UPDATE: PETITION TO POPE FRANCIS: Declare St. John Paul II “Doctor of the Church”!
Posted on 12 April 2015 by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf
I, Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, do hereby petition our Holy Father, Pope Francis, to declare St. John Paul II
Doctor of the Church.
I ask that St. John Paul II, who instituted the Feast of Divine Mercy, be declared Doctor of the Church on the Feast of Divine Mercy 2016, one liturgical year from today, and that he be endowed with the title
St. John Paul II should be a Doctor of the Church, because of the outstanding quality and the comprehensiveness of his opus, which includes philosophy, theology, poetry, and even drama.
St. John Paul II’s Magisterium serves, among other things, as an authoritative and comprehensive commentary on the Second Vatican Council.
His numerous encyclicals touch nearly all aspects of human life. Consider his defense of life, his defense of the Truth of Catholic teaching, his efforts toward the liberation of millions from Communist tyranny, his merciful correction of errant theologians for the protection of the faithful, his social teaching, and his defense of marriage and of the family (e.g, in Familiaris consortio).
He issued the Catechism of the Catholic Church and revised the Code of Canon Law for both the Latin and Eastern Churches. Most of all, consider his defense of the Truth of the Faith through his entire body of teaching while applying it appropriately to our times, not just to the 26 years of his pontificate, but to the 21st century.
Tens of millions, indeed hundreds of millions, look to St. John Paul II as a fixed point of Catholic Truth.
Moreover, Pope Francis, who canonized St. John Paul II, can by this gesture manifest a special relationship with the enduring Magisterium of the Saint during his own pontificate.
As Pope Francis himself wrote in the Bull of Indiction for the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, Misericordiae vultus 11:
Saint John Paul II highlighted the fact that we had forgotten the theme of mercy in today’s cultural milieu….
I urge all the faithful who read this to pray that this come to pass and that they, in their own ways, promote this petition with Pope Francis himself, as well as their local bishops and pastors.
St. John Paul II, pray for us!
A saint in my lifetime?
Somehow I do not think it will stop there with Blessed John Paul II. Whether in my lifetime or in my son's, JPII will most likely become a doctor of the Church. His Love and Responsibility alone is enough to cure the last fifty years of sexual confusion throughout the world. First things first though, and sainthood is definitely on the horizon. Once I spell out the qualifications he has for sainthood, I will also identify his qualifications for being a doctor of the Church.
As for sainthood, Pope Benedict XVI waived the first step of Karol Wojtyla's beatification process by vouching for his status as "Servant of God" before a five-year post-mortem period. Therefore, JPII was qualified to be the "servant of the servants of God" just by means of his office on earth. But, what set him apart from other popes who held the same office? The answer lies in the other steps of the process.
The second step deals with the life of 'heroic virtue' that Karol Wojtyla lived out on a daily basis. He lived through the Nazi invasion of Poland, the Cold War, an assassination attempt...the list goes on and on to show how valiant were his daily thoughts and actions! The declaration of the Church of 'Venerable' is the exact name given to potential saints at this stage.
Thirdly, the title of 'Blessed'--which Karol Wojtyla has already merited--applies to a potential saint who readily identifies with a proven miracle. In this case, the intercession of JPII has effectively healed two people with Parkinson's disease--the first being a french nun, and the second a former mayor from Columbia.
Two or more miracles are necessary for the Pope to proclaim JPII a saint. Currently, the Vatican is investigating numerous miracles attributed to JPII, and his cause is truly on the fast track ever since Benedict XVI waived the five year waiting period. In fact, it is speculated that Pope Francis may proclaim Karol Wojtyla a saint at the upcoming WYD in Rio De Janiero!
Again, I believe that Blessed John Paul II's cause will not end with just sainthood. Much more evidence exists for the argument that he will become a doctor of the Church before too long.
There are three requirements for being named a doctor of the Church:
(1) Great Sanctity. Only those who have already been declared to be saints by the Church may receive this
(2) Eminent Learning. Those who are declared doctors of the Church are known to be great teachers of the
(3) Proclamation by the Church. Typically, such proclamation is made by the Pope.
*Notes on the above reqs: Nearly everyone who saw or heard of Karol Wojtyla can attest to his holiness. Even his childhood jewish friend, Jerzy Kluger, testifies of his holiness from the time he was ten years old (see my previous post).
As for his being a great teacher, he was responsible for making the catechism available to the layman in an updated, succint, and revitalized fashion. Not to mention, JPII's Theology of the Body and encyclicals speak for themselves to every generation that enquires into the fundamental truths of the human person.
Lastly, anyone with authority in the Church, especially Popes Benedict and Francis, will attest to JPII's merits.
Without a doubt, I believe that Karol Wojtyla will not only become a saint, but also become a doctor of the Church.