In a curious use of phraseology, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi described the next stage in the canonization process of John Paul II: “Now comes the examination of a miracle, which is the proof of the divine interceding power of John Paul II on behalf of God.” Proof. This is what caught my eye in reading the quote. Someone prays for the intercession of JPII, and gets well, but is positive correlation proof? I pray for an end to the rain during a rain-shower and it suddenly stops raining. Proof? David Hume argues that we really don’t understand the links in a cause/effect. We don’t even have to go to Hume to make the point that positive correlation is not causation. Were a religionist to reply that religious proof is of a different sort than that which is ordinarily used, I would say that religionists should find another word. Otherwise, I would be justified in taking liberties too, such as calling a veggie burger a hamberger. Too bad if vegitarians miss out on the burgers because I took liberties with the terms. Of course, my overall point is that the canonization process of the Roman Catholic Church is fundamentally flawed. Because positive correlation is easier to reach than is causation, the gates are indeed open quite wide for whomever the Church officials wish to make a saint. When they consider one of themselves, we can add a personal and institutional conflict of interest to the problematic nature of their “proof.” Perhaps November 1st should be called “Friends Day” rather than “All Saints Day.” Essentially, the canonization process is a way for clergy to recognize their friends (and themselves). Such convenience is hardly of the humility of self-emptying agape as evinced on the Cross.
Proof of the Sainthood of John Paul II
December 19, 2009 by A Free Spirit