John Paul's beatification celebrated

2011-05-03 14:00

Vatican City - For the second straight day, Roman Catholic faithful filled St Peter's Square in an outpouring of thanks for the fast beatification of John Paul II, a joyous celebration of the much-loved late pontiff.

"We thank the Lord for having given us a saint like himself," Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican's No 2, said to a cheering crowd on Monday estimated by the Vatican at 60 000, more than half of them from John Paul's native Poland.

The beatification on Sunday, the fastest in modern history, came six years after John Paul's 2005 funeral drew calls of "Santo Subito!" or "Sainthood Immediately!" It drew 1.5 million people from across the globe, one of the largest Vatican celebrations ever and a testament to the popularity of the globe-trotting and charismatic pope.

The Mass on Monday began with a procession in St Peter's Square of bishops and cardinals in gold and white vestments. They walked beneath a large colourful photo of a youthful John Paul that was unveiled in an emotional moment during the beatification and now hangs from the loggia of the basilica.

One cleric carried aloft a relic, a vial of blood taken from John Paul for medical tests shortly before his death. A key feature of beatification ceremonies, the relic will be available for the faithful to venerate.

Pope John Paul II's longtime secretary, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, thanked Pope Benedict XVI for responding to the call of the faithful for the speedy beatification. The Polish cardinal also recalled that John Paul had "shed his blood for the cause of Christ" in the same square 30 years ago when he was wounded in an attempted assassination by a Turkish gunman.

Physical weakness

In his homily, Bertone recalled how John Paul, who suffered from Parkinson's disease, served as a model of saintly life when he lost "his physical strength, his expressiveness, the ability to move, even his speech".

"He knew that his physical weakness showed even more clearly the Christ who works in history," Bertone said

Among the faithful in the square was a Polish priest, Jozef Maciag, who said he wanted to thank John Paul for his role in helping bring down communism, and for giving him the inspiration to devote his own life to God.

"I came here to thank God for the pope's ministry, which touched my own life," Maciag said.

After Monday's Mass, the basilica opened again to allow the faithful to file past John Paul's simple wooden coffin, which was placed in front of the main altar and flanked by four Swiss Guards.

The Vatican said more than 250 000 people paid their respects between Sunday's beatification Mass and 03:00 on Monday, when the basilica was closed. The pope had been buried in the grottoes underneath the church, but his closed casket was brought to the church's centre aisle ahead of the beatification.

On Monday evening, in a private ceremony, the late pope's remains were moved to a new resting place under the altar of St Sebastian's chapel in the basilica near Michelangelo's famed Pieta marble sculpture, the Vatican said.

  • CHIPPER_CHAP - 2011-05-03 14:32

    Phewwwwwwwwwww, one more idol added to the list of many....

  • John - 2011-05-03 15:02

    I prayed to my cat and got healed. Now she is a saint in my eyes!

  • Matt - 2011-05-03 15:14

    Catholicism is an embarrassment to Christianity. The Bible says clearly that ANYONE who believes upon Jesus is a saint. ANYONE. This whole thing about performing miracles after they died is baloney! In fact, even blasphemous because "beatification and sainthood" is after certain people pray to other dead people to get healed - which goes 100% and then some against the very core of Christianity (Jesus said in John 14:6 "no man cometh unto the father but by me" - ergo, not through anyone else). Dear Catholics, there is a God and He loves everyone, but that church has been telling you a whole load of porkies. Read the Bible yourself and you'll be amazed just how many fibs you've been fed. Purgatory, read Luke 16:20 onwards. Rosary, read Matthew 6. Whom to pray to, John 14. God be with you. Just for the record - let's say that 3 people in Zimbabwe prayed to Mugabe for healing after he finally died. According to Catholic doctrine, he would become a Catholic Saint. Just food for thought...

      Matt - 2011-05-03 15:16

      Just to say, that wasn't an attack of Catholic people, I love them - it's the church and their doctrine which infuriates me...

      James - 2011-05-03 15:53

      "Catholicism is an embarrassment to Christianity." really?

      Matt - 2011-05-03 16:04

      @ James - really... simply by definition - Christianity = worship of Jesus, only begotten Son of God. Not worship of Mary, deification of the Pope, prayer to Lady Fatima, St Jude or in this case even a dead Pope. I come from the UK originally and the lines are blurred, "Christianity" includes Christians, Catholics, Orthodoxes, as well as various cults. so just look at a strand's core beliefs and relate it to what Christianity is, namely that simply faith in Jesus dying for your sins and being you Lord and Saviour is what gets you into heaven, finish and klaar. I've known many Catholics in my time and what really angers me is that they are taught from young NOT to read the Bible. When you show them the Bible, they are shocked to tears. The Bible actually says that the Word of God is free for ALL to read. Also, they're taught that they are UNABLE to comprehend the Bible (ie. too dumb) and the Priest has to do it. Bible says that ALL who believe upon Christ are able to be priests. And the Bible is very clear to read. I've known some "I are" Afrikaners who read the 17th Century English KJV and understood it perfectly. The RC Church is very afraid, because any follower who reads the Bible will see for themselves what is true... Other nice examples - Catechism (Catholic-approved "study") giving followers NINE commandments (removed the 3rd on idolatry and split the 10th into 2), or saying that Catholics will BECOME God (!!!) ... scary stuff. But God loves us ALL.

  • Sydney - 2011-05-03 19:15

    Saintwood or beatification is grossly unbiblical...there's no scriptural basis to support what the Vatican is doing. According to Jesus' own words in John 17, "You are sanctified by the words, I have spoken to you!"...the Bible further says; "if a man is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old is gone; and behold ALL things are made new!" Please people read the Scriptures for yourself and stop following all these false prophets. You can never bless a dead body, purify and declare it a "saint"...The Scriptures says, "the dead know nothing, they are dead with all their wickedness, greed, grudges, etc, etc" I rest my case...

      Matt - 2011-05-04 08:58

      But Sydney, most of the Catholic religion is unbiblical. Timothy said that in the last days there will be an apostasy that forbids its clergy to marry and to abstain from meats (RCs don't eat meat on Fridays). RCs teach Mary was sin-free, yet in Luke 2 it said she atoned for her sins and later on she asked Jesus, her own son, to save her; they teach you go to hell and pay for your own sins (purgatory) but Luke 16 says this is impossible; they teach the priest is holy ("father" - calling anyone other than God your so-called holy father is blasphemy) but the Bible says all believers are priests; they teach confession - pay the priest, confess and "you are forgiven"; the Bible says only God has the power to forgive sins. Where does it end...

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