In an interview with the Brazilian daily “O Estado,” Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, reflected upon the 25 years of John Paul II’s pontificate and said the Pontiff will be remembered as the “Pope of Sanctity” because of his constant call to live life fully and the numerous believers he has elevated to the altar.
According the Portuguese prelate, the Pope has left a profound mark on the history of humanity. “In these 25 years, his pastoral activity has been extraordinary and his passion for mankind has been remarkable. Already in his first encyclical, ‘Redemptoris Hominis,’ he said that ‘man is the way of the Church.’ He has always been on the side of man to help him, and to defend his dignity and his fundamental rights, which are sacred and untouchable.”
Cardinal Saraiva remarked that “another characteristic of this Pontificate is the great emphasis on the quest for peace for mankind. His annual messages for the World Day of Peace have been great lessons on the how to achieve this precious gift.”
However the Cardinal pointed out the Pontificate of John Paul II has placed special emphasis on personal holiness. “In ‘Novo Millennio Ineunte’ he says all of the pastoral action of the Church should be ordered toward the holiness of the faithful. This is why the Pope has beatified and canonized so many servants of God.”
Referring to the coming beatification of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, scheduled to take place Sunday, October 19, Cardinal Saraiva said television has many times shown the world “the tender person of Mother Teresa together with John Paul II, united in a celebration of life with thousands of young people in stadiums and public squares around the world.”
“Mother Teresa followed the pilgrim Pope all over world with her life-giving gentle and silent femininity. Who can forget the youth gatherings of Paris, Denver and Rome? For this reason the beatification of Mother Teresa on the 25th anniversary of his pontificate, is not only a gift of God for the Church, but also a reason for great joy for the Pope,” said the Cardinal.
“With the beatification of Mother Teresa, the Church holds up to the faithful of today’s world a most excellent model of Christian virtues and the great importance of her human and spiritual message,” the Cardinal added.