“Bring the heaven and the stars down to work for me …”
It has been an interesting past few days. So much so, that I had to let my brain calm down in order to not speak the wrong words at the wrong time.
Suffice to say that … I know who I am in the grand scheme of things. And that I am powerless over people, namely, my friends, or men whom I call my friends. And after this weekend, I’m not really sure about that.
The time is coming that a decision is on the front page. One that I don’t really want nor need to make right now, unless circumstances change between now and then.
I am reading a book on Catherine of Sienna. A kind of hagiography. The man who read it before me, didn’t get a thing from the book, and all he did when he gave it to me was complain. That’s another story for farther down the page …
But I did come across this and it hit me right over the head.
“You know that a person who walks with a lamp at night doesn’t stumble. Souls who have God as their lamp cannot stumble either. They open the eye of their understanding and reason to see which road this gentle Master took. And once they have seen it, because of their will and desire to follow their Master, they run attentively and eagerly. They don’t stop to look back – at themselves, I mean.
They see themselves well enough where knowledge of their sins and failings is concerned, and admit of themselves that they are nothing. And at the same time, they recognize in themselves the immeasurable goodness of God, who has given them what ever being they have.”
Catherine goes on to say about an inner dialogue she had with god is this …
“You are she who is not, and I am he who is…”
Thomas Aquinas writes that “God is pure being – God simply Is. All the rest of creation takes its being from God but does not possess being in the same way God does. Everything and everyone else “is not” until God intervenes.”
I’m not sure why that passage impacted me so much when I first read it, for that very same reason, I had to note it.
I am not sure my fellows really know who I am, and why I am who I am and why I do the things I do. In a certain community, these men have twenty or thirty years on me age wise, and all they do is complain. And over and over, coming rote nowadays, is the part of the prayer that speaks of “Tolerance for those with different struggles!”
The Old Gay Men Group is totally working my Very Last Good Gay Nerve !!!
I have to remember this when I want to run my mouth and rant and rave, just like I really wanted to a couple of days ago. And who wants to read a missive of verbal diarrhea.
So that is a thing.
Our friend “Baby MAMA” texted us very early this morning, before the sun came up that she was in the hospital and that the baby was on the way. We have been texting New Foundland several times throughout the day waiting.
And at the meeting this evening a friend said “Let he be, it’s not like she is sitting on her bed with her phone in her hand waiting to text you she is getting ready to push a watermelon through a pea hole. Let her be for God’s sake.
We talked about the “Coming of faith.” And several of us said those very familiar words … We come, then we Come To, and finally we Come To Believe.
I’ve been worried about a certain issue that has been dogging me for the past ten years, Thank God for Gay Rights moving across the U.S. on the state and even on the Federal level. I had a question that needed answering, and I could not find an open office on the East coast, they all close at 3 p.m. WTF ???
So I called a number in Minot South Dakota and found a man who spoke truth to me and I could hear it in his voice, the tone and tenor … “Tell the Truth.”
That was the end of the conversation. I made a second call this morning and asked a related question, and the answer came easily, “no problem, it makes no difference in your qualifications.” That was a load off my back.
That brings us up to today.
The sun shone, it was really hot. Perfect traveling weather. We have been a very warm stretch. The A.C. is a real gift.
More to come, stay tuned …
By Philip Pullella and James Mackenzie
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis proclaimed his predecessors John XXIII and John Paul II saints in front of more than half a million pilgrims on Sunday, hailing both as courageous men who withstood the tragedies of the 20th century.
Cheers and applause rang out across St Peter’s Square after the historic double papal canonization as many in the crowd fixed their gaze on huge tapestries of the two popes on the facade of the basilica behind Francis.
“We declare and define Blessed John XXIII and John Paul II to be saints and we enrol them among the saints, decreeing that they are to be venerated as such by the whole Church,” Francis said in his formal proclamation in Latin.
Relics of each man – a container of blood from John Paul II and skin from John XXIII – were placed near the altar.
The fact that the two being canonized are widely seen as representing contrasting faces of the Church has added to the significance of an event that Francis hopes will draw the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics closer together after a string of sex abuse and financial scandals.
The crowd stretched back along Via della Conciliazione, the broad, half-kilometer boulevard that starts at the Tiber River.
The Mass was also attended by former Pope Benedict, who last year became the first pontiff in six centuries to step down.
His attendance gave the ceremony a somewhat surreal atmosphere created by the presence of reigning pope, a retired pope and two dead popes buried in the basilica. Francis went over to greet Benedict twice during the service.
A TRAGIC CENTURY
“These were two men of courage … and they bore witness before the Church and the world to God’s goodness and mercy,” Francis said in his address.
“They lived through the tragic events of that (20th) century, but they were not overwhelmed by them. For them, God was more powerful; faith was more powerful,” he added.
John XXIII, who reigned from 1958 to 1963 and called the modernizing Second Vatican Council, lived through both world wars.
John Paul II, the Pole who reigned for nearly 27 years, witnessed the devastation of his homeland in World War Two and is credited by many with helping end the Cold War and bring down communism.
While both men were widely revered, there has also been criticism that John Paul II, who died just nine years ago, has been canonized too quickly.
Groups representing victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests also say he did not do enough to root out a scandal that emerged towards the end of his pontificate and which has hung over the church ever since.
The controversy did nothing to put off the rivers of Catholic faithful.
“I think that they were two great people, each of them had their own particular character, so they deserve what is happening,” said Leonardo Ruino, who came from Argentina.
The Vatican said more than 500,000 people filled the basilica area while another 300,000 watched the event on large television screens throughout Rome.
The overwhelming majority in the crowd were Poles who had travelled from their home country and immigrant communities as far afield as Chicago and Sydney to watch their most famous native son become a saint.
“THE ENDS OF THE EARTH”
Hundreds of red and white Polish flags filled the square and the streets surrounding the Vatican, which were strewn with sleeping bags, backpacks and folding chairs.
“For years Pope John Paul II took the Church to the ends of the earth and today the ends of the earth have come back here,” said Father Tom Rosica, head of Canada’s Salt and Light Catholic television network.
Families and other pilgrims had waited for more than 12 hours along the main street leading to the Vatican before police opened up the square at 5:30 a.m.
Some people said they had managed to sleep on their feet because the crowd was so thick.
About 850 cardinals and bishops celebrated the Mass with the pope and 700 priests were on hand to distribute communion to the huge crowd.
About 10,000 police and security personnel and special paramedic teams were deployed and large areas of Rome were closed to traffic.
John, an Italian often known as the “Good Pope” because of his friendly, open personality, died before the Second Vatican Council ended its work in 1965 but his initiative set off one of the greatest upheavals in Church teaching in modern times.
The Council ended the use of Latin at Mass, brought in the use of modern music and opened the way for challenges to Vatican authority, which alienated some traditionalists.
John Paul continued many of the reforms but tightened central control, condemned theological renegades and preached a stricter line on social issues such as sexual freedom.
A charismatic, dominant pope, he was criticized by some as a rigid conservative but the adoration he inspired was shown by the huge crowds whose chants of “santo subito!” (make him a saint at once!) at his funeral 2005 were answered with the fastest declaration of sainthood in modern history.
(Additional reporting by Antonio Denti; Editing by Andrew Roche and Andrew Heavens)
A friend grew up on a farm, long ago. Living, farming and planting like a real farmer, but we are not made farmers, for some, we are born farmers. With a temperament to match.
So the story goes, a young man worked a plot of land, which had to be planted in a certain time frame, for harvesting reasons, it all had to go smoothly. And when does anything go real smoothly??? Anyways, after breakdowns and farm related issues, the field got planted. And the waiting started, and prayers for rain …
well, it rained,
AND RAINED !!!!
That hard fought planted farm was flooded and all the seed was lost.
Now, how do you think the son reacted?
He went into a rage at the loss of all that work.
The farmer on the other hand, replied … “Well, tomorrow is another day !”
Some of us are farmers and others are clearly not …
End of story.
The day was warm, and I was out uber early because one of my readers wanted to talk about the blog, so I got there earlier than I ever have gotten to the meeting. The church was open and people were streaming in and out, and I noted that parking tonight was gonna be tight.
I made all my connections quickly, no waiting on either trip.
The more I invest in this Friday meeting the more I love the people in it. It is just a super way to end the week. With good, honest and loving folks around a table who enlighten each other as the reading is shared.
It is one thing to read from the book ourselves. And then process what we just read. On the other hand, when a book is read “in company”
You not only get what’s in your head, but what everybody else thinks or feels about a specific reading for the night.
I’m seriously pondering taking my cake at the Friday Meeting in December. It is just the “right” space.
As usual we read from As Bill Sees It and “Worshipers All.”
“We found that we had indeed been worshipers. What a state of mental goose flesh that used to bring on! Had we not variously worshiped people, sentiment, things, money and ourselves…?
… It was impossible to say we had no capacity for faith, love, or worship. In one form or another, we had been living by faith and little else.”
Our folks are having hard times. And the drink has been closer for some in recent days as it was when they were actively drinking. But our men and women are sober tonight. But for the Grace of God.
Where does your mind go when you read or hear the word Worship?
Society round the world lives on the worship of celebrity, gossip and hardships. You can’t go a day without seeing something on the wire about a celebrity this, or celebrity that, these ones are divorcing, and that one has an addiction, and this celebrity is DEAD !
I share stories here about people, real people, and some are celebrities, and some are Royals, but I try to stay away from gossip and negativity. The two topics you should stay away from in conversation … Religion and Politics.
I can’t say I follow those words.
My Higher Power, whom I chose to call GOD, is still sending messages. it seems they are all pointed in the same direction beckoning me to a location that I have been avoiding for a while.
A few days ago it was the Tabernacle the got my attention.
Tonight, it was Worship.
From your first click here, we are in worship mode.
Pope Francis has made it much easier to see myself back in a Catholic Church.
And why don’t we start there.
I spent 1986-1987 in a Catholic Seminary. A year that changed my life in many ways. I learned to pray, I learned about worship, I learned about others.
And their secrets …
At the end of that year, I was not asked to return for a second, I felt God had dropped me. But that wasn’t the end of God. But it did bring on the demon of alcoholism in a very bad way.
I gained employment at a Travel Agency owned by a friends mother. It was a really good job. Making a lot of money, and I ended up as manager. There was a catch. We served alcohol to clients who came to visit. (In those days you had clients who traveled and came to consult, get advice and tickets).
None of this point and click internet travel.
While there my boss, the man who was the consummate man took me on a whirl wind trip to Europe. Something every kid would kill to do, on free passes from Pan Am Airlines.
I was not sober the whole voyage. I was mostly drunk. And it was not pretty. I made a true ass of myself in public and turned pleasant day trips into the realm of hell, because I could not hold my alcohol. (AT ALL!!!)
The one stop I was sober, But for the Grace of God was ROME.
When we speak of worship, you think / I think, churches.
Well, I hit the mother lode in Rome. That day we toured the Colosseum and the city, and finally we walked into St. Peter’s Square. It is immense. The Vatican is an immense building. I have a solitary picture in my breviary of the Pieta. The statue carved my Michelangelo Buonarroti.
We toured the catacombs and the many Popes buried there. And we climbed the single staircase that brought us to the Coppola of the Dome of St. Peter’s Basilica. I stood there looking down on the Papal Gardens.
I don’t know if you can do that portion of the tour in today’s day and age.
Back in the Vatican, I attended mass in the church. It was grandiose.
I had been to, and worshiped in, the seat of the Catholic Church.
It was the most sober I was on that two week journey.
Throughout my life, I have worshiped. I have toms of memories of holidays in church, and Sunday after Sunday masses. There is something to be said about gay men and the church. My mentor and best friend, now priest in the Anglican Church wrote several books on saints and devotions from a gay perspective.
You can see here, my devotions.
During my university time, studying world religions, I had the opportunity to visit all the major religious observances, from Shul in the McGill Ghetto, to Friday Prayers at the University Prayer space, to mass on Sundays at the Concordia Chapel on the West End.
Montreal is the home to many churches, religious orders, and religious people, and saints. On the mountain sits St. Joseph’s Oratory, in Old Montreal we have Notre Dame Cathedral, and downtown we have St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Take your pick, it would take you years to visit every church on the island of Montreal.
As a young man, a boy really, I worshiped the ground that my grandmother(s) walked on. Saintly women who gave me all they had, in the little time I had before they were taken from me by catastrophic strokes and by a father who was jealous that they were keeping alive a little boy he wanted to see dead.
Little by slowly, all that I knew was removed from my life by my father who alienated every family member from my life because of his alcoholism and jealousy.
All I have is their memories. I even Googled old homes in the places where they lived and found that even the houses are no longer standing. Sad, very sad.
You never know when God is going to pull your card and life is over.
It wasn’t until my mortality stood before me in stark relief that I began to pray.
But all those prayers said for me as a child did not go to waste.
There are a reason I lived. Maybe it was because I got sober, once! And maybe it was because Todd took me in and saved my life, and maybe it was just God.
A few years after I was diagnosed I was in mass at my old home parish in Miami. And that Sunday, a young priest came in the processional. But he wasn’t walking. He was on crutches. He said mass, and I swore that day that I would never complain about my life ever again.
I had to meet this man. And so I did. He became my Spiritual Adviser. And he gave me a couple of Books that I still read today.
No one to call me home by Rev. James J. Close (and)
I heard the Owl call my Name by Margaret Craven
When I need a kick of humility and sacredness I always turn to I heard the Owl Call my name. It is one of my favorite books in my collection.
Fr. Jeff, once told me that I needed worship. That God needed me in Church. And that the people of the community wanted to pray with me. So began a weekly schedule of morning masses, followed by spiritual direction and private prayer.
For the sick and dying, many would never darken the doors of a church because of their infirmity (read: AIDS). The local church had other thoughts about the dying than did Rome of that time.
Yet, to this day I venerate John Paul II – the man, the mystic and Pope. Who will be canonized next April. As well as Mother Teresa and Brother Andre and Mere D’Youville. Not to mention Pope Francis. That man who is on tap to change the face of the church. And much welcomed as well.
I don’t seem to have those issues that pop up in early sobriety for my friends. I was on a totally different page tonight. I knew what I wanted to say, but failed to get them all out, as I was the last to share tonight.
Drunk Worship – Addition late night…
Coming off my slip, I had put down the drugs and moved 1000 miles away from them, never to see them ever again. And I had sober stints during this period, from July 2000 through Sept 11 2001. But after 9-11, we drank and drank and drank. To drown ourselves, to remember, to raise money so forth and so on.
I was by now a binge drinker. I believed or was deluded by youth. I was growing up and getting older, and that was a challenge. I went to “Salvation” every Saturday night, where South Beach Gods went to drink, party, drug and dance.
We’d beach it all week, and what didn’t get tanned would be covered by a turn in a tanning bed in preparation for Saturday night. I was a little slimmer, and not so chunky as I am today.
I would find the smallest t shirt to wear with the tightest jeans. And we would visit the temple and dance. The music would start at midnight, and by 1 a.m. people were well toasted. I worshiped the music, the men and the bottle.
It was at 1 a.m. that they would blast liquid nitrogen to cool the crowd and all the shirts would come off … Oh God it was flesh heaven !
I was begging God to make me young and pretty, pretty enough to become part of a community that I was clearly outside of. And the more I drank, the further I got away from that goal of young and pretty.
The choice of growing up or dying in delusion were very real for me. And I had to make a choice, and sobriety helped a great deal. I could walk away from the bar, knowing there was the rest of my life ahead of me.
In the end I don’t know who took me from the room, who poured me into a taxi and how I got into my building without assistance. I had come to the end of my drinking. The worship of the bottle ended. pure and simple, and by that time I was ready for a return to the rooms, because I had been praying for it …
The rest is history.
Now a days, I’m having this private conversation with God among the people. But it takes all those people to speak in God’s name. You never know when you will hear it and if you aren’t paying attention, you might miss something important.
At the end of the meeting one of our Matriarchs took her Nine Year Chip…
WOO HOO !!! we are very proud of her.
It was a good night.
More to come, stay tuned …
“The way you make people feel says a lot about you.” Jordan Bach
Add another stellar day to the calendar. At the sun’s zenith this afternoon, it was quite steamy out. And the sweaty, dirty, humpy roofer men were up on a second roof just cranking out another new roof.
Several of these men took matters into their own hands as I watched them cut the sleeves off their shirts because it was so steamy up there, out in the sun.
They have another day’s work ahead of them, but the roof is covered and they still have a layer of roofing to put down.
It was a glorious day. I ran some errands, did some supermarket safari this morning after waking in the middle of a very strange dream.
I was on a sinking ship and then found myself in a foreign place, but at the end of the dream, I met up with someone who had been looking for me and knew my name and where I came from … The rest of the dream is gone and I woke up before I could figure out just what was going on.
That’s what usually happens in these technicolor dreams that take place at the very end of a sleep cycle.
I almost went back to bed to see if I could reconnect with the dream and let it play itself out, but that never happens either. Once a dream ends, it is impossible to reconnect to it, later …
I’ve not been able to work that one out.
So I got up – dressed – went to the store – got my laundry money and came home and proceeded to do laundry for the week since we were on our last pairs of underwear in the dresser.
You know its time to do laundry when you run out of clean underwear…
I departed early because I had stops to make on the way and I arrived at the church early and cranked out set up – I had brought a book with me but I was satisfied with listening to music on my phone.
I can’t get enough of Fleetwood Mac.
We sat a full compliment. One of our elder statesmen was in the chair. And he chose to read from Daily Reflections and The Spiritual Angle.
There was a healthy discussion of all things spiritual. From quoting the Big Book and hearing the sainted words of sponsors past, and what each of us has learned about the spiritual path, that is recovery.
One friend has returned to church looking for God, and in that quest to find God, he has a lot of questions. Then he said this … “I’ve never had a spiritual experience of the extraordinary kind, but the educational variety”
And I am half waiting for God to drop out of heaven and tap me on the shoulder and say “Hey, here I am, I wasn’t lost, you were…”
Another member said that if we only took the time to get quiet, and listen for that still small voice, we would make room for God to make His presence known to us.
Tap, Tap, Tap … “This is God, Here I am. I’ve been sitting her waiting for you to find me. All you have to do is look within and notice the breath in your lungs and the life you have – and there I am.”
I’ve lived a long life to this date. And there are many occasions I could tell you about where I saw or felt God’s presence.
The most important spiritual experience, well two of them in fact that happened when I was in seminary and just after I left was when David came to me after he had died.
The first time was the night of his wake – I was there. I returned to the school and went into the chapel to pray. I was alone, and along the back wall of the chapel were confessionals. I heard a door open and footsteps that moved from the back wall to the altar in front of me. The sacrament candle exploded and illuminated the high mural on the back wall above me.
And there was David, standing in front of me wearing my favorite shirt, the one he appeared to me in twice. And he said not to be sad, that he was free.
I have a Miraculous Mary medallion that his mother gave me when he died. I wear it still, to this day. I never leave the house without it.
The second time David appeared was in San Francisco. I had gone on a trip to San Francisco with colleagues. I went on a Mission District tour of an old church. In the graveyard was a life like statue of St. Anthony, our patron saint.
I heard a voice that bade me to follow. So I did. i walked into the church and up to the lectern and a voice said to me “look up …” I looked up and there was David standing on the balcony above the congregation seating.
God exists. And He does great things for us.
When I got sober the first time, God made manifest in the guise of Todd, who became my greatest champion. When I was sick, he took care of me, when I cried, He held me, when I was lost, he found me. And in my worst times, he lifted me up, unlike any other man, IN MY LIFE !!!
I did not die, But I lived.
There is a God.
Over the past almost twelve years, I’ve attended hundreds of meetings in the same space since I got sober. That’s many meetings. That’s hundred of people that have come and gone from those rooms.
If you want to see God – go to a meeting. Participate in someone else’s life. Watch them, over time, get clean and sober.
See the life return, see the light rise in their eyes, and watch THEM find a God of their own understanding, trust me, you WILL see God.
You never know when something you say, may bring God closer to someone than He’s ever been.
I know that this spiritual practice we engage in takes time, and like all things, takes practice, prayer, and patience. I know that after all these years, my spiritual practice has given me words that are not mine at times.
During my days, a multitude of situations may arise. People come into my life right at the right moment, or vice versa, I come into their lives at the right time, because I get to share words with them. I find I have words in my heart that appear when needed and are useful.
Sometimes a kind word comes, a teaching, a lesson from experience, that I get to pass on to someone who might need it. And that has happened in the past few days. On a number of occasions.
When do you pray ???
It depends. It depends on the moment, and what is in front of me. I have friends all over the world by association and in person. Those people I know personally, and those I follow as part of a specific community.
Numerous times a day, someone writes … “Please pray for this or that…”
And momentarily, I stop and I say a prayer. I send light in a specific direction to a particular person. And in the moment I connect with the God of my understanding and WE participate in the life of another, if only for a moment.
Then, at the end of my night, when I sit here and close my day, I recall all those people from the day, and I mention them to God once more, as I give them over for the night into the hands of God.
I’ve learned how to do this over time.
I also realized today after hearing someone mention “church” at the meeting tonight, that he was sitting in Phillips Square … Which is a small square downtown with a statue and several street shops, where people congregate, and across the street from there is Christ Church Cathedral.
And this man walked across the square and went into the church, where he sat down, and eventually knelt to pray. And in that moment, he sat with God.
I realized that yes I go to the Cathedral for services on the odd occasion.
But I miss the sacrament.
I miss the tabernacle and the presence of the Body of Christ in the church.
There are hundreds of churches in this city. Most of them tourist traps. I used to travel to Old Montreal to Notre Dame Cathedral Church/Sacre Coeur to pray before the blessed sacrament. I haven’t done that in a long long time.
But that message made itself perfectly clear to me as I was sitting in a meeting.
Is that ODD or is that GOD ???
I know for me – God exists.
I’ve made space for him in my life.
And that took almost twelve years of sobriety to realize.
And I think I will end on that note.
More to come, stay tuned …
By Philip Pullella – Reuters
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope John Paul II, the globe-trotting pontiff who led the Catholic Church for nearly 27 years, and Pope John XXIII, who called the reforming Second Vatican Council, will be declared saints, the Vatican said on Friday.
The Vatican said Pope Francis had approved a second miracle attributed to John Paul, a Pole who was elected in 1978 as the first non-Italian pope in 450 years and died in 2005. His progression to sainthood is the fastest in modern times.
The Vatican also said Pope John XXIII, who reigned from 1958 to 1963 and called the 1962-1965 Second Vatican Council – which enacted sweeping reforms to modernize the Church – would be made a saint even though he has only been credited with one miracle since his death.
The canonization ceremonies, which are likely to bring hundreds of thousands to people to Rome, are expected this year.
John Paul had already been credited with asking God to cure a French nun of Parkinson’s disease, the same malady he had, before he was beatified in 2011.
Two confirmed miracles are usually required under Vatican rules for the declaration of a saint.
The second miracle attributed to his intercession is the inexplicable curing of a Costa Rican woman who prayed to him for help with her medical condition on the day of his beatification.
In the case of Pope John XXIII, who was known as the “good pope”, Francis waived the customary rules requiring a second miracle after beatification, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said. John XXIII was beatified in 2000.
Francis, who has tried to instill a spirit of simplicity and reform in the Church since his election in March, is known to have great admiration for the reforming Pope John, who was born of peasant stock in northern Italy.
John Paul went down in history as the “globe-trotting pope,” visiting every inhabited continent in more than 100 trips outside Italy.
LAST DAYS WATCHED BY WORLD
His struggle with ill health was watched by millions around the world on television towards the end of his life.
He was also credited with being instrumental in the fall of communism in Eastern Europe in 1989 because of his steadfast defense of the Solidarity trade union in his native Poland.
After martial law was declared in Poland in 1981, he is believed to have told then-Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev that if Russia invaded Poland, he would return home.
John Paul was nearly killed by Turkish gunman Mehmet Ali Agca, who shot him in St Peter’s Square on May 13, 1981. Two trials failed to prove Italian magistrates’ accusations that the Bulgarian secret services had carried out the plot with Agca on behalf of the Soviet Union.
Millions of people attended his funeral in April, 2005, and many cried “Santo Subito” or “Make him a saint immediately”.
His successor, Benedict, waived a Church rule that normally requires a five-year waiting period before the preliminaries to sainthood can even begin.
John Paul is respected by Jews because of his 1986 visit to Rome’s synagogue, the first by a pope to a Jewish temple.
He is already considered a saint by millions of his countrymen in Poland, having supported their bid for freedom on the world stage for 11 years before the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
“I am so happy and hardly can wait. John Paul II was one of a kind,” said Ewa Jezierska, 72, a Polish saleswoman in Warsaw.
Liberals in the Church say John Paul was too harsh with theological dissenters who wanted to help the poor, particularly in Latin America. Others say he should be held ultimately responsible for sexual abuse scandals because they occurred or came to light when he was in charge.
John Paul also drew criticism for supporting the late Father Marcial Maciel, the Mexican founder of the Legionaries of Christ religious order, defending him despite charges of sexual abuse that later turned out to be true.
John XXIII has for decades been venerated by Italians who recall his kind gestures. While he was pope for less than five years, his short pontificate coincided with the post-World War Two “economic miracle” that transformed Italy from a devastated agricultural backwater to an international economic power.
(Additional reporting by Dagmara Leskowicz, editing by Barry Moody/Mark Heinrich)
Pope John Paul II, The popular Polish pope who served from 1978 until his death in 2005, has had a second miracle attributed to his name, setting him on course toward the fastest canonization in modern Roman Catholic Church history.
The Vatican Insider reported on Tuesday that doctors and a commission of theologians agreed to attribute a second miracle to his name, meaning that now the final step for Pope John Paul II to become a saint is for cardinals and bishops to agree on the decision.
The miracle is the healing of a Costa Rican woman, who suffered from severe brain damage before she had an “inexplicable recovery.” According to The Independent, Italian newspaper Il Giornale quoted Vatican officials who claimed that a double miracle had actually been performed, because not only was the woman healed, but the faith of her family had been restored.
While the Vatican has yet to release the full details behind the case, the miracle supposedly occurred in May 2011, the day of John Paul II’s beatification.
The first miracle attributed to the pontiff, which led to his beatification, concerned another healing –a French nun who recovered from Parkinson’s disease in 2005. Sister Marie Simon-Pierre had said that her illness suddenly vanished when her order started praying on her behalf, and she wrote down Pope John Paul II’s name on a piece of paper.
The 2005 miracle left the pope only steps away from sainthood, and if in the coming weeks the Congregation for the Causes of Saints’ commission of cardinals and bishops verifies this reported second miracle, he will become the fastest saint to be recognized by the Church in its modern history, just eight years following his death.
The Atlantic Wire reminded readers that up until this point, the person to go through the quickest path to sainthood was Josemaria Escriva, the Spanish priest who founded Opus Dei, canonized 27 years after his death by Pope John Paul II himself.
Canonizations were a regular event during the Polish pope’s reign. He proclaimed 482 saints which is more than during the leadership of the previous 17 popes put together.
While Pope John Paul II’s canonization is not yet set in stone, The Insider speculated that the fast process suggests that the current pope, Francis, is also in favor of the proposed sainthood.
For many years now Mother Teresa has been a staple in my prayers and meditation. When I turned ten years, my two year medallion was gold dipped and engraved with the words: “I Thirst.”
From her Memoirs – Come Be My Light where she talks about Thirsting for Jesus as he thirsted from the cross.
That same week I got my first tattoo. Those same words, “I Thirst” translated into Hebrew. And is now on my arm.
This weekend we heard a woman speak at the Dorval Round Up.
And this woman, walked, talked, worked and lived with Mother Teresa. And in the end she was asked to testify for the Beatification of Mother Teresa.
At the end of her share on Saturday night, I stood in line and I grasped her hands and thanked her graciously. We all did.
And tonight it is a Pivotal Moment in my sobriety. After all my prayers, adoration and love Mother came to me, and to us.
We touched the hands of the woman who touched the hands of Mother Teresa.
She has come full circle.
I will never be the same man from here on out.
Back on April 29, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI did something rather striking, but which went largely unnoticed.
He stopped off in Aquila, Italy, and visited the tomb of an obscure medieval Pope named St. Celestine V (1215-1296). After a brief prayer, he left his pallium, the symbol of his own episcopal authority as Bishop of Rome, on top of Celestine’s tomb!
Fifteen months later, on July 4, 2010, Benedict went out of his way again, this time to visit and pray in the cathedral of Sulmona, near Rome, before the relics of this same saint, Celestine V.
Few people, however, noticed at the time.
Only now, we may be gaining a better understanding of what it meant. These actions were probably more than pious acts. More likely, they were profound and symbolic gestures of a very personal nature, which conveyed a message that a Pope can hardly deliver any other way.
In the year 1294, this man (Fr. Pietro Angelerio), known by all as a devout and holy priest, was elected Pope, somewhat against his will, shortly before his 80th birthday (Ratzinger was 78 when he was elected Pope in 2005). Just five months later, after issuing a formal decree allowing popes to resign (or abdicate, like other rulers), Pope Celestine V exercised that right.
And now Pope Benedict XVI has chosen to follow in the footsteps of this venerable model.
A point I almost forgot from the film this evening was the phrase “I Thirst.” It came oddly during the film, and several people who saw the film before me brought up this point, and equated the phrase as coming from Mother Teresa of Calcutta … which it did…
The notion of Thirst is a theme that runs throughout our lives, and more for the man or woman who is living a sober life. At the onset of alcoholism, we all experience the phenomena of thirst. And if we get caught up in “thirst” it takes us to our cups. And in time, and for most, the thirst grows ever more until we reach the point that we just cannot drink enough and our thirst becomes unquenchable.
But there is a solution. In the Book !!!
In order for that thirst to end, we must come to the realization that it is God who removes from us the compulsion to drink. A feat no man or woman could accomplish on their own, trying to “do it” themselves. Very few succeed at this juncture. When we hit bottom and realize that we are licked and that we cannot go on with this – there is the book.
And one day, sometime in early sobriety we reach the day that the desire to drink leaves us. And eventually we find “god as we understand him.” God is fraught with complications for many when they come in.
And I think, as I wrote earlier tonight, that the genius came when Bill W. employed the phrase “god as we understand him.” And in the beginning people come up with their own concept, be him God, or Good Orderly Direction, or simply “group of drunks” we gather together to share our stories and our experiences that become a very valuable bank of experience that we can all draw upon on a daily basis.
It is mentioned in the film this notion of “I Thirst…” And unless you are familiar with the story of just what “I Thirst” means and who spoke those words they fall on deaf ears. Where once we thirsted for drink, we come to find our concept of God and we begin to thirst for spiritual truth and peace.
We learn how to mediate thirst. We will thirst till the day we die, but to drink again would be a miserable choice in sobriety. Which is when we learn to employ prayer and meditation.
You may recognize “I Thirst” as one of the last words that Jesus says hanging on the cross. And it is this meditation that Mother Teresa has worked into a very fine meditation about thirsting for Jesus.
As I near my 11th anniversary, and having this phrase tattooed on my person, and hearing it again tonight in the film brings the meaning full circle, because I heard it spoken in reference to Bill and the Alcoholics Anonymous movement. It caught me off guard really, and I had to sit and ponder it seeing I left it off the first post. But the topic is one that can stand on its own here.
“I Thirst” is engraved on my 10 year chip and tattooed on my arm. And every day I bathe and during that I care for my ink with care and respect.
I may not thirst for the drink any more, but I do Thirst for God.
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Here is the meditation from Mother Teresa…
To the end of her life, Mother Teresa insisted that the single most important reason for the existence of the congregation she founded was to satiate the thirst of Jesus. “The General End of he Missionaries of Charity is to satiate the thirst of Jesus Christ on the Cross for Love and Souls.”
“I thirst,” Jesus said on the cross when Jesus was deprived of every consolation, dying in absolute Poverty, left alone, despised and broken in body and soul. He spoke of His thirst – not for water – but for love, for sacrifice.
Jesus is God: therefore, His love, His thirst is infinite. Our aim is to quench this infinite thirst of a God made man. Just like the adoring angels in Heaven ceaselessly sing the praises of God, so the sisters, using the four vows of Absolute Poverty, Chastity, Obedience and Charity towards the poor ceaselessly quench the thirsting God by their love and of the love of the souls they bring to Him.
Mother Teresa writes:
Jesus wants me to tell you again … how much is the love He has for each one of you – beyond all what you can imagine … not only He loves you, even more – He longs for you. He misses you when you don’t come close. He thirsts for you. He loves you always, even when you don’t feel worthy…
For me it is so clear – everything in the Missionaries of Charity exists only to satiate Jesus. His words on the wall of every MC chapel, they are not from [the] past only, but alive here and now, spoken to you. Do you believe it? … Why does Jesus say “I Thirst”? What does it mean? Something so hard to explain in words – …”I love you.” Until you know deep inside that Jesus thirsts for you – you can’t begin to know who He wants to be for you. Or who He wants you to be for Him.
Courtesy: Stefano Rellandini Reuters photo
VATICAN CITY – Kateri Tekakwitha ( Kat’-er-ee Teka-KWEE’-ta), a woman credited with life-saving miracles, has become North America’s first aboriginal saint after a canonization mass at the Vatican.
Tekakwitha was among the seven saints Pope Benedict XVI added to the roster of Catholic role models Sunday morning as he tries to rekindle the faith in places where it’s lagging.
Aboriginal Canadians and Americans in traditional dress sang songs to Kateri as the sun rose over St. Peter’s Square.
They joined pilgrims from around the world at the Mass and cheered when Benedict, in Latin, declared each of the seven new saints worthy of veneration by the church.
Tekakwitha, who is also known as “Lily of the Mohawks,” was born in New York state in 1656 before fleeing to a settlement north of the border to escape opposition to her Christianity.
She died in 1680 at the age of 24. Her body is entombed in a marble shrine at the St. Francis-Xavier Church in Kahnawake, a Montreal-area Mowhawk community that was expected be well represented among the 1,500 Canadian pilgrims set to attend the celebrations.
The process for her canonization began in the 1880s and Tekakwitha was eventually beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1980.
According to a longtime deacon at the Kahnawake reserve, an event six years ago is widely viewed as a miracle which sealed Tekakwitha’s canonization.
The case involved six-year-old Jake Finkbonner, who belongs to the Lummi tribe in Washington, said Ron Boyer, who was appointed by the Vatican in 2007 to help make the case for the canonization.
Finkbonner was knocked over while playing basketball, striking his lip on a post. The incident led to the boy developing a high fever which landed him in intensive care where doctors determined he had a flesh-eating disease.
The deacon said Sister Kateri Mitchell, a Mohawk from the Akwesasne reserve, happened to be visiting the area and was summoned by the family. She had a bone relic of Tekakwitha which was held to Finkbonner’s chest as his family prayed.
According to Boyer, at that point the infection stopped spreading and began to heal.
Thomas Cardinal Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, is among 17 bishops who were to make the trip to the Vatican, while House of Commons Speaker Andrew Scheer was also expected to attend Sunday’s mass.
This article is raising all kinds of fire on all sides of the argument. Anne Rice posted this on her FACEBOOK PAGE. And it has garnered over 300 comments in just a few hours of being up. Whether the allegations are true or not, one thing remains, can the letters written on Missionaries of Charity letterhead be those of Mother Teresa? The jury is out on that question.
I’ve read her case for sainthood and I can tell you that Mother Teresa can be blind to all things except service to Jesus. Whether she understood the severity of the charges and whether she turned a blind eye like John Paul II did during his papacy could be contested.
Did she know what pedophilia meant? I mean did she understand the concept or could she really fathom that a servant of God could do such a thing? Because above all John Paul II always defended his priests to the death of them. He believed in vocation to a fatal flaw. He’d rather overlook a flaw then point a finger at one of his priests, which only exacerbated this issue to get to where it is today.
John Paul II was a great statesman. He could pull off a smile for the public and when he got behind closed doors he was known to lambaste whoever was in his line of fire. And this happened on many occasions throughout his papacy.
Mother Teresa was a woman of faith in Catholic Hierarchy. There are several other allegations mentioned in the piece below that cast aspersions on the good name of Mother Teresa. Like hoarding money from world dictators and that she supported people who are not thought to be savory. And that the care she offered was below par and unacceptable. All these allegations are written to incite the reader to choose a position and not look at other factors of the lives involved.
Should you trust the writer of this piece?
I would contend that this is an attention piece aimed at Mother Teresa as the process for sainthood progresses. You could naturally remove her from this article and the allegations of pedophilia stand on their own. She just happens to be mentioned in the correspondences, and it is assumed that it is she that was directly involved in the protection of a pedophile.
What do you believe and who do you believe??? That is up to the reader. But unless you have studied this subject, religion, saints, and sainthood to the degree that I have, what you believe is entirely up to you.
I always state from the start that if you comment, you better know what you are talking about and can back it up in education or fact. Two degrees, one in Religion and a second in Theology give me a leg up here. That is fact…
I have my issues with Mother Teresa. She has angered me, blessed me and made me believe in Jesus more than I ever have and I even tattooed my body to honor her.
Then something like this pops up out of the firmament and asks us to judge her based on some article written with excessive slant and finger pointing and unlike some who would want to taint the life of a woman who is bound to be sainted in the near future, this is just a blip on the radar.
Nobody can prove either way what Mother Teresa knew, and how much she knew and if she knew, why did she turn a blind eye to it? Because like I have said, this woman was blinded by many things. Love of God, Love of Jesus, service to the poor, service to the least of these.
She was blinded by her own dark heart and her own admission of being blind of Jesus for a time in her ministry.That was the one flaw that always angered me about her, that even with eyes to see, much of her ministry was slanted to the poor and to Jesus and in that state you could say she was blinded. She may not have wanted to see, or just couldn’t see or maybe understand.
This was not something known to her in her vernacular and from her time period. Pedophilia was not common knowledge back in her years of education. And I think the Catholic hierarchy kept her in the dark to a degree as well. This is testified in her memoirs for sainthood.
She was kept on a very short leash by the priests she confessed to and those whom she called on to serve her community and her people. She was blinded by service to Jesus, forsaking all others. Could she really be guilty of what they are saying she did?
She is not here to defend herself. It is up to the people and their faith. And in the end only God can judge her. And for all intents and purposes, this will probably not affect her case for sainthood. But could damn the other men involved in this story.
I was going to leave a comment on the page but decided that I would post it here for posterity to see where this goes. I will be watching for more updates on this story.
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By Peter Jamison Wednesday, Jan 11 2012
San Francisco Weekly …
The death of journalist and polemicist Christopher Hitchens last month gave those familiar with his work a chance to revisit one of his more controversial subjects: the Albanian nun Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, better known to the world as Mother Teresa. In his 1997 book, The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice, Hitchens argued that the “Saint of Calcutta,” who founded and headed the international Missionaries of Charity order, enjoyed undeserved esteem.
Despite her humanitarian reputation and 1979 Nobel Peace Prize, Mother Teresa had set up a worldwide system of “homes for the dying” that routinely failed to provide adequate care to patients, Hitchens argued — an appraisal shared by The Lancet, a respected medical journal. Mother Teresa also associated with, and took large sums of money from, disreputable figures such as American savings-and-loan swindler Charles Keating and the dictatorial Duvalier family of Haiti.
Notwithstanding these black marks on an otherwise sterling reputation, Mother Teresa — who died in 1997 and is now on the fast track to a formal proclamation of sainthood by the Vatican — was never known to have been touched by the scandal that would rock the Roman Catholic Church in the decade after her death: the systematic protection of child-molesting priests by church officials.
Yet documents obtained by SF Weekly suggest that Mother Teresa knew one of her favorite priests was removed from ministry for sexually abusing a Bay Area boy in 1993, and that she nevertheless urged his bosses to return him to work as soon as possible. The priest resumed active ministry, as well as his predatory habits. Eight additional complaints were lodged against him in the coming years by various families, leading to his eventual arrest on sex-abuse charges in 2005.
The priest was Donald McGuire, a former Jesuit who has been convicted of molesting boys in federal and state courts and is serving a 25-year federal prison sentence. McGuire, now 81 years old, taught at the University of San Francisco in the late 1970s, and held frequent spiritual retreats for families in San Francisco and Walnut Creek throughout the 1980s and 1990s. He also ministered extensively to the Missionaries of Charity during that time.
In a 1994 letter to McGuire’s Jesuit superior in Chicago, it appears that Mother Teresa acknowledged she had learned of the “sad events which took [McGuire] from his priestly ministry these past seven months,” and that McGuire “admitted imprudence in his behavior,” but she wished to see him put back on the job. The letter was written after McGuire had been sent to a psychiatric hospital following an abuse complaint to the Jesuits by a family in Walnut Creek.
“I understand how grave is the scandal touching the priesthood in the U.S.A. and how careful we must be to guard the purity and reputation of that priesthood,” the letter states. “I must say, however, that I have confidence and trust in Fr. McGuire and wish to see his vital ministry resume as soon as possible.”
The one-page letter comes from thousands of pages of church records that have been shared with plaintiffs’ attorneys in ongoing litigation against the Jesuits involving McGuire. (The documents were also shared with prosecutors who worked on his criminal cases.) It is printed on Missionaries of Charity letterhead but is unsigned, and thus cannot be verified absolutely as having been written by Mother Teresa. Officials in the Missionaries of Charity and the Jesuits did not respond to requests for comment on its provenance.
Yet statements throughout the letter point to Mother Teresa as the author. The writer speaks of “my communities throughout the world” and refers by name to Mother Teresa’s four top deputies, calling them “my four assistants.” Rev. Joseph Fessio, a Jesuit and former University of San Francisco professor who knew Mother Teresa, said the reference to her assistants is an “authentic” aspect of the letter.
The letter could have an impact on the near-complete process of canonizing Mother Teresa. In 2003 she was beatified by Pope John Paul II, the penultimate step to full sainthood.
“What we see here is the same thing we see over and over in regard to the [priest pedophilia] scandal — the complete lack of empathy for, or interest in, possible victims of these accused priests,” said Anne Rice, the bestselling author of novels including Interview with the Vampire and a former Catholic who has been outspoken in her criticism of the church’s handling of the sex-abuse scandal. “In this letter the concern is for the reputation of the priesthood. This is as disappointing as it is shocking.”
Other documents that have emerged in the criminal and civil cases involving McGuire could affect the sainthood prospects of another deceased religious leader eyed by the Vatican for sainthood. Among the newly uncovered church records are letters by Rev. John Hardon, a Jesuit who also worked extensively with Mother Teresa and died in 2000. He collaborated with then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, on the Catechism of the Catholic Church, a landmark summation of contemporary church doctrine. In 2005, the Vatican opened a formal inquiry into whether Hardon should be made a saint.
But statements by Hardon in his letters could complicate that process. The documents reveal McGuire admitted to Hardon that he was taking showers with the teenage boy from Walnut Creek whose complaint led to McGuire’s psychiatric treatment. He also acknowledged soliciting body massages from the boy and letting him read pornography in the room they shared on trips together.
Despite these admissions, Hardon concluded that his fellow Jesuit’s actions were “objectively defensible,” albeit “highly imprudent,” and told McGuire’s bosses that he “should be prudently allowed to engage in priestly ministry.”
The postulators, or Vatican-appointed researchers and advocates for sainthood, assigned to investigate Mother Teresa and Hardon did not respond to repeated requestsfor comment.
While it is unclear exactly what impact the new documents will have on the evaluation of both figures for sainthood, the evidence of involvement by two prominent and internationally respected Catholics in the McGuire sex-abuse scandal is likely to cause consternation among critics of the church’s handling of predator priests. The situation is aggravated since McGuire went on to abuse more children after suggestions to return him to ministry were heeded.
“We’re talking about extremely powerful people who could have gotten Father McGuire off the streets in 1994,” said Patrick Wall, a lawyer and former Benedictine monk who performs investigations on behalf of abuse victims suing the Catholic Church. “I’m thinking of all those post-’94 kids who could have been saved.”
It is unknown exactly when Hardon, McGuire, and Mother Teresa first crossed paths. But chances are good that the first time they all found themselves together in the same place was in San Francisco in 1981. It was the 800th anniversary of the birth of Saint Francis of Assisi, the city’s namesake. Hardon invited Mother Teresa, who attended celebratory services at which she was introduced to McGuire, according to Fessio, who was present.
Fessio, who today heads the Ignatius Press, a Catholic publishing house in the Sunset District, said Mother Teresa was impressed by McGuire’s reputation as an erudite, engaging preacher. She arranged to have him perform retreats — based on the Spiritual Exercises by Saint Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuit order — for her missionaries around the world. “She was always looking for priests to say mass for the different places in the world where she had missions,” Fessio recalled.
In McGuire, she found a priest whose strict adherence to traditional Catholic practices matched her own views. Mother Teresa was an extreme conservative on questions of religious doctrine. She declared during her speech accepting the Nobel Peace Prize that abortion was “the greatest destroyer of peace” in the modern world. McGuire was likewise stoutly orthodox in his public persona, requesting that women wear long skirts in his presence and often assailing other Jesuits for their relatively tolerant approaches to political and social issues.
Some insight into the reverence the Missionaries of Charity held for McGuire and his retreats and sermons can be gleaned from letters sent to Wisconsin Circuit Court Judge James Carlson, who oversaw the trial that resulted in McGuire’s first conviction in 2006.
Sister Nirmala, Mother Teresa’s successor as the superior general of the Missionaries of Charity, wrote, “He was one of the very few priests to whom … Teresa of Calcutta entrusted the spiritual care of the Missionaries of Charity through retreats, seminars and spiritual guidance wherever possible.”
Sister Mary Christa, another nun with the Missionaries of Charity, wrote, “Father’s immense love for Jesus Christ radiated brilliantly through his every word and gesture, and his whole concern was to inspire the Sisters with a more intense desire for holiness. His wisdom, immense knowledge of Holy Scripture, and saintly manner of life made a profound impression on all of us.”
But McGuire’s holy veneer concealed signs of a dark side that were already evident to select church officials long before he met Mother Teresa.
Documents that have emerged in the criminal prosecution of McGuire and civil litigation against the Jesuits over his actions show that suspicions about the priest were brought to his higher-ups beginning soon after his ordination in 1961. During his first teaching assignment, at Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Ill., he molested at least two boys, whose cases led to his first criminal conviction decades later.
The Jesuits, who have formally apologized to McGuire’s victims for failing to adequately control the priest, have nevertheless asserted in legal filings that they should not be held liable for the harm he did to children during his career. In a June 2011 motion in a lawsuit filed against the Chicago Province of the Society of Jesus, the order’s lawyers asserted that McGuire is “an evil and perverted man who used his substantial intellectual gifts and his dominating personality to disobey every tenet of his faith and his vows as a cleric.”
(SF Weekly reported on the Jesuits’ failure to protect children from McGuire in a previous cover story, “Let Him Prey” [5/25/11].)
One of the best-documented instances of abuse in McGuire’s record is one in which neither the victim nor his family chose to pursue litigation against the church. Jesuit records show that in April 1993, a devout Catholic man in Walnut Creek came forward with the complaint that his 16-year-old son, who traveled with McGuire as his personal assistant, had looked at pornographic magazines, showered, and masturbated with the priest.
Following this complaint, McGuire was removed from active ministry and sent to Saint John Vianney Center, a psychiatric-treatment facility for clerics in Pennsylvania. It was there that Hardon — whom the victim’s family had requested investigate their allegations — interviewed McGuire and chose to exonerate him. After six hours of face-to-face talks at the hospital, Hardon wrote to McGuire in a January 1994 letter, “I firmly expressed my belief in your innocence of any sexual misbehavior.”
McGuire returned to his order at the beginning of 1994, but his future, including the extent to which he would be allowed to interact with families and children as a priest, was still unclear. Hardon’s letter to McGuire reveals that the errant Jesuit still worried that the sex-abuse allegations lodged against him would mar his prospects for continued work with Mother Teresa, work that considerably enhanced McGuire’s prestige among other Catholics to whom he ministered.
“You expressed your deep fear that despite your proven innocence of all charges, somehow you would nevertheless not be allowed to continue your retreat ministry to Mother Teresa’s sisters,” Hardon wrote. At the conclusion of his letter, Hardon indicated that the matter would soon be resolved in direct consultation with the “Saint of Calcutta” herself.
“And so, Don, this is the state of the question on this eve of my departure for Calcutta, India, where, with your permission, I will be communicating with Mother Teresa about your situation and your future,” he wrote.
A letter written less than a month later, on Feb. 2, 1994, appears to contain an answer to the questions about his future with the Missionaries of Charity that dogged McGuire after his release from treatment at Saint John Vianney. It is addressed to Brad Schaeffer, Provincial, or head, of the Chicago section of the Jesuits. (While McGuire’s ministry took him across the U.S. and into foreign countries, he was officially under the supervision of the Jesuits’ Chicago Province.)
The letter is not signed, though it begins with a handwritten salutation in Mother Teresa’s characteristic looping script. It is unclear whether additional pages are missing from the document, or whether the writer simply failed to attach a signature. Clues throughout the letter, however, indicate that Mother Teresa is the author. The writer refers to “my communities throughout the world” and praises McGuire’s preaching to “my novices in our new novitiate in San Francisco” in 1982. (Novices are aspiring nuns who have not yet taken vows.)
More significantly, the writer refers to “my four assistants, Sisters Mary Frederick, Priscilla, Monica and Joseph Michael.” In 1994, the councilors general of the Missionaries of Charity — a group of four senior nuns who directly advised Mother Teresa, and were subordinate to no one else in the order — were Sisters Frederick, Priscilla, Monica, and Joseph Michael (Upon taking vows, nuns sometimes assume the names of male religious figures).
“That’s authentic, mentioning those people,” Fessio said. “Those were herfour councilors.”
(View the original letter, and other documents mentioned in this story in the “details” box.)
Nuns at the primary U.S. office of the Missionaries of Charity, in New York City, referred all questions related to McGuire to the Mother Teresa Center in San Ysidro, Calif. Rev. Brian Kolodiejchuk, postulator for the sainthood cause of Mother Teresa and director of the center, did not respond to calls and e-mails seeking comment.
Schaeffer, the letter’s recipient, is now the rector of a Jesuit community in Brighton, Mass., and serves on the board of trustees of Boston College. He did not respond to phone messages. The Chicago Province of the Jesuits also did not respond to requests for comment.
If Mother Teresa did write the letter to Schaeffer, it is unclear how much she learned about the circumstances under which McGuire was disciplined. The letter states, “During his recent visit to Calcutta in the past month, Fr. John Hardon, S.J., brought a letter to me from Fr. McGuire, describing the sad events which took him from his priestly ministry these past seven months. Fr. Hardon explained … how he had established Father’s innocence of the allegations against him. Father Hardon said that Fr. McGuire admitted imprudence in his behavior.”
SF Weekly could not obtain the letter written by McGuire that is mentioned, or find anyone who had seen it. Following the exhortation that McGuire be returned to active ministry, the Missionaries of Charity letter concludes, “We, in the Missionaries of Charity, will do all in our power, to protect him and the Priesthood of Jesus Christ which he bears, when he once more takes up his mission with us.”
Tariq Ali, the British intellectual who produced and co-wrote with Hitchens the sharply critical 1994 documentary film on Mother Teresa, Hell’s Angel, said the letter fit with what he described as the nun’s pattern of consorting with dubious personalities.
Among the problems chronicled in Hell’s Angel were substandard care for the poor who filled her hospitals, and her willingness to accept money from notorious figures such as Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier of Haiti, who presided over a brutally repressive regime under which most Haitians lived in abject poverty. Duvalier’s own lifestyle was luxurious, thanks to revenue from his participation in the drug trade and practice of selling dead Haitian citizens’ cadavers overseas. Mother Teresa once posed for a photograph holding hands with Duvalier’s wife, Michèle.
“When Christopher Hitchens and I made the film on her, the research was impeccable,” Ali said. “She was close to dictators. She took money wherever she could. The care in her hospitals was poor. It was just one nightmare after another. From that time on, I saw her as a total fake,” Ali said. The letter, he added, “would only be surprising if one saw her as a moral person, and I don’t.”
Anne Sebba, a biographer of Mother Teresa, said the founder of the Missionaries of Charity had never before been tainted by knowing involvement with a pedophile priest. However, she said the nun’s response to criticism of her coziness with figures such as the Duvaliers and savings-and-loan scamster Charles Keating — for whom she pleaded for leniency during his trial and eventual conviction on fraud charges — was that she was practicing forgiveness in line with Christian ideals.
“Her answer was always that any miserable sinner deserved to be given a chance to do good,” Sebba said. “She argued that Jesus always offered redemption, and no sinner was beyond redemption.”
In McGuire, Mother Teresa encountered a challenge to that belief. After his return to ministry in 1994, McGuire would see eight new abuse allegations lodged against him by boys’ families. In 2006, he was found guilty of molesting two boys decades earlier at the Loyola Academy. In 2008, he was convicted in federal court of taking a boy across state lines for the purpose of sexually abusing him. According to federal prosecutors, McGuire probed the boy’s anus with his fingers during “massages,” examined his penis with a magnifying glass, and looked at pornography with him.
McGuire has maintained his innocence of the charges against him, asserting that his victims fabricated stories to secure financial settlements from the Jesuits. His Chicago-based lawyer, Stephen Komie, said that McGuire’s appeals of his state and federal convictions were unsuccessful, however. “He’s going to die in prison, absent a pardon, and I don’t think that’s in the cards,” Komie said.
The father of the Walnut Creek boy whose abuse allegation prompted McGuire’s psychiatric treatment in 1993 said the information in the new documents is unfortunate, but not shocking. “That McGuire fooled Father Hardon and Mother Teresa like he did so many others is disappointing, but not a surprise,” he said. “It shows that a person doesn’t have to be a mind-reader in order to be a saint.”
A second Walnut Creek man who says McGuire abused him as a child, and who is participating in a lawsuit against the Jesuits, reacted to the letter that might be from Mother Teresa more strongly.
“I was totally blown away by it,” said the man, who is identified in court records only as John Doe 129 and whom SF Weekly is not identifying by name because he is an alleged victim of childhood sexual abuse. “I just don’t know how somebody supposedly so saintly, supposedly such a protector of the weak and the poor, could be so indifferent to it,” he said.
Hardon’s letter to McGuire, as well as the letter that appears to have been written by Mother Teresa, indicate it was Hardon who personally carried news of McGuire’s situation to Calcutta. It is thus important to understand how much Hardon knew when he visited Mother Teresa in January 1994. On this front, newly uncovered documents show the Jesuit in an unflattering light, and may have a serious impact on his prospects for sainthood.
In addition to his January 1994 letter to McGuire, Hardon wrote a detailed explication of his knowledge of and involvement in McGuire’s case to Schaeffer, the Jesuits’ Chicago provincial, in November 1993. The father of the alleged abuse victim from Walnut Creek had requested that Hardon personally intercede to assess exactly what McGuire had done to the teenage boy. At the time, Hardon was an internationally known and beloved priest who had staked his reputation on championing a conservative strain of Catholicism, not dissimilar to McGuire’s, that was often at odds with the beliefs of his more liberal-minded fellow Jesuits.
During a visit to Saint John Vianney, Hardon had a frank conversation with McGuire in which the latter admitted to taking showers with his alleged victim, asking the boy to massage his body, and allowing him to possess pornography in the room they shared while traveling. McGuire denied additional allegations that he had touched the boy’s genitals and watched him masturbate.
Hardon was apparently satisfied with what he heard. As he wrote to Schaeffer, “Regarding showering, Fr. Don said that it was true, but the picture is not one of a lingering sensual experience. It was rather the picture of two firemen, responding to an emergency, one of whom was seriously handicapped and in need of support and care from the other.”
On the body rubs: “Regarding the massages, Fr. Don said they were done with attention to modesty and were necessary to relieve spasm at the 4th-5th lumbar disc and the right leg, involving the sciatic nerve.” (The fourth and fifth lumbar vertebrae are at the bottom of the spine, just above the buttocks.)
And the dirty magazines: “Regarding pornography Fr. Don said that there were Playboy and Penthouse magazines, which he neither got nor threw away.”
Hardon concluded in the letter, “I do not believe there was any conscious and deliberate sexual perversity.” He added, “I do believe Fr. McGuire was acting on principles which, though objectively defensible, were highly imprudent.” He also concluded that another serious charge against McGuire, that the priest had violated the seal of confession by disclosing private information about the boy during an argument with his father, was unfounded.
The 1993 victim’s family did not respond to requests for comment regarding the revelations in the letters. Other observers, noting the blasé manner in which Hardon speaks of a priest showering with a teenage boy and his unconcern with a supposedly orthodox cleric’s tolerance for porn, say the letter will cast a shadow on the late Jesuit’s reputation.
“I will never look at John Hardon the same way again,” said Wall, the former Benedictine monk.
Phil Lawler, editor of Catholic World News, said the letter could be a stumbling block for the sainthood cause of Hardon, who is still in the early stages of being investigated by Vatican deputies. The most rigorous review of a candidate’s life typically comes prior to the first milestone in the process, called veneration. Following that are beatification and canonization.
Lawler described Hardon’s statements about McGuire as “shocking.”
“What will it do for his cause? It will slow it down,” Lawler said.
Rev. Robert McDermott, a priest in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and postulator for Hardon’s cause, initially agreed to review Hardon’s letter about McGuire and comment on it. After receiving it, he did not respond to subsequent calls and e-mails from SF Weekly.
Lawler said the letter apparently written by Mother Teresa, by contrast, is unlikely to stop her from clearing the final hurdle of canonization.
“I think her reputation is safe,” Lawler said. “It doesn’t fluster me that she would try to help a friend, and didn’t know what was going on. Her reputation is so safe that, even if this is a negative, it doesn’t much weighon it.”
The extent to which the new documents will influence the canonization of either Hardon or Mother Teresa should, ideally, only be assessed after a thorough investigation of what both figures knew about McGuire, and how much influence their advocacy on his behalf had in the disastrous decision to return him to ministry in 1994. But in light of the church’s past lack of diligence in dealing with priestly abuse, that might be a lot to hope for.
Mother Teresa is perhaps the most famous and popular Catholic religious leader of the second half of the 20th century, rivaled only by the late Pope John Paul II. Hardon’s cause is likewise dear to senior officials in the Vatican. The investigation into his potential sainthood was initiated by Raymond Burke, the cardinal and former archbishop of St. Louis who is now prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura — a position that could be described as the chief justice of the Catholic Church’s supreme court.
Lawler pointed out that dozens of American bishops who protected known child molesters in the clergy remain on the job today. Will similar efforts to shield a predator by figures of possibly saintly stature haveany fallout?
“You asked me whether this matter could affect the progress of Father Hardon’s cause [for canonization], and I said that it definitely would. It might have been more accurate if I had said it definitely should,” Lawler said. “I hope that people would recognize this as a serious issue that demands attention. But this is an issue on which the record of the American Catholic hierarchy is still not good.”
Courtesy: Flickr Vishal Sharma 2006 c.
This is the altar of the Basilica at St. Joseph’s Oratory. Isn’t it amazing. Although this picture does not do it real justice, you have to actually stand in this massive Basilica to wonder at the grandeur of it all. It is so immense.
Wednesday is usually my off day to do nothing. But earlier this afternoon I got a call from a fellow who is in our step group saying that he was coming to pick me up in 15 minutes. So I went right from bed to shower and hurried my ass out the door to meet him at our pick up point.
We drove up to the Oratory and met a third fellow from the step group. It was a great afternoon of prayer and reflection. The tour of the church proper starts in the lower church in the building and the candle room where there are thousands of candles to be lit for prayers and the crypt of Brother Andre, who is pictured down on the sidebar here on the blog —>.
They have updated all the historical displays in the Basilica as per his canonization as a saint in 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI.
This actual photo resides in the display at the Oratory. It is a screen grab from the actual Canonization Mass in 2010.
Saint André Bessette, CSC (French: Frère André; August 9, 1845 – January 6, 1937), born Alfred Bessette and since his canonisation sometimes known as Saint André of Montreal, was a Holy Cross Brother and a significant figure of the Roman Catholic Church among French-Canadians, credited with thousands of reported miraculoushealings. He was declared venerable in 1978 and was beatified in 1982. Pope Benedict XVI approved sainthood for Blessed André on February 19, 2010, with the formal canonization taking place on October 17, 2010.
It has been many years since I have visited the Basilica. And it was great taking time to pray in such a hallowed space. There are rooms with historical collections from the life of Brother Andre. A museum and the pinnacle of the tour is the grand basilica at the top of the building.
The basilica proper is just HUGE ! It must seat more than a thousand people. We spent a good amount of time in the Basilica praying and being quiet. On the way out we stopped by the main shop at the Oratory to pick up some odds and ends.
I found two prayer card that had prayers on them, one for Mother Teresa and one for John Paul II. I also found a book that I had never seen before in the shop called: John Paul the Great – Maker of the post-conciliar Church.
On the way up to the Oratory my friend was telling me a story about his night last night and that he got up in the middle of the night and put on Touched by an Angel – the Petey episode, the three episode arc. And I almost fainted. He brought the dvd to give to our other friend to watch. It was a sign. A sign from God. Who knew we had this little faith nugget in common and that he was sharing that with our men. I was like “Get out of here, you got to be kidding me right?” But he wasn’t. I did not know you could get those episodes on dvd. I will have to check them out.
On the way home we stopped by 5 o’clock shadows for the meeting. We read from the Big Book. And since we got there a bit late, we just sat and listened.
So a very spiritual day to be sure. Just another gift from God, on the way to my anniversary on Friday. I am all prayed out for the day.
Now to nap for a bit. More to come, stay tuned…
It is ( 0c ) outside right now. A bit frigid. It is time for Winter to go already.
I’ve been collecting stories to tell you tonight on top of meeting updates and stuff like that there.
It was a sunny day and a good day was had by all. I am ahead of the reading game this week. I am hoping I did somewhat well on my philosophy mid term last Thursday. As of last night, the grades had not been posted on LEA.
I have an oral presentation to do tomorrow night in French. I hate oral presentations. I write them out and copy them into Google translate and then print out what comes out. I did that the last time and it worked for me. I need three minutes of material, like good stand up if you get three good minutes in, then you win.
The end of the month is upon us, and you know what the end of the month means? As long as there is toilet paper in the bathroom everything will be ok.
It was a busy day today, lots of errands to run, a little banking here and there.
Last Thursday on my way to my phone shift I needed to put tickets on my Opus card for the metro. In every station are ticket kiosks. And since we are on Opus now, it is all electronic between you and the bank.
I got to Guy metro and slipped my card into the magnetic reader and went through the motions of recharging my card. I got all the way through once and my transaction was refused. (BUT – the reader took my money anyways) but didn’t spit out tickets. So I tried it a second time, I swiped my card and it took the information, and a second time, (the reader took my money and didn’t spit out any tickets). Total loss $28.50
I was pissed at this moment. So I got on the train and went to PIE IX station in the East end and when I got off the train and came up into the station I stopped at the Opus kiosk there.
I stuck my card in the reader and tried to load my card up a third time. It went through the motions and denied my transaction again. (the reader took my money again, but didn’t spit out any tickets). So this time I tried a fourth time to get the machine to work. That proved fruitless. (the reader took my money and didn’t spit out any tickets.) Total loss $57.00.
Now totally angry I went to the station kiosk and spoke to a woman behind the glass and told her that my card wouldn’t recharge and that I needed to buy tickets. She took my debit card and played with it a bit, stroking the magstrip on the back. She handed back my card and told me to try it again.
So I went back to the kiosk and swiped my card a fifth time. And voila the transaction went through. Total spend $14.25 – Debit spend total $71.25.
When I got to the office I started my shift and logged onto the computer and went to my bank site. I pulled up my transaction record to see what the bank showed. Two of my transactions were refunded back. Gain: $28.50
Two of the transactions that failed still went through, but no refund was pushed back onto my account. The fifth transaction showed on the account as processed. I called the bank to complain about the STM. They could not help me since it wasn’t a bank problem but an STM problem. Which brings me up to this afternoon.
On the way to the church I stopped off at the bank and talked to a rep there. I took with me a copy of my account transactions. She put all the information into the computer and took the transaction number from the successful transfer of tickets/debits. She told me that the bank would contact the STM and check the machine and that it might take 10 days to process …
The STM owes me $28.50.
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I stopped by Zeller’s to get milk and cookies for the meeting on the way to the bank. People love cookies, and that is a weekly part of the meeting, sweets!!!
I got to the church really early. It was all said and done by 4:30. Which meant I had two hours to kill before the meeting. A good thing I brought classwork and textbooks with me, we are reading KANT this week. A rather tedious read, if I say so myself. I don’t think that one read is gonna do it for me. He didn’t assign questions to go along with the reading so I didn’t highlight anything in the text. Which maybe I need to do before class on Thursday night.
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Attendance was slim at the first meeting. We had less than a dozen folks show up, but the discussion went the entire hour. We talked about Higher Power and how we came to find it, what we call it and how that has aided us in sobriety. It was our last beginner’s discussion meeting.
The second meeting showing was a bit better. The lion’s share of the seventh tradition came from the second meeting tonight. We had $25.00 in expenses for the week in literature, milk and cookies. Which basically ate up the bulk of the 7th, at least there was a few bucks to throw into the kitty.
Dave, Rick and I went to a meeting on Saturday night in Verdun and that’s where I found my speaker for tonight. I call him the artist. He spoke for us a few months ago, after an invitation in Laval one night.
There are certain old timers that I never grow weary of listening to. The artist is one of those men. He is sober 28 years and just has the most compelling story that I have ever heard. It was a treat because our group is 53 years old, and many an old timer in the city began their journey’s of recovery in this same church basement, years ago. Our room has seen thousands of people pass through our doors over the last 53 years.
He knocked it out of the park once again. I was just thrilled hearing him and the crowd who came was as well. The visitors from out of town were well represented tonight. Season has begun – as winter comes to an end we will see a lot more traffic coming from out of town. Which is a nice treat.
So the end of an era has come to an end. Next week, Tuesday’s Beginners will embark on a new routine, a new schedule and a new meeting. I need to call the office tomorrow and make sure they change the meeting info in the desk manual. We have a huge notebook with all the meetings listed which is handy for callers, it is a carbon copy of the meeting list, but on a larger scale.
They made the change in the data base and in the blue sheets, so we need them to change it in the book in case people call in the next week looking for a Tuesday meeting. Since the speaker meeting is now closed and the discussion meeting is bumped back to 7 p.m.
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I sat and listened to everyone share at the early meeting. Sometimes I find it better to keep my thoughts to myself. Since there were so many thoughts running through my head at that point.
Pondering higher power.
There are many parts to my sober story. People and places. Times and events. Situations and issues. I have a connection to God that began early in my childhood thanks to my Memere. She was the one person who cared about my spiritual education early on as a young boy. (You can find that story in the pages called “Naked and Sacred.”)
I’ve known my whole life who God is. Memere made a pact with God when I was a small child. You see I survived, Many things in my life. When I should have died. This story goes back all the way to my first run at sobriety.
I was sick, facing my own mortality and death in a time that hope was in short supply and death was a daily occurrence. There was one man who took care of me when everybody else walked away. He became my higher power when I really needed it the most. I learned to rely on another human like never before. In that first 18 months, God was tangible in human form. The closest I think I have ever gotten to God came in the form of my mentor Todd. The man I credit my survival.
I always knew who god was as a young person. I was not focused on the god of my upbringing at that point in my life, that would not come until much later, the memory of who I was, in the middle of total tragedy and loss. But God was there when I needed him. And what I needed was tangible evidence that God existed because I was going to die and I didn’t want to go alone.
What gay men of the AIDS era lacked, and I have written this before, was a connection to God. None of the mainstream writers during the height of the AIDS crisis ever mentioned the word God once. Not once…
Churches were turning away the sick. Families were throwing their children into the streets. People were dying left and right, for all intents and purposes, there was no God in the trenches. And I subscribed to that thought as well myself. I called on God to save me, and to protect me, and Todd showed up and it all happened as it did.
It would not come to pass for a few more years that the God of my upbringing would make its return to my life in the form of active religious participation in community, but it did happen. That’s when I met a holy man named Jeff. He changed my life.
I am certain today that God moved in my life in sweeping manners. My relationship to the god of my understanding has morphed over the last 43 years.
On my return to sobriety in 2001, I prayed to God certain prayers and one by one they happened. Call it miracle or not, God came to my assistance once again. I met a group of people in the rooms that second time who would carry me into sobriety once again. Some of those men and women are still part of my life today.
Coming to Montreal was an act of faith. Returning to my roots has carried me on this journey these last nine years. Getting sober this time proved educational.
In my youth, part of this journey of faith took me to a Catholic Seminary for a year where I learned to wait on god and get to know his voice. But that was not to come to fruition.
Fast forward to my move to Montreal and my introduction to family I never knew I had would bring me back to the God of my upbringing as well. I came to a new adoration for God through the eyes of my great aunt Sister Georgette. I had three years to learn from her. She blessed me with stories of family, she knew who I was well before I knew who she was.
Returning to University here in Montreal gave me the opportunity to continue my religious education. I would not take the route through the church but climb the ladder on the outside of the building. I not only have the God of my upbringing, but also the wisdom of six years of religious and theological education to add to that.
Just recently, my life has been blessed with photographs from my youth, when times were better. The people I loved the most were still alive and having those photos once again, tangible evidence of family, has brought me an old joy.
In Christian tradition, relics and photographs are something that connect us to the holy. They remind us of the past. And they carry with them blessings and memories of saints, blesseds, and the holy. You see these venerations at places steeped in religious history: churches, holy sites and grottos.
I carry with me a small satchel of relics from Mere D’Youville, given to me when Sister Georgette died some years ago. It is something that I hold dear. Keepsakes from her are special and I carry them with me where ever I go.
Memere is amongst the holy I venerate. Seeing her again has brought me back to my roots, I see her every day now, not like a memory in my minds eye, that can fade over time, with distance and life. I have that daily tangible reminder of who she was and what she meant to me when she was alive. That memory never left me, but has been reinforced in a way that I can’t explain, you just have to be in this place to get it.
God is never far from my daily routine. Over the years I have expanded my belief in a power greater than myself. I know what I grew up with, I know what I learned in university, and I know what I have experienced throughout my life.
The artist spoke about those events in our lives that in hindsight we know happened, that cannot be explained. The ways god remains anonymous. But people and events happen in our lives by no choice of our own, but by the grace of god.
I know who God is today, and I know who God is not. At least to me.
It may not be the same for you. And that’s ok.
It was a good day.
It is getting late. I need to eat dinner and get some sleep.
More to come, stay tuned …
So I guess I’ve been a little MIA. I haven’t had the desire to write much and the prompts we’ve been getting just bore me to tears.
But it is snowing at this hour. Environment Canada says 5 to 10 cm. Nice, just what we need is more snow. Oh well, at least I don’t have to go out in it.
Feast your eyes upon the great Airbus A-380.
I can’t get enough of it. I read a blog written by an airline pilot in the U.S. and he had a video up of a 737-800 take off and I was hooked. Then the other night I was farting around on You Tube and found collections of videos of the A-380 from all over the world. So that’s what I’ve been up to as of late.
I’ve been floating the idea in my head of going to Rome for the Beatification of John Paul II the end of April. It would be a weekend event. I was trolling Travelocity’s Website today and flights are not cheap.
A regular flight across the pond will run me $980.00 round trip. I even looked into flights across the Atlantic on an airline that flies the A-380, since I am on the topic, and those flights run $1900.00 round trip. Alitalia and Air France fly the jet transatlantic in both directions, which bumps up the airfare quite a bit. One goes through London, the other through Charles de Gaul in Paris.
From the videos I gather that the planes are pristine, beautiful and sleek. I saw videos from Emirates Air, Singapore Airlines, British Airways and Air France and Alitalia. It is quite the experience.
Add to that a hostel for 2 nights at $480.00 ca and I’ve spent a pretty penny on a papal mass at the Vatican. I don’t know if I can justify the spending to hubby. It’s not like we are awash in money or anything like that, but it was a thought.
I did my homework. I know how much it’s gonna run. The mass isn’t on the Vatican website yet. The schedule only goes through April. But we know from the announcement that I posted last week was for May the 1st.
I have to find a way to bring up the topic gingerly. After watching all those airline videos, I am in the mood to take a trip somewhere, so why not make it count if I get the chance? You only live once.
Other than that, it was an uneventful week. Wednesday we had that snow storm and there was snow all over the place, so I skipped class because I didn’t feel like walking to school in the middle of a snow blow.
Thursday we had class and it went well. We are reading Plato. Fun !!!
Friday I slept in and farted around on the interwebs. Hubby has been keeping himself busy going here and there. He went to visit a friend this evening and now he has to walk home in the middle of a snow blow.
So we’ll see how this all plays out in the coming weeks.
More to come, stay tuned…
VATICAN CITY – Works are underway in St. Peter’s Basilica to make space for Pope John Paul II’s tomb following his expected beatification this year, the religious news agency imedia reported on Thursday.
Preparations are being made in the Chapel of St. Sebastian, on the right-hand side of the nave, between the Chapel of Michelangelo’s Pieta and the Chapel of the Holy Sacrament, the French agency said.
According to tradition, the remains of popes who are beatified are moved up from the crypt to the nave of the basilica, the agency added.
Italian media have reported Pope Benedict XVI is likely to sign a decree on Friday at the earliest authorizing the beatification of the Polish pontiff, who died aged 84 on April 2, 2005 after 27 years as pope.
On Wednesday, the Congregation of the Causes for Saints approved John Paul’s first miracle, a key step on the path to beatification.
The commission confirmed that French nun Marie Simon-Pierre was miraculously cured of Parkinson’s disease through the intercession of the Polish pope, who also suffered from Parkinson’s.
Italian media have suggested two possible dates for the beatification ceremony: Sunday April 3, the day after the sixth anniversary of John Paul’s death, and Sunday October 16, the day he was elected pope.
The process of canonising John Paul kicked off immediately after his death. Banners waved in St Peter’s Square during his funeral in 2005 read “Santo Subito!” (Sainthood Now!)
Once the ex-pontiff is beatified, one more miracle will be needed to achieve full sainthood.