I always feel a little embarrassed about admitting this, but the official cult of the saints is one aspect of Catholicism that I've never really taken to. I don't have any argument with the theology involved in the honoring of saints, and the practice of seeking their intercession; it's strictly a matter of temperament and culture, of something that doesn't come naturally to me, and it's not a big part of my devotional life. I don't mind if you call it a residue of my Protestant background. I do pray sometimes to a few saints, and I do have my favorites, but they tend to be those whose fame rests in some large part on their writings, and I'm more interested in the writings than the persons. That's one reason why you rarely see a post here taking note of a saint's feast day: I usually haven't noticed it until it's already here, and too late to write something.
And so I haven't really paid that much attention to the canonizations of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II. I have no serious reservations about either man. I'm reasonably well persuaded that the Second Vatican Council was needed, notwithstanding the many abuses which followed it. And John Paul II was a great light to the whole world. The serious complaints about him seem to involve his management of the internal affairs of the Church, and perhaps the criticism is justifiable. Certainly his support for the evil Fr. Maciel is is a mark against his judgment, but not necessarily against his virtue. I am more or less of the same mind as William Oddie, who says in the Catholic Herald that John Paul achieved nothing less than the rescue of the Council from its abductors.
But I am a little worried by the procedure. John Paul's canonization has been swift, and John's has proceeded without the usual second miracle. Since canonizations are supposed to be infallible, it seems like an awfully big investment of the Church's authority, and caution is in order. I was bothered by John Paul's speeding-up of the process, and no less so by its application to him.
What do you think?