith” (Luke 22:32), in a way tied to structural authority, but with a strong spiritual and charismatic hint, in link with the personal credibility and rooted in God himself.
Let us pause a moment to consider Vatican II. The young archbishop of Cracow was one of the most active Council Fathers. He made a significant contribution to the “Scheme XIII” which was to become the Pastoral Constitution of the Council “Gaudium et Spes” on the Church in the Modern World, and to the Dogmatic Constitution “Lumen Gentium.” Thanks to his studies abroad, bishop Wojtyla had a concrete experience of evangelisation and of the mission of the Church, in Western Europe or in other continents, but above all of totalitarian atheism in Poland and in the other countries of the “Soviet Block.” He brought all this experience to the Council debates, which were certainly not like drawing-room conversations, extremely courteous but void of contents. Here was a substantial and decisive effort to insert the Gospel’s dynamism into the conciliar enthusiasm rooted on the conviction that Christianity is capable of furnishing a “soul” to the development of modernity and to the reality of the social and cultural world.
All this was to be of use in preparing for the future responsibilities of the Successor of Peter. As John Paul II said, he already had in his mind his first encyclical, “Redemptor Hominis,” and brought it to Rome from Cracow. All he had to do in Rome was to write down all these ideas. In this encyclical, there is a wide invitation to humankind to rediscover the reality of Redemption in Christ: “Man (…) remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in it. This, as has already been said, is why Christ the Redeemer ‘fully reveals man to himself.’ […] man finds again the greatness, dignity and value that belong to his humanity. In the mystery of the Redemption man becomes newly ‘expressed’ and, in a way, is newly created. […] The man who wishes to understand himself thoroughly — and not just in accordance with immediate, partial, often superficial, and even illusory standards and measures of his being — he must with his unrest, uncertainty and even his weakness and sinfulness, with his life and death, draw near to Christ. He must, so to speak, enter into him with all his own self, he must ‘appropriate’ and assimilate the whole of the reality of the Incarnation and Redemption in order to find himself (No. 10). […]
“This union of Christ with man is in itself a mystery. From the mystery is born ‘the new man,’ called to become a partaker of God’s life, and newly created in Christ for the fullness of grace and truth. […] Man is transformed inwardly by this power as the source of a new life that does not disappear and pass away but lasts to eternal life. […] This life, which the Father has promised and offered to each man in Jesus Christ (…) is in a way the fulfilment of the ‘destiny’ that God has prepared for him from eternity. This ‘divine destiny’ is advancing, in spite of all the enigmas, the unsolved riddles, the twists and turns of ‘human destiny’ in the world of time. Indeed, while all this, in spite of all the riches of life in time, necessarily and inevitably leads to the frontier of death and the goal of the destruction of the human body, beyond that goal we see Christ. ‘I am the resurrection and the life, he who believes in me … shall never die'” (No. 18).
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On ZENIT’s Web page:
Full text of decree: www.zenit.org/article-31459?l=english