The full essay is here. It was written (by request of CNN) in response to Pope Francis’ announcement that he would canonize both Pope John-Paul II and John XXIII this year in one ceremony. The latter one caught most people by surprise (including me).
So what’s going on in
Rome? I turn back to the lessons of the history: Decisions about
sanctity almost always involve considerations about local contexts and
contemporary needs. John Paul II’s sainthood has been promoted by many
of the more conservative elements within the Catholic world. John XXIII,
however, is something of a hero to more liberal groups because of his
sponsorship of Vatican II.
Perhaps in linking these
two pontiffs, Pope Francis is performing yet another act that
emphasizes the continuity and the connections among Catholics of all
kinds, a theme that has dominated his papacy so far.