Rorate Caeli

May 19: What? A Pope with a lousy Pontificate
should never be beatified, or canonized!

From (double!) coronation to abdication, a terrible pontificate, with far-reaching dangerous consequences - from the biography of Pope Saint Celestine V (Peter Celestine - Pietro da Murrone), who died on May 19, 1296:
In reply to the request of the cardinals, that he should come to Perugia to be crowned, Pietro, at the instigation of Charles, summoned the Sacred College to meet him at Aquila, a frontier town of the Kingdom of Naples. Reluctantly they came, and one by one, Gaetani being the last to appear. Seated on an humble ass, the rope held by two monarchs, the new pontiff proceeded to Aquila, and, although only three of the cardinals had arrived, the king ordered him to be crowned, a ceremony which had to be repeated in traditional form some days later, the only instance of a double papal coronation. Cardinal Latino was so grief-stricken at the course which affairs were evidently taking that he fell sick and died. Pietro took the name of Celestine V. Urged by the cardinals to cross over into the States of the Church, Celestine, again at the behest of the king, ordered the entire Curia to repair to Naples. It is wonderful how many serious mistakes the simple old man crowded into five short months. We have no full register of them, because his official acts were annulled by his successor. On the 18th of September he created twelve new cardinals, seven of whom were French, and the rest, with one possible exception, Neapolitans, thus paving the road to Avignon and the Great Schism. Ten days later he embittered the cardinals by renewing the rigorous law of Gregory X, regulating the conclave, which Adrian V had suspended. He is said to have appointed a young son of Charles to the important See of Lyons, but no trace of such appointment appears in Gams or Eubel. At Monte Cassino on his way to Naples, he strove to force the Celestine hermit-rule on the monks; they humoured him while he was with them. At Benevento he created the bishop of the city a cardinal, without observing any of the traditional forms. Meanwhile he scattered privileges and offices with a lavish hand. Refusing no one, he was found to have granted the same place or benefice to three or four rival suitors; he also granted favours in blank. In consequence, the affairs of the Curia fell into extreme disorder. Arrived in Naples, he took up his abode in a single apartment of the Castel Nuovo, and on the approach of Advent had a little cell built on the model of his beloved hut in the Abruzzi. But he was ill at ease. Affairs of State took up time that ought to be devoted to exercises of piety. He feared that his soul was in danger. The thought of abdication seems to have occurred simultaneously to the pope and to his discontented cardinals, whom he rarely consulted.
...
Some years after his canonization by Clement V in 1313, his remains were transferred from Ferentino to the church of his order at Aquila, where they are still the object of great veneration. His feast is celebrated on 19 May.
(Catholic Encyclopedia)
Wait a second: he was canonized just 17 years after his death? Now, there is a process ripe for reexamination.

42 comments:

Jordanes551 said...

Touche, NC.

Auricularis said...

Just what heroic acts or virtues did Celestine V actually possess? Reading this account, doesn't seem to answer this for me.

Richard said...

There are important differences between Pope St. Celestine V and Blessed Pope John Paul II: Pope Celestine V resigned the papacy because he strongly felt incapable of continuing to reign as pope. Pope John Paul II also contemplated resigning on account of his illness, but never did. After resigning the papacy, his successor, Pope Boniface VIII had him arrested and imprisoned in a narrow cell where he lived for nine months in prayer and fasting until he died. Clearly, he was a bad pope in the sense that he was completely unprepared and unqualified for the task. But he was humble enough to realize his shortcomings, and he cut short his reign before he could do any serious damage to the church. Eventually, he spent more time imprisoned (9 months) than he did as pope (5 months). The mistakes that he committed during his time pale in comparison do the excesses during that occurred during John Paul's pontificate. Just the same though, a bad pontificate does not necessarily disqualify a pope from beatification.

Alexander said...

John Paul II is also different in so far as his actions and writings are problematic towards the Faith itself.

Just think of the Assisi meetings, kissing the Qur'an or asking St. John the Baptist to protect Islam. These mistakes are drastically different in nature as they reflect something that contradicts dogmatic faith - at least implicitly and/or unintentionally.

Jordanes551 said...

Whatever the failings and shortcomings of John Paul II's pontificate (and let's at least be accurate about one of his scandals -- he kissed "a copy of" the Quran, but never kissed "the" Quran, and anyway in his writings he criticised Islam's false teachings), those who assert that the Church's beatification of John Paul II was a mistake or was invalid ought to be consistent and attack Holy Mother Church for canonising the undeniably saintly Celestine, who was an abysmal failure of a pope and was unintentional godfather of the Babylonian Captivity of the Papacy and the Great Schism of the West, two of the worst calamities ever to befall the Church.

Historical perspective is always helpful.

Jordanes551 said...

But he was humble enough to realize his shortcomings, and he cut short his reign before he could do any serious damage to the church. Eventually, he spent more time imprisoned (9 months) than he did as pope (5 months).

The reason for his imprisonment, of course, is that he briefly wavered and was contemplating reclaiming the office he had resigned. And in his five-month papacy, he did manage to do some serious damage to the Church.

Nothing fatal nor permanent, of course -- the worst pope imaginable could never do anything that bad. We can rest of Christ's promises to St. Peter.

Neal said...

I'm not sure I understand the difference between "the Quran" and "a copy of the Quran". I have a copy of the Bible on my shelf; is this different from having the Bible on my shelf?

Hieronymus said...

There is an IMMENSE difference between these two. One was an old hermit/monk whose sanctity was widely recognized, and on account of that he was the only person agreeable to the factions who had been arguing over the election of a new pope for more than 2 years. His incredibly short papacy came at the very end of a long and fruitful life as a monk (and monastic father), and was really more a footnote to the rest of his life.

The other had a typical ecclesiastical career and reigned as pope for more than 25 years. It is impossible to consider his life separately from his papacy.

Alexander said...

Whatever the failings and shortcomings of John Paul II's pontificate (and let's at least be accurate about one of his scandals -- he kissed "a copy of" the Quran, but never kissed "the" Quran, and anyway in his writings he criticised Islam's false teachings), those who assert that the Church's beatification of John Paul II was a mistake or was invalid ought to be consistent and attack Holy Mother Church for canonising the undeniably saintly Celestine, who was an abysmal failure of a pope and was unintentional godfather of the Babylonian Captivity of the Papacy and the Great Schism of the West, two of the worst calamities ever to befall the Church.

Historical perspective is always helpful.


My comment still stands. In addition to what Hieronymus has said I will add:

Actions that are somehow contrary to the faith are different from ones that are not. The similarities are there yes but I don't see Celestine unintentionally influencing indifferentism nor do I see him asking a Saint to protect a false religion nor kissing “a copy” of the Qur'an which, as the majority of Roman Catholics are from the West, has confusing results. I have even read of a missionary priest who purposely does not evangelize people because he cites JPII's Assisi meetings.

Does anyone do things against the faith and cite St. Celestine to back them up? Did St. Celestine engage in ambiguous actions or writings that confuse people about who can be saved? Did St. Celestine allow liturgical abuse to go on in his own papal Masses which can “hurt the faith” as a recent Cardinal describes it? Did St. Celestine ask a Saint to protect a false religion that is in opposition to Christ's intentions? These rhetorical questions should clearly indicate what I am trying to say. Both Papacies are administrative disasters arguably but only one had actions and writings that on the surface appeared to be in conflict with the faith even though unintentionally so.

Anonymous said...

Ok, how about the traditional position that canonization is infallible??!!

St. Celestine V is a saint, plain and simple. The fact that he is canonized is enough, and therefore negates any and all concerns about the canonization proces. Making saints is God's work, not man's. Likewise it will be, Deo volente, with blessed JP II, to whoms memory I find this article a very cheap shot - without having the guts to mention him, without attacking his administration (where he certainly made errors), attacking his sanctity.

Sanctity and being a good administrator are two wholly seperate things. Live with it.

Anonymous said...

Auricularis! He's *Saint* Celestine V, not "Celestiine V"! Unlike our last Pope, he has been canonised. While his pontificate was less than perfect, at least he never asked St. John the Baptist to protect Islam, never prayed with infidels, never changed the Sacred Liturgy to suit rabbis, never kissed the blasphemous Qu'ran, never received a blessing from a Hindu priestess, never confected the Blessed Sacrament before topless dancing girls in Ghana, and never organised the abominable World Youth Woodstocks.

If John Paul II is a beatus, we can only call this earlier Pope, St. Celestine the Great.

P.K.T.P.

Anonymous said...

Just think: Had John Paul the Small abdicated as well, he would be fit for canonisation.

Of course, this teaches us something else as well: Celestine V and John Paul II may well hve been saints but that does not mean that their elevations were prudent or wise.

P.K.T.P.

Anonymous said...

For those who might think that the time of the popes in Avignon (then part of the Papal States) was merely the "Babylonian Captivity of the Papacy", I remind them that Rome was in the 14th century a totally insecure place. Avignon blossomed into a beautiful Papal city where most of the Papal ceremonial developed...the splendid Papal Mass we would love to see revived.

Anonymous said...

Jordanes's comment about kissing a copy of the Qu'ran is curious indeed. Where is the original? This is a question you don't dare ask a Muslim. They think that there is one but nobody seems to know where it is.

Odd also how Jordanes, in his usual defence of neo-con positions, has invented a defence which differs from the one given by Joaquin Navarro Valls at the time: it was said that it was a kiss of respect, not of reverence. The problem is that we don't kiss objects (persons, yes) merely to show respect. A lame excuse.

To be fair to John Paul II on this, I think that he was merely trying to be pleasant and diplomatic and acted before due consideration. I've done that sort of thing myself and it can happen to anyone. You realise after-the-fact that your action unintentionally sent the wrong message. But, really, a more credible explanation should have followed, even a statement of regret for causing any scandal or confusion. We never got one.

Of course, the praying together of separate prayers at Assisi could *not* have been an honest mistake and caused widespread scandal and confusion.

P.K.T.P.

New Catholic said...

07:46 Anon:

I really, really, really, really think you missed our point...

F.G.S.A. said...

History...pray who the successor of Celestine V was and what was the characteristic of his pontificate? What about the libels against Celestine that appeared under Boniface that maligned him? What about the fact a section of the Franciscans and other religious orders venerated assiduously the memory of Celestine V?

History and honesty. If your standard is the Catholic Encyclopaedia...

I think i understand the point of your post, but these are two different contexts altogether.

But, oh, of course, i forgot whose hero Boniface is...

New Catholic said...

"I think i understand the point of your post, but these are two different contexts altogether."

Yes, that is always the case in human affairs...

Gideon Ertner said...

'"The problem is that we don't kiss objects (persons, yes) merely to show respect. A lame excuse.'

PKTP, will you please stop letting your know-it-all attitude get ahead of you all the time? That Qu'ran was a gift someone presented him with. It is actually the custom in some cultures (including, I am told, the Polish) to kiss gifts as a sign of respect for the giver.

Bl. John Paul II made many mistakes, but let's not multiply them unjustly. At any rate, his mistakes were errors of judgment, not crimes against the Faith. His writings show clearly that he had nothing but good intentions with anything he did, though unfortunately his heroic virtue was somewhat lacking in one particular aspect, namely prudence.

Waiting for Pope Piux XIII said...

Gideon Ertner,
While it may well be true that kissing gifts out of respect for the giver is a cultural custom for many, that does not change the grave problem here.

Religious truth reigns over any cultural customs. A Supreme Pontiff's first commitment must be to the faith and to the Catholic faithful, including studiously avoiding all hint of scandal and confusion. There can be no justifying basis or excuse for a Supreme Pontiff to kiss a religious book containing religious errors. He could show basic respect to non-Catholics in other ways.

Br. Anthony, T.O.S.F. said...

To compare St. Celestine's pontificate to John Paul II's is like comparing apples to beef. Pope John Paul II sinned most greviously against the Catholic Faith on countless occasions, and publicly to boot. Oh - who knows how many souls have been condemned to hell because of his example. His pontificate will go down in history as one of the worst. I honestly expect his "beatification" to be revoked by a future pope.

Bernonius said...

Why, what a handy distinction, and one that could have been right useful in many a sticky situation: "Why get yourself killed over this? Just spit on it -- it's not really Jesus on the Cross, just a copy."

Anonymous said...

I must agree with Anon 7:46 :

"Sanctity and being a good administrator are two wholly seperate things. Live with it."

As far as I know, Celestine V was deemed a saint already BEFORE his election as pope when he was a famous hermit (he never was a cardinal); he was very reluctant to accept the election and stepped down by himself as another proof of his exemplary humility. Not for being ill.
Besides he could have been murdered on request of his successor the not holy at all Boniface VIII after unfair imprisonment.
Humility and suffering through the Church seem to have been his heroic virtues and truly heroic. That is probably the sole link with contemporary Church.

The founder of a religious order who spent 5 months as a pope has, to me, nearly nothing in common with Bl. John Paul II.

The concept of "lousy pontificate" is also easily dismissed. For a vast majority of "Catholics" and probably of bishops today : Pius X and Pius XII would be painted as "lousy pontificates", not forgetting Pius IX time.
However I'm personnally not excited by the "santo subito" present trend to canonize a pope as soon as he is elected or nearly. To make saints nearly automatically out of all XIX-XXIst century popes is a bit weird to me.
That being said, the Church has decided and for saints the case is closed.

nb. Paul VI went to pray before his tomb and that raised speculations upon a possible demission.

Alsaticus

New Catholic said...

Godspeed, Giles! May Our Lady stay with you at all times.

---

Alsaticus: different times ask for different qualities... Or for the same qualities, yet expressed in different ways. Yes, Pietro da Murrone was a holy man, and was recognized thus by his contemporaries; yes, he was also a bad administrator in his short time as Pontiff- but his record as Pontiff did not prevent the Church from recognizing his holiness; and, indeed, did not prevent him from growing in holiness. Which is why he is duly enrolled as a saint as Pope and Confessor, because indeed he was both. That is all.

I am not disagreeing with you here; as always, I admire all that you say.

NC

Jordanes551 said...

I'm not sure I understand the difference between "the Quran" and "a copy of the Quran". I have a copy of the Bible on my shelf; is this different from having the Bible on my shelf?

Yes, obviously. But that's not the point. The point is that it is common for traditionalists to speak carelessly and less than accurately about Blessed John Paul II kissing "the Quran," language which can mean that he approves of the Quran as something sacred (something anyone who cares about the truth can readily find out is not true), whereas in fact all we know is that he kissed the copy of the Quran that had been presented to him as a gift. Now that of itself is an occasion of scandal, but at least let's be accurate and fair when we object to things that he did.

Both Papacies are administrative disasters arguably but only one had actions and writings that on the surface appeared to be in conflict with the faith even though unintentionally so.

It should take more than the mere appearance of conflict with the Faith. Anyway your rhetorical questions do not touch the point of this posting. How can the flaws and errors of judgment of John Paul II's pontificate render his beatification invalid when the flaws and errors of judgment of St. Celestine's pontificate don't call in question his canonisation?

Odd also how Jordanes, in his usual defence of neo-con positions,

Lovely traditionalist shibboleth there, Mr. Perkins. As usual you misapprehended my words and have applied an erroneous, and strictly speaking meaningless, classification.

has invented a defence which differs from the one given by Joaquin Navarro Valls at the time:

I didn't offer a defense at all. I merely advised us to be accurate and fair in our criticisms.

it was said that it was a kiss of respect, not of reverence. The problem is that we don't kiss objects (persons, yes) merely to show respect.

Whaddayamean "we," kemosabe?

To be fair to John Paul II on this, I think that he was merely trying to be pleasant and diplomatic and acted before due consideration. I've done that sort of thing myself and it can happen to anyone. You realise after-the-fact that your action unintentionally sent the wrong message.

Yes, I think your appraisal is probably correct. Also, wasn't he receiving and kissing other gifts at that time? If so, what would it have said to the Quran givers that their gift was the only one not kissed in appreciation? I suspect this was going to be an occasion of scandal to someone no matter what he did or didn't do.

But, really, a more credible explanation should have followed, even a statement of regret for causing any scandal or confusion. We never got one.

Perhaps its because he was of the sincere opinion that there was no real need to explain or state any regret for kissing a gift, or he didn't want to say anything that would offend or embarrass the givers of the gift. We can only guess. Personally I think the Quran-kissing incident is one of the least if not the least of his scandals. Far, far more disturbing and confusing were the Assisi gatherings, his entertaining Von Balthasar's "Dare We Hope" speculations, and his introduction of female altar boys.

I honestly expect his "beatification" to be revoked by a future pope.

Dream on, Anthony. The Church doesn't revoke beatifications. The most that traditionalists and liberals can hope for now is that his canonisation cause be stalled indefinitely -- something that is by no means inconceivable.

Jordanes551 said...

"his introduction of female altar boys."

To apply the standard of accuracy and fairness to myself, I should have said approval rather than introduction, since they had already been introduced illicitly prior to his approving them. Anyway it was not a good thing.

Albertus said...

All of Celestine's blunders were administrative and politic - he was simply unfit to be pope, which he thanked God realised, abdicating five months after his coronation. John Paul II's many mistakes were not merely adminsitrative (many of those!), but also liturgical and doctrinal: no other Pope in history pretended to be head of all the world's religions, which JPII showed by his public deeds that he considered them equal. Had Benedict XVI only waited ''a mere 17 years'' to canonsie him!

I am not Spartacus said...

Dom Gueranger, "The Liturgical Year,"; has the Canonisation of Celestine occurring 11 years after his death.

And after he died, "..the apparition of an exceedingly bright cross, which hovered over the door of his cell."

As far as we know, he never Kissed the Koran.

Johannes said...

Gideon - kissing a gift? Cultural habit? That is your explanation? So if I give a Polish man an autographed copy of Mein Kampf he will instinctively kiss it? He knew what the book was; he kissed it. Let us leave it here and insult no one's intelligence.

Anonymous said...

New Catholic,

You wished my friend Giles (I've been wondering where he's been) "Godspeed", but I do not see his comment...

Delphina

Adrienne said...

Everything a Pope does 'counts' - because the eyes and ears of all of the faithful are either edified or scandalized by his actions -- and actions speak louder than words.

I choose to pray for JPII's soul out of Christian [a.k.a.= Catholic] Charity, rather than take for granted even one of the many scandals that none of which he publicly recanted, to my knowledge.

Although it is between Jesus and he regarding his soul, it is up to us to pray for him, especially due to these public scandals of his Pontificate. Celestine V had one up on JPII: he realized his errors and incompetency and abdicated. Whether or not he would have decided to return as Pope is not clear; but JPII remained until the end and continued his scandalous, at best, actions; and his writing efforts seemed to me disjointed rambling, or at least deliberately ambiguous, just as Vatican II from which he came, under which he served, and from whence he left on his last day.

We need not compare Popes to authenticate either or any Pontificate; each Pope must stand alone as he does before Jesus, the great Judge.

Adrienne said...

Francis - I believe you are corect about a future Pope revoking this Pontificate -- and "others', too.

May Jesus have mercy.

Anonymous said...

Foolish drivel on the part of all questioning the validity of the Beatification. John Paul II is in heaven and has worked at least ONE miracle. Roma locuta est, causa finita est.

@ Adrienne,

What arrogance. Electing to pray "for" someone who has been confirmed to be in heaven. You should be ashamed of yourself for such Protestant nonsense.

Anonymous said...

Jordanes writes:

"Perhaps its because he was of the sincere opinion that there was no real need to explain or state any regret for kissing a gift, or he didn't want to say anything that would offend or embarrass the givers of the gift. We can only guess."

That won't pass muster. After his action was repeated on Iranian television over and over and over again as proof of his acceptance of Islam and after public reaction was very strong, Navarro Valls should have been instructed to issue a more comprehensive letter of regret for any confusion caused by mistake. Keep in mind that the action had an œcumenical context in his other actions (we had Buddha over the Tabernacle at Assisi, the topless dancing girls of Ghana during the Consecration, the blessing by the Hindu priestess).

And no, we don't kiss objects to show respect. In the Catholic Church, we kiss to show reverence. We kiss rosaries, Missals, chaplets, blessed medals--not bananas, birthday presnts and Qu'rans. We might kiss the gift-giver (in some European cultures) but kissing the gift is odd.

The incident caused widespread scandal. Therefore, it called for a clear explanation or statement of regret for confusion caused inadvertently. He didn't mind apologising for our ancestors' sins. How about a clarification for his own misleading behaviour?

P.K.T.P.

Jordanes551 said...

After his action was repeated on Iranian television over and over and over again as proof of his acceptance of Islam

Yes, and I'm sure everyone in Iran believed that John Paul II had become a Muslim. . . .

and after public reaction was very strong,

Or rather a minority had a very strong reaction . . . .

(we had Buddha over the Tabernacle at Assisi,

Temporarily and without authorisation -- but then the Assisi gatherings were futile at best.

And no, we don't kiss objects to show respect.

Whaddayamean "we," kemosabe?

In the Catholic Church, we kiss to show reverence. We kiss rosaries, Missals, chaplets, blessed medals--not bananas, birthday presnts and Qu'rans.

What you say is true in liturgical and paraliturgical contexts, but false outside of those contexts. Or put another way, he did not kiss a Quran "in the Catholic Church." To be accurate, you ought to have said, "I, Peter Karl T. Perkins, do not kiss bananas, birthday presents, and Qurans." But your personal preferences and habits are not mandatory or normative for anyone else, no, not even for the pope.

He didn't mind apologising for our ancestors' sins. How about a clarification for his own misleading behaviour?

I think he'll have to get back to you on that one if you ever get to where he is.

Jordanes551 said...

no other Pope in history pretended to be head of all the world's religions,

No Pope has ever pretended to be head of all the world's religions.

Catholics don't believe that any pope, no matter how grievously flawed, is the Antichrist.

Prof. Basto said...

Pope St. Celestine V was a holy man, who lived a life of heroic virtue, even if this humble man didn't have the qualities of an able pope. He himself realized that and, in a Papal decision that we are not to judge, decided to resign the Papacy.

Though he abdicated the Chair of Peter, he was a Pope, and as such is recorded in the ecclesiastical calendars, and his Mass, in the traditional rite, is a Mass "Si diligis Me".

For a more simpathetic account of the life of this Saint than New Catholic's, an account that actually mentions the virtues that the Church found in him when She canonized this holy man, see: http://www.ewtn.com/library/mary/celestin.htm

Also, it is perhaps worth remembering that, when the reigning Pope, Benedict XVI, visited Aquila in the aftermath of the recent earthquake one or two years ago, the Supreme Pontiff visited the tomb of Celestine V in the Cathedral of Aquila, and laid in the tombstone of this holy Pontiff the (Marini) pallium with which he (Benedict XVI) was invested in his inauguration Mass.

As for the comparison with bl. John Paul II, Richard's analisys is precise. Now, regarding Celestine V, one must remember that even BEFORE his election to the See of Rome his fame of holiness was already widespread.

Much like Mother Theresa in our times, Pietro da Morrone, the future Celestine V, a hermit, was regarded as a man of extreme humility and holiness; that's why the cardinals, under inspiration from the Holy Spirit, after a deadlock between rival factions, turned to him and elected him Pope.

The problem was that, although he continued to live a holy life, and a very humble life, he was not a capable administrator of ecclesiastical affairs. After recognizing this and resigning, his successor, fearing rivalry with a still living predecessor, had Celestine jailed. He spent what was left of his earthly life in prayer.

Celestine V is a model; the ecclesiastical carrerists are not a model.

St. Celestine V, pray for us to God.

New Catholic said...

Thanks, Prof. Basto...

Perhaps I should have been clearer and tried to be less "amusing" in the post...

Sancte Petre Celestine, ora pro nobis.

Jordanes551 said...

Pope St. Celestine V was a holy man, who lived a life of heroic virtue, . . . .

The Church has also declared that John Paul II lived a life of heroic virtue.

Prof. Basto said...

Jordanes551,

Perhaps no one is being clear today. I don't deny that John Paul II lived a life of heroic virtue.

I have always held that personally he was a holy man, and that, in spite of the shortcomings of his pontificate (that also had virtues), personal holiness alone could suffice for canonization.

And even if I held a different opinion on April 30, I would have changed my mind on May 1st, because I want to submit in all things to the judgement of the Church.

Michael said...

Jordanes:

Regarding your comment about John Paul II "not approving of the Quran as something sacred," I would hope he did not.

But it seems difficult to construe the following words of his successor otherwise, at least according to their plain and obvious meaning:

"In the Muslim world, this quotation has unfortunately been taken as an expression of my personal position, thus arousing understandable indignation. I hope that the reader of my text can see immediately that this sentence does not express my personal view of the Qur’an, for which I have the respect due to the holy book of a great religion." (Pope Benedict XVI, September 12, 2006, my emphasis)

Jordanes551 said...

Thanks, Prof. Basto. I didn't think you denied Blessed John Paul II's heroic virtue, but I know there are those who visit and/or comment here who question that or argue against his beatification in spite of it. Though I'm far more inclined to ask for St. Peter Celestine's intercession than Blessed John Paul's, still I accept his beatification and do not presume to criticise the Church's decision. (There are other, far weightier decisions the Church has made in the past four or five decades that I'm more inclined to criticise, or at least to believe were less than prudent or edifying.)

Jordanes551 said...

Regarding your comment about John Paul II "not approving of the Quran as something sacred," I would hope he did not.

No need for hope -- we know he did not.

"In the Muslim world, this quotation has unfortunately been taken as an expression of my personal position, thus arousing understandable indignation. I hope that the reader of my text can see immediately that this sentence does not express my personal view of the Qur’an, for which I have the respect due to the holy book of a great religion." (Pope Benedict XVI, September 12, 2006, my emphasis)

The plain and obvious meaning is that he respects the Quran as the holy book of a great religion, not that he accepts the Quran as holy on account of it being of divine origin. It cannot be rationally maintained that Islam is not a "great" religion (meaning that it has been and still is of profound influence in the world) and that the Quran is Islam's holy book, that is, Muslim's believe it to be holy.

It is ignorant at best, mendacious at worst, to construe Pope Benedict's words as a statement of acceptance of the Quran as truly sacred and divinely inspired. Anyone who honestly thinks his words could have that meaning has no business reading or talking about papal declarations of any sort.