Sunday, January 3, 2010

An Inch at A Time

OK, I know that is the name of the blog of a reasonably well known TEC priest, Susan Russell (the link connects you to my previous post), but it is also a good title for a post slightly off topic for ADU, about the progress of an application for sainthood. The applicant is the late Suzanne Aubert, and a reason for her making an appearance on this blog, is that her Postulator is our local Roman Catholic priest in Stoke, Nelson, Maurice Carmody:

"Rome has appointed a New Zealander – Nelson-based professor in church history Maurice Carmody – to the role of Postulator, the person who pushes the Cause along. Normally, this person is based in Rome.

Gorman said Carmody's predecessor didn't speak any English, which made communications between New Zealand and the Vatican difficult. Carmody is fluent in Italian.

Carmody was reluctant to give a timeframe for Aubert being deemed "Venerable", but said the signs "are, so far, very encouraging.

"What we're looking for next is beatification [and] we would hope sooner rather than later."

Holding up the process is the appointment in the Vatican of a new Relatore, to whom Carmody reports. The previous Relatore has retired and Carmody has yet to hear of a replacement."

According to progress is about to progress:

"New Zealand's first candidate for sainthood, a free-thinking French-born nun who worked with the poor and promoted the rights of women and Maori in the 19th century, will this year come one step closer to being officially recognised by the Catholic Church as a saint, according to nuns at the Wellington order she founded, the Sisters of Compassion.

"Mother Mary Joseph Aubert, who died in 1926, has been inching her way towards sainthood since 1997, when the New Zealand Bishops' Conference agreed to support calls for her beatification, the main step in a long and complex process leading to canonisation (official recognition as a saint)."

A couple of brief observations. First, Suzanne Aubert was only a 'freethinker' in respect of her mission strategy and willingness to question her superiors. The reporter presumably has little knowledge of the relationship between, say, French freethinking philosophers (Rousseau, Voltaire, etc) and freethinking nuns who were strictly obedient to the teaching of the church! Secondly, Suzanne Aubert has been buried three times. I once stayed at the Sisters of Compassion where she is interred, or should I say 'currently' interred, for the memorial stone there mentions two previous interments.

Speaking of things Roman, this appointment has been announced:

Reverend Monsignor Charles Drennan"

Just as there are mysteries about how sainthood is enacted in the Roman church, there are also mysteries about how one can be Administrator of a Cathedral (equivalent to our 'Dean') and priest of a parish (although there will be another priest associated with both Cathedral and parish).

Charles was a year behind me at school, has been working in the Vatican for years, and presumably is, shall we say, progressing!

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