May 042011

New tapestry unveiled at the May 1, 2011 beatification

by Anura Guruge

1/ John Paul II: Fastest beatification — ever. January 15, 2011 post.
2/ John Paul II beatification schedule. April 23, 2011 post.
3/ John Paul II new tomb goes against his will. April 24, 2011 post.
4/ Bl. John Paul II relics. May 2, 2011 post.
5/ Images of Bl. John Paul II’s new, above ground tomb. May 3, 2011 post.

Peruvian President, Alan Garcia (not related to Jerry)

Peruvian president, Alan Garcia, has publicly stated on Peruvian TV that the killing of bin Laden, on May 1, 2011, should be considered as the first miracle of Bl. John Paul II (#265) — whose beatification took place earlier that day. [I cannot find whether President Garcia was one of the 51 heads of state that attended the beatification ceremonies on Sunday, May 1, at the Vatican.] It is not clear whether President Garcia ran this by the White House before appearing on TV.

To be honest, push comes to shove, I prefer this supposed miracle to the one already credited to the blessed pope — i.e., that of curing French, Sister Marie Simon-Pierre, of Parkinson’s disease following prayers directed to the pope. Yes, my mother, who also lived in France, suffered from Parkinson’s and prayed to the pope (and others). I am also think that she had met the pope at least twice (but that was probably before she was afflicted with Parkinson’s). But, what really bothers me about this miracle has to do with the age old adage: physician heal thyself. The pope’s stoic suffering in his latter days is hailed by many as a worthy example to us all. But, we all remember images of the pope being visibly irked by the cruel vagaries of Parkionson’s (as my mother used to be too). So this Parkinson’s cure bothers me. The pope at a minimum should have sought short-term, temporary respites …

That the newly blessed pope, who was alive in 2001, is getting credit for this rather than a even higher authority seems incongruous to me … but that could just be me.

A pope being credited with facilitating the killing of a human doesn’t faze me much — I studied the Crusades. That the Crusades weren’t as successful as the pope’s would have liked, though there were at least 60 papal saints up there to intercede, is just another enigma to me — one of thousands that I try to contend with.

Algardi's Fuga d'Attila, at St. Peter's, showing sword wielding Saints Peter and Paul

Since Algardi is one of my favorite sculptors, the notion of deceased popes, flying about, wielding swords, ready to kill enemies, is a concept I am familiar with.

There are obviously other questions that come to MY mind — but that, I appreciate, is really just my own problem. On that day in September 2011, per my counting, there were at least 78 sainted popes and 10 blessed popes up there. If the newly blessed John Paul II can have such an immediate impact, it seems strange to me (and again, I confess, that this is my own peculiar daemons), that none of these ex-popes, let alone anyone else up there, did not feel that it was their ‘duty’ — if that is the right word — to intercede. Yes, I know. Free Will.

I won’t even explore the sons of Abraham aspect since most won’t even know what I am talking about. C’est la vie.

I am also not sure whether this means that Bl. John Paul II, as with his unprecedentedly energetic travels, creations and canonizations, will now be performing geo-political miracles on a regular basis. Maybe he could help President Obama (not to mention me) with the economy. Maybe get the Dow up to 14,000 by year end?

So, this is good news. Stay tuned and hope for MORE.



May 032011

by Anura Guruge

Please read this post as to how this above ground re-interment violates the dead pope’s wishes, IF you are not already familiar with this issue.

Please note that the white marble slab with the pope’s name is eventually mounted vertically — with the coffin being behind it. In the end it does not matter, the coffin is well above the earth. I think, at least 30 feet, above ground level — given that there is, at a minimum, a grotto underneath this area of St. Peters.

The YouTube video. Enjoy.

At Getty Images.

Images and videos of the beatification ceremony at CNN Belief Blog.

May 022011

May 1, 2011 Beatification ceremony for John Paul II, highlighting the tapestry that was unveiled

by Anura Guruge

John Paul II Re-Interment, Post Beatification, Goes Against His Will — Again! April 24, 2011 post.

Relics associated with John Paul II (#265) were on display, already being venerated, and even being distributed in some cases well ahead of his May 1, 2011 beatification. Much of these relics appear to have been collected and disseminated by John Paul II’s longtime secretary Dziwisz — already notorious for not burning the pope’s personal papers, following his death, despite explicit written instructions, addressed to Dziwisz, to do so. Dziwisz, rightly, is being subjected to some criticism for introducing these relics since they appear to distract from the gravitas of the pope’s beatification and legacy.

Plus, John Paul II is not a saint as yet. So to have relic veneration at this stage borders on ‘cult practices’ — something frowned upon by the Church. When canonized (which is a given), the pope’s relics will be First- Second- and Third-Class Relics per Catholic notation.

That a reliquary with John Paul II’s blood was put on display during the beatification ceremony, and was even kissed by Pope Benedict XVI (#266), adds further confusion to this whole issue of relic worship. Refer to these New York Times photographs: photo 1 & photo 2. Also see below. [The reliquary, with the glass vial of blood, was carried by the French, Sister Marie Simon-Pierre, whose testament that she was cured of Parkinson’s disease after praying to Pope John Paul II was the miracle used for the beatification. Carrying such a reliquary, obviously, was the ultimate test that she had been cured. [Disclosure: my mother had Parkinson’s.]] But, it has also been pointed out that John Paul II was a great worshiper of relics.

Per Catholic convention any body parts [including blood, internal organs, nails, hair] of the pope, once he is canonized, will be treasured First-Class Relics. Anything he wore, used [e.g., rosary, crucifix, pens, books] or even touched is a Second-Class Relic — once he is saint. Any object that comes into physical contact with a Second-Class Relic automatically becomes a Third-Class Relic. So, there will be thousands of relics associated with John Paul II. The Confraternity of Catholic Saints, a Philippines youth organization created in 2003 to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ is already claiming that they possess 12 credible relics including a rosary and a papal seal.

The goal of this post is to try and compile an accurate list of all of the John Paul II relics (for future reference). Any and all help in keeping this list up to date will be greatly appreciated — and I will gladly include your name (or abbreviation) as the contributor, if you so wish.

  1. Remnants from cassocks (many or all provided by Dziwisz). These are ex indumentis (from the clothing) Second-Class relics. The Vicariate of Rome is already supplying these relics (along with a Holy Card), for free, though donations are gladly accepted. You can request a relic by mail, e-mail or fax. Use this e-mail address:
    As I suspected people have already started selling John Paul II relics, in particular cassock remains, on eBay. I found at least one this morning (May 4, 2011).
  2. Blood from the pope (as in the reliquary mentioned above). It appears that Dziwisz, at a minimum, kept two vials of John Paul II’s blood — supposedly taken during his last days (when he was gravely ill) by medical personnel. There are also claims, albeit as yet unverified, that Dziwisz also has blood from the time of the assassination attempt on the pope in 1981. [Reports are now emerging that Dziwisz, way prior to the beatification, was giving out John Paul II relics — such as to a Polish racing driver who was involved in a crash. See this AP article.]
    Some of the blood will also be on display, at a newly constructed altar, at the Sanctuary of Our Lord’s Mercy in Krakow, Poland — John Paul II having associations with that historic city since 1938 (when he was 18) when he started attending the Jagiellonian University.
  3. The main nave of the Basilica at Jasna Góra, Poland

    Bullet-holed, blood stained sash worn by Pope John Paul II on Wednesday, May 13, 1981, when Mehmet Ali Ağca fired 4 shots into the pope in St. Peter’s Square, on display at Jasna Góra Monastery, in Częstochowa, Poland’s most famous shrine to the Virgin Mary. Again, a ghoulish memento collected by Dziwisz — who, one has to grudgingly admit, really was thinking way ahead.For an AP picture of the sash.

  4. Blood-stained cassock Pope John Paul II was wearing at the time of the 1981 assassination attempt. Yes, Dziwisz kept it and it is expected to go on display in Krakow sometime in the future. The Philippines The Confraternity of Catholic Saints claim that they already have a piece of this cassock.
  5. Rosaries
  6. Papal seals

I will, with luck, add to this list as we go along.

Benedict XVI kissing reliquary containing Bl. John Paul II's blood (from Wikipedia via the President of Poland)

For more pictures of the beatification from the President of Poland click << here >>.

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