Fr Stephen Smuts

Posts Tagged ‘Pope John Paul II

Thieves Steal Pope John Paul’s Blood

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UPDATE:  Arrests have been made – but no recovery as yet.

Undated handout photo of a reliquary with the blood of Blessed John Paul II


Thieves broke into a small church in the mountains east of Rome over the weekend and stole a reliquary with the blood of the late Pope John Paul II, a custodian said on Monday.

Dozens of police with sniffer dogs scoured the remote area for clues to what the Italian Catholic magazine Famiglia Cristiana called “a sacrilegious theft that was probably commissioned by someone”.

Franca Corrieri told Reuters she had discovered a broken window early on Sunday morning and had called the police. When they entered the small stone church they found the gold reliquary and a crucifix missing.

John Paul, who died in 2005, loved the mountains in the Abruzzo region. He would sometimes slip away from the Vatican secretly to hike or ski there and pray in the church.

Polish-born John Paul, who reigned for 27 years, is due to be made a saint of the Roman Catholic Church in May, meaning the relic will become more noteworthy and valuable.

In 2011, John Paul’s former private secretary, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, now archbishop of Krakow in Poland, gave the local Abruzzo community some of the late pontiff’s blood as a token of the love he had felt for the mountainous area.

It was put in a gold and glass circular case and kept in a niche of the small mountain church of San Pietro della Ienca, near the city of L’Aquila.

Corrieri, who is part of an association that looks after the small church, said the incident felt more like a “kidnapping” than a theft. “In a sense, a person has been stolen,” she said by telephone.

She said she could not say if the intention of the thieves may have been to seek a ransom for the blood.

Apart from the reliquary and a crucifix, nothing else was stolen from the isolated church, even though Corrieri said the thieves would probably have had time to take other objects during the night-time theft.

Some of John Paul’s blood was saved after an assassination attempt that nearly killed him in St. Peter’s Square on May 13, 1981.


Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

January 27, 2014 at 18:10

Pope John Paul II to be a Saint

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The Roman Catholic Church will declare the late Pope John Paul II a saint, the Vatican announced Friday.

Pope Francis signed the decree Friday morning, the Vatican said. John Paul was pope from 1978 until his death in 2005, and was in a way the first rock star pontiff, drawing vast crowds as he crisscrossed the globe.

At his funeral, thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square and chanted “Santo subito” — Sainthood now! The Polish-born pope was fast-tracked to beatification and became “the blessed” John Paul II barely six years after his death, the fastest beatification in centuries.

Pope John XXIII, who convened the Vatican II council in the 1960s, will also be declared a saint, the Vatican said

No date has been announced for the canonization ceremony.

Pope John Paul II, the third-longest serving pope in history, died in April 2005 at the age of 84.

He had suffered from Parkinson’s disease, arthritis and other ailments for several years before his death.

During his tenure, he became the most widely traveled pope in history and canonized more saints than any other pope.

His papacy included a lot of firsts. He was the first modern pope to visit a synagogue and the first pope to visit Cuba.

There are essentially three steps to becoming a Catholic saint after death.

First, the title “venerable” is formally given by the pope to someone judged to have exhibited “heroic virtues.” Second, a miracle must be attributed to the deceased person’s intervention, allowing beatification. Canonization — or sainthood — requires a second attributed miracle.

In 2010, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI approved John Paul’s first reported miracle: a French nun supposedly cured of Parkinson’s disease.

Sister Marie-Simon-Pierre, a nun whose order prayed to the pope after he died, said she was cured of the disease, an ailment that also afflicted John Paul.

The second miracle reportedly occurred in Costa Rica, where a woman said she recovered from a severe brain injury thanks to the intervention of John Paul, sources told CNN Vatican analyst John Allen.

Patrick Kelly, executive director of the Blessed John Paul II Shrine in Washington, explained the church’s process for investigating reported miracles.

“A team of doctors first examine the miracle. Secondly, the team of theologians look at the miracles, and then they discuss amongst themselves the legitimacy and all the facts surrounding the miracles,” he said…


Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

July 5, 2013 at 16:14

Mitt Romney Ad Featuring Pope John Paul II

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Accusing President Obama of waging war on religion. American politics.


A new Mitt Romney ad released Thursday accuses President Barack Obama of waging a “war on religion.” The ad, along with recent attacks on Obama’s welfare policy, signals a move away from attacking the president’s handling of the economy.

“President Obama used his health care plan to declare war on religion, forcing religious institutions to go against their faith,” says a narrator in the ad. “Mitt Romney believes that’s wrong.”

Romney is referring to an Obama administration decision to mandate that religiously-affiliated employers — but not religious institutions themselves — cover the cost of contraception in their health care plans at no charge to the employee. The administration tweaked the mandate to allow employers with moral or ethical objections to request that the insurer cover the extra costs of the coverage.

Romney’s invocation of a “war on religion” recalls an infamous Rick Perry ad that attacked Obama for the same, though on different culture-war grounds.

The latest ad then cuts to Romney praising Pope John Paul II, who helped end officially atheist communism in Poland. “[I]n 1979, a son of Poland, Pope John Paul II, spoke words that would bring down an empire. ‘Be not afraid,'” says Romney, speaking from a recent trip to Poland.

Drawing a comparison between what it portrays as the repressive Polish communist regime and a preventative health care mandate, the narrator says, “When religious freedom is threatened, who do you want to stand with?”


Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

August 9, 2012 at 18:11

First Images of John Paul II’s New Tomb

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John Paul II’s coffin is now in its final resting place in St Sebastian’s Chapel, inside St Peter’s Basilica.

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

May 3, 2011 at 15:46

Highlights from the Beatification of Pope John Paul II

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Missed the beatification ceremony of Pope John Paul II? Revisit the highlights at CNN.

John Paul Ii Beatified

The Huffington Post also has the news:

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI beatified Pope John Paul II before 1.5 million faithful in St. Peter’s Square and surrounding streets Sunday, moving the beloved former pontiff one step closer to possible sainthood.

The crowd in Rome and in capitals around the world erupted in cheers, tears and applause as an enormous photo of a young, smiling John Paul was unveiled over the loggia of St. Peter’s Basilica and a choir launched into hymn long associated with the Polish-born pope.

“He restored to Christianity its true face as a religion of hope,” Benedict said in his homily, referring to John Paul’s decisive role in helping bring down communism. Benedict dotted his remarks with personal recollections of a man he came to “revere” during their near-quarter century working together.

Beatification is the first major milestone on the path to possible sainthood, one of the Catholic Church’s highest honors. A second miracle attributed to John Paul’s intercession is needed for him to be canonized…

More here.

And Rome Reports:

So what happens next?

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

May 1, 2011 at 16:21

John Paul II Beatification: Live Blog

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Not me ;)

It’s here if you want to follow…

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

April 30, 2011 at 19:55

A Guide to the Beatification Events in Rome

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Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

April 30, 2011 at 17:30


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