I Was My Own Canonizer
On my recent post regarding St Maria Goretti, a commenter, Father R. asked about non-Catholic's take on saints and incorruptibles. (I think he was priming the pump a little bit here) I lifted and edited my response for this post.
Dear Father "R" :
When we were evangelical believers, we considered all believers saints based on Scripture, and in a sense, that is certainly true. Scriptures such as Psalm 34;9 and Romans 15:26 make reference to earthly believers as saints but the canonized saints represent those, who by the Petrine authority of binding and loosening are declared to be in heaven. The Church tells the faithful that these particular individuals are worthy of us following their example and venerating (honoring) them and asking them to pray to God on our behalf. We are not praising, worshiping idolizing, necromancing etc. etc., ad nauseum.
But I didn't accept or believe that the Catholic Church could or should make anybody "better" than anyone else via canonization. I thought; "who are they to tell us someone is definitely in heaven." Yet, as an evangelical Christian, I regularly judged people's salvation and was part of the "salvation police" often inquiring at the time of a tragic, untimely death, "Were they saved? - I don't think so brother... etc." In a sense I was acting as my own "Canonizer." (declaring someone to be worthy of heaven)
Individual Catholics, outside of papal authority, should never attempt to judge whether someone is "saved" or not, because, ultimately, that judgment is up to God. We believe in the promise of salvation, but like St. Paul, look towards heaven with a lively hope, not a surety. “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, THAT IF POSSIBLE I MAY ATTAIN THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD. NOT THAT I HAVE ALREADY OBTAINED THIS OR AM PERFECT; but I press on to make it my own….” Phil 3:8-14.