It’s not surprising, really, that mere days after the passing of Pope John Paul II, there are calls for his sainthood. As a fundy Evangelical, I find such talk interesting, and so here is today’s post.
First, the downside. People can be really, really superstitious. We think of ourselves as rational and scientific, but when it comes down to it, we still hold on to “lucky” coins and colors and so on, some listen to what their horoscope or what a fortune teller says, and yes, we see that in religion as well, where people act as if a complete or relative stranger can answer questions they can’t handle themselves. People trust ministers and priests, sometimes to an unwise degree.
What this has to do with Sainthood, is the notion that a Saint can intercede, that asking for a Saint to help in a certain manner will help more than praying directly to God. That comes perilously close to Idolatry, because it replaces God as the object of worship with Man, even a godly man.
That said, however, there is much to recommend the practice of commemorating lives devoted to Christ. In our own lifetime, the example and virtuous work of Mother Teresa is well worth memory, especially as time passes and we may lose sight of such devotion and love; it simply makes sense to remind our children and fellow believers, of what a single person can do. While there have been many good Baptists and other worthy servants who are Protestants, we don’t hear much about them, and that is unfortunate - effective lessons are lost by neglecting the memory of them. In that regard, I would agree that Karol Wojytla should be sainted. I don’t know about the specifics of the decision, whether there has to be some sort of verified miracle and such, but as an object lesson, I cannot imagine anyone who would deny that we should be reminded, Roman Catholic or otherwise, about the life and work of this man.