REFLECTION: John XXIII and John Paul II, united in heaven



by Thomas Reese, S.J. in NCR

As everyone in the Catholic church gets ready to celebrate the canonization of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II, I feel like a party pooper because I think canonizing popes is a dumb idea.

Saints are supposed to be models of sanctity for Christians to imitate, but who can a pope be a model for except another pope? And that is exactly the problem.


I fear that the people pushing hardest for the canonization of a pope want him made a saint so he can be presented as the ideal pope that future popes should imitate. It is more about church politics than sanctity.

Making a pope a saint is a way of strengthening his legacy, making it more difficult for future popes to change policies that he put in place. “How can you dare to change what St. Whoever established?”

This is…

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