Saints show that church is holy despite failings
The official calendar of saints’ feast days will grow in October when the pope canonizes seven men and women, including Mother Marianne Cope of Molokai and three laypeople: the Native American Kateri Tekakwitha, the Filipino Peter Calungsod and the German Anna Schaffer.
The canonization Mass Oct. 21 will be one of the first big events of Pope Benedict’s Year of Faith, which is designed to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and to launch a strengthened commitment to the new evangelization.
According to Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, the appeal of the saints and their concrete examples of holiness give them “an undeniably positive role to play in this time of new evangelization,” since they are living proof that the church is holy.
In a new book, currently available only in Italian, Cardinal Amato writes that it’s easy to understand how people can question the church’s holiness when they see the sinful behavior of some of its members. But the good, loving and charitable activities of other members are the best evidence that the church truly is the holy body of Christ, he says.
“The holiness of the church is not the sum of the holiness of its children, but is a spiritual gift received from the spirit of the Risen Christ,” he writes. “Throughout history, the church carries the treasure of its holiness in earthen vessels. Being aware of that, the historic church can do nothing other than continually convert to the cross of Christ.”
The saints and martyrs officially recognized by the church are the “demonstration that the church, even if it is not already perfect, given the misery of many of its sons and daughters, is not less holy, but continues to produce the fruits of holiness and always will.” [More]