March 6, 2000
volume 11, no. 46
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NEWS & VIEWS     Acknowledgments
Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and International Dossiers, Daily Dispatches and Features at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

First Beatifications of Jubilee Began on March 5

    VATICAN CITY, MAR 3 (ZENIT).- On March 5, a large and varied group of martyrs were beatified. They are the first Blessed of the Jubilee of the Year 2000. They represent very unusual cases; for geographical and historical reasons, the life stories of some are very different from classical hagiographies.

    Among the candidates are the first martyr of Thailand, Fr. Nicholas Bunkerd Kitbamrung; Andrew the Catechist of Vietnam; and the Philippines' Peter Calungsod. The Holy Father will also recognize the testimony of the first martyrs of Belarus, including 11 nuns killed by the Nazis. Brazil will also have its first Blessed martyrs: Fathers Andre de Soveral and Ambrosio Maria Fierro, and 28 companions who gave their life in the evangelization of northern Brazil.

    Some have criticized John Paul II, describing his pontificate as a "factory of saints," given the record number of beatifications and canonizations which have taken place over the past 21 years. Fr. Paolo Molinari, General Postulator of the Causes of Saints promoted by the Society of Jesus, has replied to the criticisms. In statements to ZENIT, he explained that "the figures of the blessed, of saints and of martyrs are revolutionary, signs of contradiction opposed to the mentality in vogue, which at times is hypocritical. At the same time, they are attractive examples, because goodness fascinates. These are normal people who lived Christianity with total dedication and were inspired in Jesus' example. The road to sanctity is nothing other than what Christ did: 'I do everything that pleases the Father,' even in Gethsemani, when in his humanity he felt all the instinctive physical and moral repugnance in facing something terrible that was about to happen to him. The attitude of the saints is the one we Christians should have: to totally trust the Father and give the Lord what he asks."

    Some skeptics think that only those with a kind of "lobby" within the Church can be proclaimed saints. "It is not like that. On the contrary. The saints are not selected in Rome. To begin a cause, the fundamental point is a reputation for sanctity, that is, proof of veneration among a number of people who have known the person. The Church follows God's action with docility. When it recognizes certain signs, it understands that through that specific person, God is trying to say something to us," Fr. Molinari explained.

    This is the reason why John Paul II proclaims the martyrdom and sanctity of so many men and women. "The Church must try to accept, study and admire them in order to understand the message God wills to communicate to people, Christians and non-Christians, through the life of a person who has embodied an evangelical quality in a sublime way." ZE00030203


March 6, 2000
volume 11, no. 46

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