Friday, July 5, 2013

Two new saints

This is not a post about football. Let's get that out of the way first. If you are ever in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin, you might want to stop by the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist. It is a beautiful church and has statues of two people in the news today.

The New York Times has the story that Pope Francis has named two new saints. One of them, Pope John-Paul II, was expected. The other, Pope John XXIII, is something of a surprise as only one miracle has been attributed to him. Normally a person needs two miracles attributed to them to become a saint. However, the Times reports that Pope Francis waived the two miracle requirement for Pope John. I did not realize this requirement could be waived. But I guess rules are made to be broken.
Speaking of breaking rules, Pope John XXIII is best known for calling the Second Vatican Council.  Among other things, that Council is where the requirement that the Mass be said in Latin was dropped and the use of the vernacular (the local language of a parish) was allowed. A lesser-known fact is that, based on the fact that the statue at Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist is life-size, Pope John XXIII was very short. I'm not sure how much weight Pope Francis gave to the height issue.

Pope John-Paul II had such a long tenure as Pope that the men who preceded him in the position tend to get overlooked by people. Maybe the news today will remind people about John XXIII and the gigantic steps he took to make the Mass understandable to everyone.

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