One of our new Beati: Blessed Joan of Jesus, OCD
Today two great events are happening in the Church - opportunities to celebrate. First the Holy Father is renewing the consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Rome - the statue of Our Lady of Fatima has been brought over from the Portugal for the event. I hope this renewal will bring many blessings and graces. Following the definitive consecration in 1984 we saw the gradual dismantling of the Iron Curtain and the fall of communism in many countries, most notably Russia. It is to be noted that first real swipe was in Poland, Blessed John Paul II's home country - the first domino to fall.
Also in Spain, 522 martyrs are to be beatified today, among them eleven of our friars: from Lleida four friars: the Venerables Joan of Jesus, Bartomeu of the Passion, Silveri of St Aloysius Gonzaga and Francesc of the Assumption, together with Francesc's brother, the Venerable Pau Segala Sole, a diocesan priest. From Tarragona seven friars: the Venerables Vicente de la Cruz, Elipio of St Rose, Pedro of St Elias, Angel of St Joseph, Carlos of Jesus Maria, Jose Cecilio of Jesus Maria and Damian of the Most Holy Trinity. Four Carmelite Brothers from a congregation founded by one of our friars, Blessed Francis Palau, the Tertiary Carmelites of Education, will also be beatified: the Venerables Julio Alameda Cameraro, Luis Domingo Oliva, Isidro Tarsa Guibets and Buenaventura Toldra. That congregation has since been integrated into the Discalced friars. Friars from the Carmelites Ancient Observance are also being beatified in the same group: the Venerable Alberto Maria Aleman, O Carm, priest and eight young Carmelite brothers in formation, and the Venerable Carmelo Moyano Linares, O Carm, priest and nine companions - Carmelite priests, clerics and postulants. So both branches of the Carmeite Order have reason to celebrate today.
I also note that last week Pope Francis canonised the Franciscan Secular Order mystic, Angela of Foligno by equivalence. Another great Saint, so great news. The Holy Father is certain going at saint-making with hammer and tongs. In his short pontificate so far he used Papal privilege twice, dispensing with the need for a miracle for canonisation in the case of Angela and John XXIII, and I believe he will also do so for his fellow Jesuit, Blessed Peter Fabre. Benedict used the privilege once, I believe, to canonised St Hildegard, and I think Blessed John Paul also only used it once to canonise St Maximilian Kolbe. There are rumours that Francis may use it again for Pius XII, dispensing with miracles and beatification and going straight to canonisation. If he did so it could raise a rumpus, although I think he might be the one who would actually get away with it. He certainly loves his Saints does our Holy Father!
While I love new Saints, as you all know, I do think equivalence and dispensations kept to a minimum and the norms and process adhered to strictly. One of the accusations often thrown at the Church when it comes to Saints is that is a purely political process and popes canonise their own cronies for ideological reasons. The requirement for bona fide miracles knocks that accusation on the head. As regards the time taken to process a Cause, well the quicker the better. I'm not one of these who thinks every Cause should be left for fifty year before even looking at it: if the work is done quickly and it is done right and in accordance with the canonical legislation, and there is a miracle, why wait?
All that said we delight in the canonisation of St Angela and offer congratulations to the Franciscans. And if he is so inclined, I might have a few candidates for the Holy Father - our own Matt Talbot, Fr Willie Doyle (he would have to dispense with the need for process there since the Jesuits have not decided to open a Cause there yet) and we have a lady, a member of our Fraternity, who was known for her holiness; we'd be delighted if the Holy Father would give us our first Saint!
Have a good Sunday.