It seems unprecedented today that Pope Francis has so quickly been anointed with “rock star” status, the highest accolade that our popular culture bestows upon its heroes. Already during the first year of his Pontificate his humble smiling image has graced the cover of Time, Esquire and other secular periodicals. He is certainly the first pope to have his picture on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine! He has been depicted as Superman by a graffiti artist on the streets of Rome. The Holy Father wisely ignores this sort of popular acclaim. He knows that it is likely to fade as quickly as the morning dew!
But on April 27, Divine Mercy Sunday, Pope Francis will preside at the double canonization of two of his predecessors who each in their own time won the hearts and fired the imaginations of the Church and the wider world. They are being offered to the Church and to the world not as “rock stars” but as saints. Through the canonization of Saint John Paul II and Saint John XXIII Pope Francis is affirming the kind of human and Christian qualities that have enduring universal value, indeed eternal value.