New Pope, new rules

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles ) | Apr 28, 2006

Ed Peters, who runs an informative blog on canon-law issues, thinks that yesterday's story, about Pope Benedict's new, tougher standards for beatification, is much more important than it might seem at first glance. I think he's right:

Of those matters we know anything about (an important qualification when discussing papal activities), Benedict XVI's letter to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints seems to me to be one of the most important things he's done to date. It is certainly shows the clearest difference between him and John Paul II to emerge so far. Benedict XVI could have communicated his concerns about the beatification and canonization process in a simple telephone call; instead he wrote a short treatise on the topic. The world was meant to take notice.

Ed's full explanation is here.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: Quadratus - May. 01, 2006 3:25 PM ET USA

    We need more lay Saints. I agree that there is a “cloud of witnesses” of unrecognized Saints in heaven, people that lived their sanctity in anonymity and in their quiet way. They are now enjoying heaven.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 30, 2006 2:41 AM ET USA

    There are a lot of unrecognized Saints that will have a close seat to our Father in heaven. There are recognized Saints who were appointed with an eye towards the publicity of geopolitical pride as much as towards the publicity of Saintly immitations of Christ. We can never have too many Saints, though, and I applaud JPII's initiative in praising some of many who live in and for Christ. I pray every day for the Beautification (in process) and Canonization of Luisa Piccarreta.

  • Posted by: Quadratus - Apr. 28, 2006 4:44 PM ET USA

    Benedict is clear in his statements and policies. He is no traditionalist but he is neither a liberal (in the current sense). He is a theologian deeply committed to Vatican II and a person who wants to engage the modern world with the truth. Yet we need a little of the “panzer” pope to clear the smoke of Satan, rife in many corners of the Church, specially in America. He is a great pope but we need to wait and see.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 28, 2006 3:55 PM ET USA

    My guess is that this is not a new item for Benedict XVI - he is one to be clear in his explaination, so there is no guessing what he means. Refreshing isn't it! He is very clear and you know by his answers or his discussion that he has thought this through carefully and there is no doubt in his mind. What a gift - for him and for us!

  • Posted by: Quadratus - Apr. 28, 2006 2:30 PM ET USA

    Benedict XVI is his own person and therefore his leadership style is very different from JPII. He is not charismatic, he lacks the physical attractiveness that JPII had in the first years. He is actually, I think, contrary to general perception, more liberal in his outlook. We have to remember that in the sixties and early seventies Ratzinger was considered a progressive theologian. He is a true son of Vatican II. Liberalism moved way to the left and left Ratizinger right of center.