Category Archives: Roman Catholicism

Addendum to Pope John Paul II: Saint or Sinner? Part 1: What Is a Saint?



Addendum to Part 1: What Is a Saint?

I did not intend to wait so long before returning to my series on sainthood that I began in my first blog post back in the fall, but several things demanded my blog’s attention  (such as the Red Sox winning the 2013 World Series and the Killing series of books). However, before I move on to Part 2 to consider what the Roman Catholic Church (hereafter RCC) says about miracles in relation to sainthood, I want to respond to a couple of comments on the first blog.

First, someone named Mary Graham said the following about the first blog:

“Your patent anti-Catholic bigotry is surpassed only by your lack of knowledge of Catholic religious practices. Whether this is sheer ignorance or willful misrepresentation I cannot say. I can say, unequivocally, that this falls precisely into the category of fundamentalism that Professor Crossan warns against.

I must point out that it is easy to say that I have a “lack of knowledge of Catholic religious practices,” but it would have been more appropriate and helpful if Mary had given specific examples. Even more to the point, I invite Mary or anyone else to point out what mistakes I made in the blog. I was very careful in documenting what I said, much of it coming from Catholic websites listed at the end of the blog. I can’t help but wonder if Mary really understands her own religion since she is charging me with errors about Catholic teachings that I documented straight from Vatican and other Catholic sources.

Even more disturbing is Mary’s inclusion of a link to a youtube video in which Catholic professor John Dominic Crossan describes (or attempts to describe) fundamentalism.

Continue reading Addendum to Pope John Paul II: Saint or Sinner? Part 1: What Is a Saint?

Pope John Paul II: Saint or Sinner?



Part 1: What Is a Saint?

On July 5, 2013, the Vatican announced that Pope Francis had conferred sainthood upon Pope John Paul II (reigned 1978–2005). The Roman Catholic Church (hereafter RCC) has various criteria that must be met before the Pope will confer sainthood upon someone, and not all potential candidates receive it. This practice of the RCC began in the year 993, and the present process (called canonization) was not in place until the twelfth century. The RCC now considers over 10,000 men and women of the past to be “saints.”

I explain what the Bible says about saints below. But for now let’s examine the RCC’s teaching on how a person becomes a saint and what that means to a Catholic. The RCC has several requirements that must be met before sainthood is conferred upon him or her, and Saint is the last of four official titles the Pope confers upon those deemed worthy. But even before one can receive consideration, he or she must have been dead at least five years—although the Pope can wave this criterion if he wishes, as Pope John Paul II did for Mother Teresa in 1999 less than two years after her death. (As of this date, Mother Teresa is Blessed but not a Saint; see below.) Further, the process does not begin until a group of Catholics send their Bishop an official request that someone be considered for sainthood—although, as always, the Pope can bypass this step if he wishes.

Once a Bishop receives a request for consideration, he must review it and, if impressed by the candidate’s piety, he then sends it to the Vatican for the Pope’s personal analysis. If the Pope finds the person worthy, he declares the title Servant of God upon that person. The Pope can then confer a second title, Venerable, upon that person followed by a third title, Blessed, if he considers the person worthy of those titles as well.

Continue reading Pope John Paul II: Saint or Sinner?