The cries echoes up from the piazza, Santo Subito! Santo Subito! Sainthood Now!
I can guarantee one thing, no one will ever hear that phrase pass my lips.
I like mail, doctor’s appointments, and State of the Union address to expeditious. But not my saints.
Saints should be like a fine wine made at some remote monastery, made with one part fruit, one part yeast, five parts prayer, and fifty parts time.
Now, if you have ever made wine, you know that there is always a temptation to open a bottle before its time but experience teaches you not to do it. You must wait.
Look at it another way. How often does popular acclaim ever lead to permanent acclaim? If popular acclaim was a reliable indicator, Mister Mister would be in the Rock ‘n Roll hall of fame. That didn’t work out.
When it comes to sainthood, slower is better. Moving the process along more quickly for the popular gives the impression, fair or not, that sainthood is a popularity contest. In fact, I think it speaks well of the Church and its process that even someone tremendously popular has to go through the same long discernment process.
Damian Thompson of the Telegraph relayed some concerns on this topic in a post the other day.
But… several Catholics have told me that beatifying a Pope a mere six years after his death gives the impression that the process is being “helped along” a little too fast. As one friend put it: “We’re reaching a stage where beatification for recently dead Popes is like a life peerage for ex-Prime Ministers.
In reality, in the last one hundred years we have only had one Pope declared a saint and one declared blessed. But the rush to sainthood gives the false impression that this is just something they do for the popular Popes.
So my advice to the Church, as if they need it, is slow down. It is better that way. We like slow saints. We can wait and so can they. I mean if a saint can’t wait, who can?