|Pope Paul VI|
I have a hard time considering Pope Paul VI a saint. One good document, Humanae Vitae, published rather late into the push for approving contraception, does not a saint make, does it?
But must I call Pope Paul VI a saint? After reading Peter Kwasniewdki's article, Why We Need Not (and Should Not) Call Paul VI ‘Saint’, I think the answer is no. As he says, "The infallibility of canonizations is not taught by the Church, nor is it necessarily implied by any de fide doctrine of the Faith." He went on:
Catholics are therefore not required to believe it as a matter of faith and may even, for serious reasons, doubt or question the truthfulness of a certain canonization. This conclusion is rigorously established and defended in John Lamont’s “The Authority of Canonisations” (Rorate Caeli, August 24, 2018), which, in my opinion, is the best treatment of the subject yet published and well worth reading in full, especially by those who are troubled in conscience about this question .I recommend the entire article which makes some excellent points.
But that's a diversion from my main point.
Back to those two phrases which invited me to reflect on the current state of affairs in the Church. We face a deepening "twilight" as the Body of Christ moves forward in a dark and glowering civilization almost devoid of light. (Thank God for the grace-filled points of light in our baptized and innocent children!) As our civilization sinks into darkness, the Church is oppressed by "auto-demolition" with many Judases in her midst set on destruction from within Holy Mother Church herself. The Amazon Synod and the current "synodal path" of the Church in Germany are just two alarming examples tempting one to hand-wringing despair. Some suggest that the end is near -- that we are about to face a Sodom and Gomorrah moment.
Are we in the end of the end times? Will we see the implementation of the Akita warning -- fire falling from the sky? Is the coronavirus the fulfillment of Revelation 6, the "sickly green" horse with its rider, Death, "given authority over one quarter of the earth, to kill with sword and famine and plague?"
I'm no prophet and I'm not an alarmist either. I embrace Padre Pio's motto, "Pray, hope, and don't worry!" Prudence is a necessary virtue, but some things, accidents for example, are beyond prudence. The big question for me at present isn't whether all the post Vatican II popes should have been canonized. (What was the rush after all, unless it was to canonize everything coming out of the Council?) No, the big question is how one responds to the growing darkness of the "twilight of Christian civilization" and the "auto-demolition" of the Church. We are, indeed, in crisis as a number of high level clerics are pointing out. Is this the end times? And if it is, what is the poor little Catholic in the pew, trying to be faithful, to do? Now that is a question worth pondering. I think the answer is the age old one: pray, fast, hope, love, and don't worry!