"In honor of the Blessed Trinity, for the exaltation of the Catholic Faith and the growth of Christian life, with the authority of Our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and Our Own, after lengthy reflection, having assiduously invoked God's assistance and taken into account the opinion of many brothers of ours in the episcopate, we declare and define Blessed Josemaria Escriva to be a Saint, and we enroll him in the Catalogue of the Saints, and we establish that in the whole Church he should be devoutly honored among the Saints. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen." [John Paul II, 6th Oct 2002]The canonisation formular certainly has a semblance of infallibility, however:
".... before Vatican II, Catholic theologians agreed that canonizations (not beatifications) of Saints were virtually infallible .... since Vatican II .... there has followed such a flood of canonizations under John Paul II, that the whole process of canonizing has lost .... any likelihood of infallibility .... Church infallibility does not mean that the Church's teachers will never teach untruth by, for instance, dubious 'canonizations', only that, amongst other truths, the truth of the Christian sanctity will never be totally falsified or silenced " [Bp Williamson SSPX, Dec. 6 2002]In my view, canonizations cannot be infallible as they do not relate to either faith or morals. In as far as they establish which persons are to be "devoutly honored in the whole Church", they are truisms. In as far as they assert which persons are at present enjoying the Beatific Vision, this is subject to so many philosophical difficulties (associated with what at present might mean) as to be almost worthless. The point of canonizations is to establish an agreed list of persons whom the consensus of the Church accepts to be exemplars of virtue and worthy of public and official honour.
Originally, canonization was a popular process, the consensus view of the laity. None of the saints that feature in the Roman Canon was ever formally canonized by any Pope. They feature there because the piety of the Roman laity put them there. Their position recognises the devotion previously shown to them, it is not the cause or justification for that devotion.
Even now, formal canonization is more the ratification of the popular will rather than the imposition of a hiererchical edict. For this ratification to be worthwhile, it is necessary that due process is followed: including the opportunity for any who oppose the canonization to argue their case.
"[Regarding the] .... questionable canonization of Msgr. Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer last October 6.... due process was not followed. Not only was there no devil's advocate, but the former members of Opus Dei who personally knew Msgr. Escriva and who attempted to register their objections, were not allowed to express their opinion. As a last resort, last September they were forced to write an open letter to the Pope, stating their position before the Truth Himself, Our Lord Jesus Christ:My own experience of Opus Dei is mixed. Some of the priests that belong to the movement are undoubtedly orthodox, wise, kind and devout. Unfortunately, at least one that I met on a trip to Rome was more keen on the adulation of young men than on maintaining a balanced theology.'It is because we believe that the truth has been in large part hidden that we now give our testimony in order to avoid a danger for the Faith brought about by the unjustifiable reverence for the man that you have the intention of canonizing soon.'They went on to explain that they include'people who have intimately known Msgr. Escriva and who can testify to his arrogance, to his evil character, to his improper seeking of a title (Marquise of Peralta), to his dishonesty, to his indifference towards the poor, to his love of luxury and ostentation, to his lack of compassion and to his idolatrous devotion towards Opus Dei.'After having pointed out that the process was uncanonical and dishonest, they had this to say:`[the canonization] will offend God. It will stain the Church forever. It will take away from the saints their special holiness. It will call into question the credibility of all the canonizations made during your Papacy. It will undermine the future authority of the Papacy'.They were not traditionalists, and they were former members of his organization, but their supplication was not heard, and the ceremony took place as arranged on October 6. Their letter will certainly turn out to be prophetic, for in time they will be proven to be right in their assessment concerning Escriva as well as concerning Opus Dei that they so aptly compare to the liberal Sillon movement, rightly condemned by St. Pius X in 1910. This kind of last minute objection is unheard of in the history of the Church. How could Catholics possibly regard such a man as heroic in virtue, as an extraordinary model of Catholic spirituality, as a saint must be? For all the reasons that they give, we cannot possibly consider this 'canonization' as a valid, infallible Papal pronouncement. We trust that he is in heaven, but we cannot possibly regard as a Saint this herald of Vatican II, who preached naturalism and indifferentism as early as 1928." [Fr. Peter Scott, Nov. 1, 2002, from SSPX's Holy Cross Seminary in Australia]
The spirit of Opus Dei is: