The Vatican consecrated to St Michael, a new Encyclical by two popes, and two new pope saints!

The Vatican consecrated to St Michael, a new Encyclical by two popes, and two new pope saints!

A big news day in Rome. Today Pope Benedict XVI joined Pope Francis in consecrating the Vatican to St Michael:

To the joy of Vatican City State workers, Friday morning Pope Francis was joined by Pope emeritus Benedict XVI in the gardens for a ceremony during which the Holy Father blessed a statue of St Michael Archangel, at the same time consecrating the Vatican to the Archangel’s protection.

Following a brief ceremony, Pope Francis addressed those present noting how St. Michael defends the People of God from its enemy par excellence, the devil. He said even if the devil attempts to disfigure the face of the Archangel and thus the face of humanity, St Michael wins, because God acts in him and is stronger:

“In the Vatican Gardens there are several works of art. But this, which has now been added, takes on particular importance, in its location as well as the meaning it expresses. In fact it is not just celebratory work but an invitation to reflection and prayer, that fits well into the Year of Faith. Michael – which means “Who is like God” – is the champion of the primacy of God, of His transcendence and power. Michael struggles to restore divine justice and defends the People of God from his enemies, above all by the enemy par excellence, the devil. And St. Michael wins because in him, there is He God who acts. This sculpture reminds us then that evil is overcome, the accuser is unmasked, his head crushed, because salvation was accomplished once and for all in the blood of Christ. Though the devil always tries to disfigure the face of the Archangel and that of humanity, God is stronger, it is His victory and His salvation that is offered to all men. We are not alone on the journey or in the trials of life, we are accompanied and supported by the Angels of God, who offer, so to speak, their wings to help us overcome so many dangers, in order to fly high compared to those realities that can weigh down our lives or drag us down. In consecrating Vatican City State to St. Michael the Archangel, I ask him to defend us from the evil one and banish him. “

“We also consecrate Vatican City State in St. Joseph, guardian of Jesus, the guardian of the Holy Family. May his presence make us stronger and more courageous in making space for God in our lives to always defeat evil with good. We ask Him to protect, take care of us, so that a life of grace grows stronger in each of us every day. ”

This seems to have been in honor of the release of the new encyclical on faith, Lumen Fidei, which while released under the name of Pope Francis, was co-authored by both popes.

Even more surprising, today Pope Francis also announced the canonizations of Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII:

Meeting with Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Cause of Saints, Friday morning, Pope Francis approved the promulgation of the decree and also convoked a special Consistory of the College of Cardinals to discuss the canonization of the Polish pope in depth.

Furthermore, he approved the favorable votes of the Ordinary Session of the Congregations Cardinals and Bishops regarding the raising to the altars of sainthood of Blessed John XXII.

This slightly unusual gesture was explained by Fr. Lombardi who told journalists that despite the absence of a second miracle it was the Pope’s will that the Sainthood of the great Pope of the Second Vatican Council be recognized.

Fr. Lombardi stated that a canonization without a second miracle is still valid, given that there is already the existing miracle that lead to the Roncalli Pope’s beatification. He also pointed to ongoing discussions among theologians and experts about whether it is necessary to have two distinct miracles for beatification and canonization. Certainly, he added the Pope has the power to dispense, in a Cause, with the second miracle.

However, there was no mention of dates. Neither for the Consistory nor for the Canonizations. Fr. Lombardi did not rule out that both celebrations could coincide, and he did express his belief that they would take place by the end of the year. Either way any date would be established during the Consistory.

What an exciting day! And now a new encyclical to read! (I haven’t even finished the first two yet. I must get cracking.)

And the papal tweet of the day: “Jesus is more than a friend. He is a teacher of truth and life who shows us the way that leads to happiness.”

Join the discussion

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • I spent some time in Japan since my ship the USS Midway was stattioned in Yokosuka. I was quite amazed by the people there and even got a tour fo Hiroshima from a Japanese family we met. While there was certainly some antogonism towards Americans, there was also some shame. I really came to quite love the Japenese and there culture despite some of it’s obvious problems. Even in a rather Pagan culture it puts to shame the cultural Christians.  For example bus stops would have umbrellas available for use.  Hard to imagine a supposidley Christian culture where umbrellas woulld still be available.

    Although still an athiest then it rather impressed me their obvious virtue. Certainly there has to come a point when the truth of the Catholic faith will have more of an impact there. The conditions of modern secular Japan should be open to it, but ther modern tolerance has in some ways prevented it.  That there were Catholics that kept their faith after 200+ years of being seperated from Catholic priests give me hope.

  • I love the part in In This House of Brede where the Japanese man who wants to open a Benedictine monastery corrects the English nuns about how deeply Catholicism is rooted in Japan, talking about their martyrs and their devotion.

    I had a few books of Japanese stories and a kimono when I was a kid, but unfortunately I was way more interested in English things than Japanese, so I don’t speak Japanese (though my dad does, sort of) and don’t know a huge amount about the art and culture. It’s kind of funny that I married a white guy who is fascinated by Japan, and has spent the last ten years learning karate and ancient Japanese weapons- Geoff speaks more Japanese than I do, and certainly knows lots and lots about the warrior traditions.

    The kids are right now watching a Studio Ghibli animation (Howl’s Moving Castle, so not one of the more Japanese ones). The aesthetic is so noticeably different from the Western movies we watch. We’ve talked to them about where their great-grandparents came from, and how different it is. The kids will be expected to take karate and iado (Japanese sword) eventually. That will be interesting- a yard full of little samurai…

  • Oh yeah. I loved that part of Brede too.

    I guess we never really value the right things when we are kids. That is funny how Geoff’s knowledge sort of balances your lack. I love the image of a yard full of samurai. Can my kids come over and join in?