Cardinal Saraiva on Why the Pope Canonizes and Beatifies So Many

Says That John Paul II Knows Holiness Belongs to the Church's DNA

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 5, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The great number of beatifications and canonizations of John Paul II's pontificate express a key emphasis of his ministry: holiness.



"The valuation of holiness, both at the theological as well as the pastoral level, has always been, from the beginning of his pontificate, one of the foundations of his Petrine ministry," the prefect of the Congregation for Sainthood Causes, Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, told Vatican Radio.

"Holiness, the Pope often reminds us, belongs to the very nature of the Church, to its DNA," the cardinal explained Thursday.

This is why the Church of Christ, "called to the pastoral service of brethren, is also called, first of all, to be the 'Church of holiness,'" he added.

Today, the Holy Father canonized three saints: Daniel Comboni (founder of the Comboni Missionaries), Arnold Janssen (founder of the Society of the Divine Word) and Josef Freinademetz (religious of the Society of the Divine Word and a missionary to China).

"The whole of the Church's pastoral activity is oriented to inspiring this holiness," Cardinal Saraiva said, quoting John Paul II's apostolic letter "Novo Millennio Ineunte."

"The Pope also says that the first duty of pastors is to inspire holiness in the faithful," the cardinal added. "This is why I think that, deservedly, this Pope will also pass into history as the Pope of holiness."

Counting the five beatifications scheduled for Nov. 9, John Paul II will have proclaimed 1,320 blessed. He has canonized 476 saints, including today's trio.