ROME -- Pope John Paul II reigned for almost 27 years, and during that time he was often a sign of contradiction – a charismatic and beloved figure around the world who also stirred strong opposition in several different camps, including church reformers, social progressives, and Catholic traditionalists.
On this day, we hear a different version of the events of Easter morning.
Yesterday, in Matthew's Gospel, the women were "filled with awe and great joy", but today, in John's Gospel, 20:11-18, Mary Magdalene gets it wrong, as she did in Sunday's Gospel, John 20:1-9.
ROME -- In one way or another, miracles have always been part of the sainthood process.
Well before the Catholic church had a formal system of canonization, grassroots devotions to saints were usually premised both on someone’s reputation for personal holiness and their wonder-working power. By the 16th century, a candidate for sainthood who wasn’t a martyr had to have a “reputation for sanctity and miracles” in order to be beatified, and at least two more miracles had to be documented before canonization. John Paul dropped the number to one miracle for beatification and one more for canonization, but the requirement remains.
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John Dick is a Belgium-based academic who sometimes contributes to NCR. He has been busy writing for us this year as the clergy sex abuse scandal exploded like mold spore and spread throughout Belgium.
Dick's latest piece is about the incendiary television interview that former bishop Roger Vangheluwe did for Flemish TV last week. See it here: Belgian bishop insists he is not a pedophile.
Dick was also busy for us this weekend. Here's a short story he sent today:
Easter Sunday, however, was media day for Léonard.
Léonard spoke out for the first time on Easter Sunday during his homily in the Brussels cathedral. There he called the televised interview with Vangheluwe "shocking" but said he would not go into the matter in his homily.
Demonstrations and vigils in support of Fr. Roy Bourgeois, the Maryknoll priest who faces dismissal from his order and laicization by the Vatican for his support of women's ordination, occurred outside of cathedrals and churches in at least six U.S. cities last week: Buffalo, N.Y.; Chicago; San Diego; Madison, Wis.; Syracuse, N.Y.; and Venice, Fla.
The vigils were co-sponsored by the groups Call to Action, Women's Ordination Conference and Roman Catholic Womenpriests.
A hundred and ninety-nine years ago, April 25, 1812, in central Kentucky, the Sisters of Loretto began. Five young women had established a teaching community in two dilapidated log cabins. By day the buildings were a kitchen and school. At night borders slept on the floor of the classroom and the aspirant sisters slept in the loft.
These women, as best we know, were all born in Maryland and moved to Kentucky with their families. To this day, Marion County is a center of Catholic congregations and institutions.
The sisters-to-be petitioned the bishop, through a local priest, Charles Nerinckx, to form a religious community. On this day, April 25, the first three "received the veil" at St. Charles parish church, though they continued to wear their own dresses, being too poor to buy new fabric and the veil may have been a poke bonnet. We don't have photos. On June 29 they elected Ann Rhodes superior. Father Nerinckx said, "You have chosen the youngest," and the sisters responded that "She is the most virtuous." By August they were six.
On this day, Easter Monday, we do not hear the first word Jesus spoke after his resurrection, because the translators of the New American Bible "the only English-language Lectionary that may be used at Mass in the dioceses of the United States", chose to omit it from Matthew's Gospel. Instead of quoting Jesus' salutation to the women who had just discovered the empty tomb, they simply say he "greeted them".
But in the original Greek, Matthew tells us Jesus said "???????" to the women. Be joying.
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Rome -- Over the course of this week, I’m offering a daily series of questions and answers in the run-up to the beatification of Pope John Paul II on Sunday. Today, we begin with perhaps the single most commonly asked question, both in the media and at the grassroots: What’s the rush? Why is this happening so fast, while other causes sometimes languish for centuries?