When Pope John Paul II is beatified
on May 1 before an audience of hundreds of thousands in St. Peter’s
Square, the event will mark a new land-speed record for arrival at the
final stage before sainthood, beating Mother Teresa’s previous mark by
15 days. Some have objected to the haste, particularly given persistent
questions about John Paul’s handling of the sexual-abuse crisis in the
Catholic Church. Yet if the child is father to the man, this is a clear
case of the pope being father to the saint.
John Paul notoriously presided over
what wags called a “saint-making factory” during his almost 27 years
atop the Catholic Church. He produced more beatifications (1,338) and
canonizations (482) than all previous popes combined—and since Catholic
tradition acknowledges 263 previous popes stretching back nearly 2,000
years, that’s no mean feat.
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