Marian Helper Spring_2013 - page 20

18
M
ARIAN
H
ELPER
• S
PRING
2013 •
W
ill Pope Benedict XVI declare
St. Faustina a Doctor of
the Church, as formally
requested by the cardinals and bishops
who attended the second World
Apostolic World Congress on Mercy
in October 2011?
There’s no news yet. As we wait,
it’s fascinating to explore how Pope
John Paul II made a strong case for
recognizing St. Faustina as the
Church’s Mercy Doctor.
Before making the case, though,
we need to know the criteria the
Pope weighs in deciding whether to
declare a particular saint a Doctor of
the Church.
Father Joe Roesch, MIC, this maga-
zine’s “Ask a Marian” columnist,
researched the matter. He says, “The
traditional criteria have been that the
person is a canonized saint whose
holiness is exemplary, even among
the saints, and whose learning and
teaching is outstanding.
“In 1970, Pope Paul VI added three new
criteria: that the saint’s message has
current and permanent value; that he
or she bore witness to the faith in life; and
that the person’s testimony has a particular
character, especially a spiritual and mystical
character that inspires others.”
So, let’s see if John Paul II’s case for St.
Faustina meets these criteria.
A message, a feast for mercy
First, consider the significance of what
Pope John Paul II said and did when he can-
onized Sr. Faustina on April 30, 2000. By
canonizing her, he said in his homily that he
was passing on “this message” of Divine
Mercy — the message Jesus had given her —
to the new millennium:
Sister Faustina’s canonization has a partic-
ular eloquence. By this act I intend today
to pass this message on to the new millen-
nium. I pass it on to all people, so that they
will learn to know even better the true face
of God and the true face of their brethren.
In his homily, the Great Mercy Pope also
established Divine Mercy Sunday — the most
important aspect of the Divine Mercy mes-
sage and devotion — as a universal feast day:
“It is important then that we accept the
whole message that comes to us from the
Word of God on this Second Sunday of Easter,
which from now on throughout the Church
will be called ‘Divine Mercy Sunday.’”
Thus, John Paul II gave the Church a
universal feast day and a message for our
times, both emphasizing Divine Mercy.
L'O
SSERVATORE
R
OMANO
by David Came
T
HE
C
HURCH
S
M
ERCY
D
OCTOR
?
The Great Mercy Pope makes a strong case for why St.
Faustina should be made a Doctor of the Church. The great
value of the
Diary
in showing “the depth of her mystical
experience” is just one of the points he makes in her favor.
P
OPE
J
OHN
P
AUL
II
MADE THE
CASE FOR DECLARING
S
T
. F
AUSTINA
A
D
OCTOR OF THE
C
HURCH
.
Adapted in part from the
Beatification Edition of
John Paul II:
The Great Mercy Pope.
M
ARIAN
AR
CHIVES
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