A million cheers as John Paul II declared ‘blessed’

We humans really know how to pile it on nice and thick, don’t we?

Earlier this week there was the “royal wedding;” in my view one of the most absurd displays of pompous triviality ever by the British, who are the best in the world at putting on such events. British royalty, who possess more wealth than many nations on Earth, put on a lavish and arrogant wedding for the son of one of the biggest goofballs in the world, Prince Charles. 

Now, yet another mob of self-important pin-heads with wealth beyond belief, the Vatican, puts on their own version of grandiosity by beatifying Pope John Paul II, bringing him one step closer to “sainthood.”

It is difficult to say which of these two events is more ridiculous; personally, I couldn’t care for either one. In both cases we have filthy rich, centuries-old establishments which contribute little if anything to those who support them (quite the contrary) while the masses look to these institutions and their iconic figures with awe, as if they were somehow special. They’re not, they’re people just like everyone else. In fact, if not for the “common people” who put popes and crowned heads on a pedestal these public figures would have no one to rule over and to look down upon.

There is no such thing as “royal blood,” just as there is no such thing as a “saint.” What there is, in great abundance, is idolatry to those who are least deserving. TGO

Refer to story below. Source: Associated Press

by Jean-Louis de la Vaissiere 

VATICAN CITY (AFP) – Pope Benedict XVI bestowed the status of “blessed” on his predecessor John Paul II on Sunday in front of a cheering crowd of a million people, putting the late pope one step away from sainthood.

A giant banner bearing a youthful portrait of the Polish pontiff was unveiled over the facade of Saint Peter’s Basilica after Benedict pronounced the formula of beatification just six years after John Paul’s death.

Eighty-seven official delegations were also in attendance and pilgrims waved flags from around the world in the sun-drenched square, reprising the chant of “Santo Subito!” (Sainthood Now!) that had been shouted at his funeral.

“We’ve come to show him we love him,” said Marta Goena, a 23-year-old fashion student who came on an overnight bus from Paris for the mass.

“John Paul was young in spirit and very close to the people,” she said.

The pope declared October 22 — the day when John Paul officially started his pontificate in 1978 — as a day for the veneration of John Paul II.

Sister Marie Simon-Pierre, the 50-year-old French nun who attributes her recovery from Parkison’s disease to the miraculous intercession of the late pope, could be seen smiling and applauding at the emotional ceremony.

Simon-Pierre’s recovery has been acknowledged as the miracle required to justify John Paul II’s beatification after years of research by the Vatican.

A second proven miracle is now required for John Paul to be declared saint, and the Vatican is already sifting through hundreds of reported miracles.

Benedict defended his decision to fast-track John Paul’s cause in his homily at the beatification mass and paid tribute to the late pope’s “strength of a titan” in defending Christianity and fighting off Marxist ideology.

On a personal note, the pope said he himself had been inspired by his predecessor, particularly for his forbearance during years of ill health.

“His example of prayer continually impressed and edified me,” he said.

“He remained deeply united to God even amid the many demands of his ministry. Then too, there was his witness in suffering. The Lord gradually stripped him of everything, yet he remained a rock,” Benedict added.

Experts said the beatification could help the Vatican burnish an image badly tarnished by paedophile priest scandals, while others have been critical of the speeding-up of a procedure that usually takes decades if not centuries.

John Paul’s pontificate helped inspire youth groups and lay religious movements, but his critics have accused him of turning a blind eye to the child abuse scandals which first erupted in the United States in 2000.

Many agree however that it was a remarkable papacy in which John Paul survived an assassination attempt in 1981, built ties with Judaism and Islam and even apologised for the mistakes and sins of the Catholic Church.

John Paul was the first non-Italian pontiff in more than four centuries. He became known for his extensive foreign travel and succeeded in giving new strength to the Church before illness sapped his energies.

He died on April 2, 2005, suffering from an acute case of Parkinson’s.

Following the mass, Benedict knelt and prayed in front of John Paul’s coffin inside Saint Peter’s. Church leaders kissed the simple wooden coffin and then a long procession of thousands of pilgrims filed past.

The coffin, which was exhumed on Friday, is expected to be laid to rest on Monday in a chapel near Michelangelo’s famous Pieta statue in the basilica.

A phial of blood John Paul’s blood, which was collected during one of his hospitalisations, was also put on display for veneration by pilgrims.

In a message to the world’s 1.1 billion Catholics ahead of Sunday’s grand ceremony, Benedict called the weekend of prayer “a feast of faith”.

Stanislaw Motyka, 62, a pilgrim wearing traditional Polish costume, said: “My only hope is to live to see him be made a saint.”

An 80-year-old Spanish cardinal who had travelled to Rome for the beatification died of a heart attack shortly before the start of the ceremony.

Tens of thousands of faithful braved rain across Poland to fete the beatification, with crowds massing around huge video screens in the capital Warsaw that beamed the three-hour long mass live from Saint Peter’s Square.

Among those attending the mass in Rome was Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who was travelling under a special exemption from a European Union travel ban imposed in 2002 over extensive human rights abuses in his country.

The presidents of Italy, Mexico and Poland were also in attendance, along with a delegation from Israel — a country with which the Holy See first established diplomatic relations under John Paul’s guidance.

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