Traditional Catholics have found a way to affirm that canonisations are infallible but deny that the Vatican II popes were reliable when declaring saints.
On The Canonizations Of Pope John Paul II by SSPX Priests, Frs. Bernard Lorber and Jean-Michel Gleize

"Canonization is the decree of judgment and the declaration of that judgment by which the Sovereign Pontiff, pronouncing a definitive judgment, inscribes a previously beatified servant of God in the catalogue of the saints. By this act, the pope declares that the person just placed on the altars truly reigns in eternal glory, and he orders the Church to render him in every place the cultus due to the saints. The author of canonization is the head of the Church. Since it is a matter that concerns eternal salvation and the common good of society, only the legitimate authority has the power to promulgate the law in this domain. Canonization is tantamount to a threefold supreme and definitive judgment in which the Church authoritatively affirms:

1) that the person in question is in eternal glory and has, during his life, practiced the supernatural virtues to a heroic degree;

2) that this practice constitutes for the Church's faithful a norm so sure that by conforming themselves to it, they will be assured of reaching eternal salvation;

3) that every one of the faithful is obliged to give his assent to judgments 1) and 2), and to profess his assent by taking part in the public veneration that the Church will henceforth render to the saint canonized in official recognition of his heroic virtues. The saint is given as an example because of his virtues. By the cultus that is rendered to him, it is, through his person, really the eminent grace, which is an intimate participation in the divine nature, that we venerate."

Bishops did canonisations in the past and it came to be reserved to the pope. "The cultus did not attain the dignity of a canonization until, having passed from diocese to diocese, it extended to the universal Church, with the assent, either express or tacit, of the Sovereign Pontiff." 

"A decree of Pope Alexander III (1159-81), dated 1170, inserted in the Corpus Juris Canonici,5 explicitly set the disciplinary rule: the faculty of decreeing beatifications in their dioceses was withdrawn from the bishops and reserved to the Sovereign Pontiff; and therefore, all the more so, canonization properly so-called remains the prerogative of the Sovereign Pontiff. The practice, of course, was not immediately nor in every point in conformity with this principle, and the bishops often considered Alexander III's decretal a dead letter."

"The controversy was definitively settled by the decrees of Urban VIII, dated March 13, and October 2, 1625, first promulgated at Rome and then published with a special confirmation in the bill Coelestis Jerusalem Gives, of July 5, 1634. From this moment, it is beyond contesting that, in fact and by right, only the Sovereign Pontiff can declare beatifications and canonizations."

We read, "Beatification is not an infallible act. When considering the beatifications that the bishops accomplished before 1170, it is beyond doubt that they are not stamped by infallibility, for in law these are acts which issue from a subject who can never be personally infallible. In fact, history shows us that errors have been made."

"As regards the infallibility of canonization, the almost universal ensemble of theologians up to Vatican Council I teach that the pope, when he canonizes a saint, enjoys the prerogative of papal infallibility. On this point we note especially St. Thomas, Melchior Cano, and Benedict XIV.  First of all, there is the argument from right: it is not possible for the pope to err in canonizing a reprobate, because that would be tantamount to teaching something contrary to faith and morals, and the pope would then be teaching that a person can be saved by imitating the example of someone who, by his bad actions, has been damned. There is also an argument from right that Benedict XIV underscores: no errors have ever been found in the canonizations to which the popes have proceeded."

"The common opinion of theologians and a certain tradition in the Church consider canonizations to be infallible, but it is not a solemnly defined dogma. A person who denied the infallibility of canonization could not be considered a heretic."

They argue that Pope John Paul II performed questionable canonisations. There were too many.  People doctrinally opposed were declared saints.  And Padre Pio and Jose Escrivá de Balaguer were fast-tracked.

They insist that these canonisations are not binding for procedure was violated.

"We can conclude that holiness, the basis of every canonization, is an extraordinary state of supernatural life, extraordinary in the sense of being well beyond the common way."  The priests say that the canonisations are not binding for the model of holiness today is watered down by the Church.  They are saints by a sloppy humanistic standard so the standard is the problem.


"If canonizations are henceforth more numerous, it is because the holiness to which canonizations attest possesses a different signification: "holiness" is no longer something rare, extraordinary, but something common.  John Paul II has carried out more canonizations than all the popes of this century."

Another complaint that canonisations to validate Vatican II are considered an obstacle, "The canonization of Msgr. de Balaguer is in strict relation to the Council in the measure that, ideologically, Balaguer was a precursor of the Council. In a short biography published on the Vatican web site, one reads:  When John XXIII announced his decision to call an Ecumenical Council, Blessed Josemaria began to pray and get others to pray for the happy outcome of this great initiative of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, as he wrote in a letter in 1962. As a result of the deliberations of the Council, the Church's solemn Magisterium was to confirm fundamental aspects of the spirit of Opus Dei, such as the universal call to holiness; professional work as a means to holiness and apostolate; the value and lawful limits of Christian freedom in temporal affairs; and the Holy Mass as the centre and root of the interior life. Blessed Josemaria met numerous Council Fathers and experts, who saw him as a forerunner of many of the master lines of the Second Vatican Council. Profoundly identified with the Council's teaching, he diligently fostered its implementation through the formative activities of Opus Dei all over the world."

We read, "What can be said for the so-called heroic virtues of John XXIII? Several voices have been raised, on the progressivist side as well as on the traditional side, to remind the authorities not to confuse heroic charity with the "goodness" that proceeds from an easy-going temperament or, sometimes, even from weakness. We refer the reader to studies that have been made on this subject and which all converge on the same conclusion: it seems impossible to speak of the heroism of his virtues."

Another problem is that the Church uses fake miracles to canonise.  Miracles by a saint are regarded as a sign that he or she is in Heaven.

"Examine the changes made in the procedure itself…. Another way is by means of anecdote, showing the irregularities that have been observed. For instance, the miracle attributed to Mother Teresa has raised a storm of controversy in the medical community in India; the doctors claim that the cancerous tumor of Monika Bera was treated at a hospital. Indeed, if the illness had been treated by doctors, it would not be possible to declare the healing, even unusually sudden, a miracle without contravening the rules of the procedure, which exclude from consideration the case of a sick person treated by doctors. Moreover, even if there were a true miracle, it is not clear that it can be attributed to the intercession of Mother Teresa, for shortly before the healing, a miraculous medal had been touched to the patient."

Importantly, "The Pope's intention is decisive for determining the infallibility of his acts. In what measure does Pope John Paul II want to accomplish veritable canonizations bearing the mark of infallibility? The different indicators gathered from his speeches and homilies tend to show that his intention no longer is the same as that of his predecessors."

Theologians might argue though that a canonisation is only infallible when a proper miracle performed by the supposed saint to be is accessed properly.  If canonisations are simply infallible and the formula speaks of the saint as a model of God's truth for the whole Church then it is clear that fake saints have been declared as real saints.


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