Canonization lost its touch these days, more of a ho-hum thing in view of recent flurry? Fr. Hunwicke objects.

Fr. Hunwicke is at pains to explain why canonization is infallible — the saint’s in heaven, all’s right with the process — but not with the infallibility defined in 1870 at the First Vatican Council.

“Defined,” he points out, meaning limited, as any catechism-familiar grade-schooler knew in the ’40s and ’50s, to ex cathedra pronouncements, meaning “from the chair” or with the special full authority of the papacy.

Why does he explain?

I have returned to this question because the current, apparently politically motivated, frenzy for canonising recent Bishops of Rome may have tainted for many the very concept of canonisation . . . may have rubbed off it some of the gloss. How can we enjoy the oncoming event [canonization of Cardinal Newman] with proper exuberance when the currency of canonisation has been so devalued, so reduced to a political formality?

I have no problems. Since Saint John Henry [Newman] taught a great deal which is directly in opposition to the attitudes of the current pontificate, his canonisation cannot be seen as a political act intended to subvert the Great Tradition.

“On the contrary,” he says.

I regard it as a triumph of divine Grace in the midst of the dark clouds of this pontificate; as a sudden bright burst of sunlit glory piercing the clouds and giving us a certain pledge of the ultimate triumph of orthodoxy!

So, as one of those recently canonized bishops of Rome used to repeat, Be not afraid.

(Note various spellings of canonization, where I use the right way.)

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