INAYP-38-The Canonization of Popes John Paul II and John XXIII–The Process of Sainthood

The Issue

  • USAToday Article dated April 27, 2014 reported on the canonization of John XXIII and John Paul II by sitting Pope Francis

Canonization 2014

The Term Defined/Explained

  • The term “saint” or “saints” is used, depending upon the translation you are using, is used between 80-95 times
  • Qadowsh is Hebrew for “saint” or “saints” and means sacred, holy, Holy One, saint, set apart; used to describe Aaron in Number 16:1-3
  • Agios (agia or agion) is Greek for “saint” or “saints” and means holy, saints in the quality of persons or things that can be brought into or near God’s presence; of things set apart for Yehovah’s purpose and is dedicated, sacred, holy; to venerate, to revere
  • According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, saintliness does not equate to holiness. It more so has to do with a divine and lofty type of piety; a higher morality; all of which is not bound by law. Saintliness lies “in front [outside]of the Torah and is distinguished from mere obedience to Torah

Saintliness/Sainthood and the Process of Awarding Sainthood in the Catholic Tradition

  • Many non-Catholic Scholars attribute the origin of canonization and beatification (i.e., the process of awarding sainthood) to pagan deification of illustrious and extraordinary men–referred to as “apotheosis”–that is the exaltation of men to the rank of gods; generally connected to the worship of the dead
  • Early exaltation of men to divine honors were paid to living rulers in Egypt, Persia, and Chaldea; The Greeks embarked upon hero worship–that is a man by illustrious deed may become a god. This practice, in particular, spread throughout the Orient. Greece was the primary purveyor of men and women worship through her development and proliferation of mythology
  • Alexander Hyslop in his seminal work “The Two Babylons” traces the deification of men back to Semiramis, who deified her dead husband, Nimrod, and later she deified herself and her son (the birth of whom she attributed to immaculate conception) Tammuz
  • Rome took this practice of deifying men to a whole new level by deifying her emperors, which began with Caesar Augustus
  • Pope Benedict XIV strongly refuted this pagan-link awarding sainthood to the Church’s dead. The Church’s position is that canonization or beatification is bestowed upon those individuals who exercised “heroic virtue” that has been proved by “common repute for sanctity and by conclusive arguments.” Furthermore, the Church denies making gods of their so-called saints
  • The Catholic Church contends that she honors God through her saints “as the loving distributor of supernatural gifts. Additional argument in support of canonization and beatification is that if Paul asked for his followers’ help through prayer, then the prayers of the saints will have even greater effect as intercessors–“If we may beseech those who still live on earth, why not those who live in heaven?” Christ is the mediator of the Church as her common Redeemer; however, Christ is not the Church’s sole intercessor, nor is He her sole advocate, nor is He her sole mediator
  • The actual practice of canonization and beatification is a refinement of the early church fathers’ committing to writing the sufferings of the early martyrs. These writings promoted the veneration of the martyrs
  • Canonization is the public ecclesiastical veneration of individuals and contains a precept and is universally binding to the whole Church–is considered obligatory
  • Beatification on the other hand permits worship, is not universally binding, but is typically local and deemed permissive–is considered optional
  • Both canonization and beatification is heavily based upon the infallibility of the Pope
What Does the Bible Have to say About Sainthood?
  1. Saints are close to Yehovah and will accompany Jesus Christ (aka: Yeshua HaMashiach) when He returns to earth to establish His millennial kingdom–Deut. 33:2, 3; Zec. 14:5; 1 Thes. 3:13
  2. Saints are faithful to Yehovah and the Faith–Psm. 31:23
  3. Saints fear Yehovah–Psm. 34:10
  4. Yehovah preserves Saints–Psm. 37:28; 97:10; Prov. 2:8; Rom. 8:27
  5. Saints are in covenant with Yehovah–Psm. 50:5
  6. Saints may be martyred–Psm. 79:2; 116:15; Dan. 7:21, 25, 27; Acts 9:13; 26:10; Rev. 11:18; 13:7, 10; 16:6; 17:6; 18:24
  7. Saints possess joy–Psm. 132:9, 16; 149:5
  8. Saints offer praise to Yehovah–Psm. 145:10; 148:14; 149:1
  9. Saints will possess the kingdom forever–Dan. 7:18, 22
  10. Sleeping saints will be resurrected–Matt. 27:52
  11. Saints have influence in the Body of Christ–Rom. 15:31; 16:2; 1 Cor. 6:1
  12. Saints are sanctified–1 Cor. 1:2; Eph. 3:8; Rev. 19:8
  13. Saints will judge the world in the Kingdom of God–1 Cor. 6:2
  14. Saints live and practice peace–1 Cor. 14:33
  15. Saints possess an eternal inheritance–Eph. 1:18; 2:19; Col. 1:12
  16. Saints are ever growing in the Faith–Eph. 4:12: Col. 1:26; Jud. 1:3
  17. Saints are blameless–Eph. 5:3
  18. Saints keep the commandments of God and possess faith in Jesus Christ–Rev. 14:12
The Problems Associated with Canonization and Beatification of Men to Sainthood and Saint Worship and Adoration
  1.  Men can not intercede for men when they are dead, be they martyred or professing (Catholics who died peaceful deaths but accomplished great things)–Eccl. 9: 5–For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. (Ecc 9:5 ASV); Psm. 115:17; 88:10. Besides, if saints are living in heaven, why would there be need of a resurrection?
  2. there is one Mediator between God and men and His name is Jesus Christ–1 Tim. 2:5–For God is one, and the mediator of God and men one, the man Christ Jesus, (1Ti 2:5 DBY)
  3. The focus of men becomes that of dead Saints and NOT of God, His Kingdom and the living of righteous lives–Matt. 6:33–But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.  (Mat 6:33 DBY)
  4. The Pope assumes the seat of Yeshua that is given to him by men. Jesus has been exalted to the right-hand of God and given the Father’s name, power, and authority–Phil. 2:10– that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of heavenly and earthly and infernal beings, (Phi 2:10 DBY)
  5. The practice of canonization and beatification is steeped in paganism–reference the above research
  6. The practice of canonization and beatification glorifies man over God–Rom. 1:25– who changed the truth of God into falsehood, and honoured and served the creature more than him who had created it, who is blessed for ever. Amen. (Rom 1:25 DBY)
  7. True sainthood is described in the Holy Writ and qualifications are not determined by the will and preference of men

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