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The Pope: Sanctity and the Masses



     The Economist, usually incurious about religion, devotes a long article (4/22/00) to saints and miracles. In olden days, miracles were often invented to justify canonization. Now the Church has decanonized many saints and has made the verification of miracles a very exacting business. The Pope seems to be following the advice of Paul Molinari, Postulator General of the Jesuit Order, who proposes that an exemplary life, rather than miracles, be the criterion for canonization.
     This has allowed him to canonize 296 individuals already, with more to come, far more than any previous pope. We would like to have a breakdown by country to correlate the number of canonizations with his trips abroad. Thus in the case of Mexico he has been deaf to Mexican demands for the canonization of Juan Diego, whose existence is doubtful, but he has offset this by creating a host of Mexican saints.
     This has endeared him to the common people, who also appreciate his demands for better conditions for them. He has for the first time celebrated a mass on May Day with the participation of labor unions. His message is essentially Christian Socialism, at odds with US-style capitalism, which now faces a holy enemy with a number of soldiers which would have impressed even Stalin..

Ronald Hilton - 5/1/00


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