How John Paul II Changes Our Way of Seeing Saints
Interview With Journalist Fabio Zavattaro
ROME, Nov. 1, 2004 (Zenit) - Fabio Zavattaro, a journalist who covers the Vatican, appreciates John Paul II's pontificate through the saints and blessed he has proclaimed.
Journalist Zavattaro has just finished writing the book "I Santi e Karol. Il Nuevo Volto della Santitŕ" (The Saints and Karol: The New Face of Holiness), published by Ancora.
Zavattaro began his career in journalism in 1981, and has been working for the Italian newspaper Avvenire. He also works for RAI 1 television news and has covered all the Holy Father's trips since 1983. In this interview gives keys to understand the Pope's great interest in holiness.
Q: What has changed in the world of saints with Karol Wojtyla?
Zavattaro: The way of "reading" saints has changed, which is what I attempt to explain in my book. In only 26 years of pontificate, John Paul II has given the Church, and Christians, more than 1,300 blessed and 480 saints. They are travel companions, in joy and suffering. They are men and women who wrote a new page in their lives and in the lives of so many people.
That is why the Pope wished to propose them. I will explain myself better.
For some time, saints and blessed were almost unattainable figures, great doctors of the Church: St. Francis, St. Clare. Instead, Pope Wojtyla has been innovative, raising to the altar persons who are still remembered by fellow citizens. At times, they still have children who are living, a husband. I am thinking of Gianna Beretta Molla, or the Beltrame Quattrocchi spouses.
They are men and women of our time. We have known them, perhaps we have shared part of the journey with them, a brief page of common history. In a word, they are next-door saints and blessed.
And this is precisely the Pope's message: Holiness is not a gift reserved for a few. We can all aspire to it, because it is a goal within our capacity -- a great lesson reaffirmed by the Second Vatican Council, which initiated a new period of a Church ever more open to the world.
Q: Is it possible to sketch a model of holiness "ŕ la John Paul II," if you excuse the expression?
Zavattaro: I believe the model ŕ la John Paul II, to use your expression, is a holiness lived day in, day out.
A saint is an authentic, concrete man, as Pope Wojtyla says. His testimony of life attracts, beseeches and draws, because it manifests a transparent human experience, full of the presence of Christ.
For the Pope, the call to holiness excludes no one; it is not the privilege of a spiritual elite.
They are saints [and] blessed who did not try to be regarded as heroes, or to shock or provoke. A saint is an ordinary person, a doctor, a university student, a nun who was a former slave, a priest who endured the Soviet gulags, a married couple, a catechist. Friends.
Q: The Pope was ordained on the feast of All Saints. Do you see a prophecy in this coincidence?
Zavattaro: It is of course a fact that no one can overlook. His whole life -- the figures he has had next to him, the decision on the place of his first Mass, Wawel [the Krakow cathedral], the day of ordination -- leads one to think that John Paul II has paid much attention to the presence of saints and blessed, also in the life of the Church.
The Pope himself explains this in "Gift and Mystery," when he says that there was a sort of theological affinity in the fact of having chosen the place and date of his ordination and of his first Mass.
In Wawel Cathedral, the kings, princes, cardinals, bishops and great teachers of the Word are buried, who have been of great importance in his Christian and patriotic formation. How can one not see, therefore, an indicated path, an already laid-out plan?
Q: What do you think of those who criticize this Pope, accusing him of creating an "inflation" of saints and blessed?
Zavattaro: It is difficult to answer this question. At first sight it might seem that he has exaggerated with the proclamation of all these saints and blessed.
However, let us try to reflect on the meaning of the argument: The key lies in finding a guide, a teacher who is able to be a companion on life's journey, a person who seems close to one, a known or perhaps familiar face.
A priest, a layman who has left tangible traces of his presence, perhaps in places where we live -- how many times do we hear it said, "That person, that priest is really a saint" -- can be of greater help in life than the edifying stories of books.
Between two testimonies -- books or known and close saints -- which is an easier travel companion? Therefore, is it possible to speak of inflation of saints and blessed?
Q: Of course, not. Would you dare to name the Pope's favorite saints?
Zavattaro: No. I wouldn't dare to draw up a classification, among other reasons because I don't think it can be done as, for the Pope, all saints and blessed are of great importance. They are witnesses, points of reference for every man and woman -- hence, no list.
But if I may continue this reflection, I don't think I would commit a sin if I said that the figures the Pope most appreciates are simple, humble saints and blessed.
They are figures who are, perhaps, on a second plane compared to founders of orders; popes; and emperors. But this does not mean that they should be diminished. Also among them are priests who have paid with their life for their fidelity to the Gospel and the Church.
I am thinking of priests persecuted by oppressive regimes, imprisoned bishops reduced to silence, young catechists and priests committed in mission lands. A humanity that "has always pulled the cart" without expecting prizes or recognition, and because of this, figures of the first plane in the history of Christianity.
The world needs credible witnesses more than teachers. With his decision to proclaim so many blessed and saints, John Paul II has wished to propose figures capable of accompanying this station of life.
He himself is a witness who, through his suffering and effort, communicates an extraordinary message to the man of today. A message that starts with authentic and essential things, the will to live despite the difficulties and impediments.
http://www.catholic.org CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000
Saints, Pope, Blessed, Vatican
More Catholic PRWire
Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718
A Recession Antidote
Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell
Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell
Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Franchising to Evangelize
Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Three words to a deeper faith
Relections for Lent 2009
Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell
World Food Program Director on Lent
Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Glimpse of Me
The 3 stages of life
Sex and the Married Woman
A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Modernity & Morality
Just a Minute
Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Edging God Out
Burying a St. Joseph Statue
George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell
Easter... A Way of Life
Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
by Catholic Online
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017 HD Video
- READ NOW - Full transcript of Pope Francis' nuclear war in-flight message
- St. Pius V, Pope: Saint of the Day for Sunday, April 30, 2017
- Daily Readings for Sunday, April 30, 2017
- Pope Francis arrives in Egypt with powerful message HD Video
- Pope Francis and Tawadros II release a SHOCKING joint statement
- Pope Francis talks nuclear war - 'Things are already hot'
- Daily Reading for Monday, May 1st, 2017 HD
- Daily Reading for Sunday, April 30th, 2017 HD
- Day 9 - Novena for Workers, the Unemployed and Underemployed HD
- Day 8 - Novena for Workers, the Unemployed and Underemployed HD
Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.