Who better demonstrates this reality than John Paul II, the pope about to beatify Pius?
Now that the miracle attributed to Mother Teresa has been authenticated, the Pope will beatify the Nobel Peace Prize winner.
In 1985, after his cardinal petitioned the Vatican to beatify 117 Vietnamese martyrs, he was told he could never be released.
The Pope is due to beatify two dead shepherd children who were lucky enough to see the Virgin Mary six times in five months way back in 1917 when they were just 11 and 12 years old.
The easy symmetry of beatifying these two popes on the same day may appeal to a mentality habitually working to tidy up and correct history, but there are limits to what the Vatican can do with this kind of manipulation.
On October 19, 2003, Mother Teresa of Calcutta will be beatified in Rome.
Junipero Serra was beatified for sainthood by Pope John Paul II in 1984, at his grave in the sanctuary of Mission San Carlos Borromeo in Carmel, California.
This analysis seems plausible in theory, but it ought to be noted that the most popular person to be beatified in recent years is the stigmatic Padre Pio, who was very much an eccentric, an ascetic, and a prodigy.
Mother Mary of the Passion, who was beatified on October 20, followed St. Francis of Assissi's evangelical spirit of simplicity, poverty and chastity.
The frail nun, who died in 1997 after spending more than six decades caring for the destitute and homeless, was beatified yesterday by Pope John Paul II at a two-hour long ceremony in Rome.