Saturday, 19 December 2009

Two Venerable Popes and a Martyr

A decree issued today by the papal offices has declared Popes Pius XII and John Paul II to be venerable. The bestowing of this title is a confirmation of their exemplary life and a step towards beatification and perhaps ultimately sanctification. For the cause of Pope John Paul II the miracle cure of a French nun is under investigation.

The decree is not unexpected in the cause of John Paul II. At his funeral there were calls for 'Santo subito'(Saint now) and rumours of this declaration of venerability have been growing these past days. Similarly, rumours continue that his beatification will happen sometime next year, either on the anniversary of his death (2 April) or the start of his papacy (15 October).

Pope Pius XII's papacy ran from 1939 to 1958 and his cause has long been slowed down by of accusations of his alleged lack of actions against the Holocaust. Much can be said about this and against the majority of the accusations, but evidently the decision has been made to recognise Pius XII's heroic virtues.

Officially, the two popes must now be referred to as Venerable Pope Pius XII and Venerable Pope John Paul II.

The same decree also affirms the martyrdom of Fr. Jerzy Popiełuszko, a Polish priest who was murdered by the Polish Security Police in 1984 for his role in the anti-communist workers movement in Warsaw. Fr. Popiełuszko was a young priest (only 37 at the time of his death) who supported the striking steel workers in Warsaw and then became an inspiration, both spiritually and politically for the fledgling Solidarność union. Eleven days after his murder, the body of Fr. Popiełuszko was found in a reservoir. He is buried in front of his church in Warsaw.

(reposted from There was a boy...)

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