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Are saints perfect?

I read an article yesterday that questioned the sainthood of Bl. John Paul the Great. Why? The writer believed the pope did not do enough during his papacy to address the sex abuse scandal in the Church. And maybe he didn't. But does that disqualify him from sainthood?

Saints are not perfect. They aren't sinless. They make mistakes, but they seek forgiveness. St. Jerome was said to be quite grouchy. St. Therese of Lisieux often fell asleep in chapel during prayers (and who wouldn't at 3 a.m.??) St. Philip Neri was a jokester, and I imagine that irritated some who thought only boring piety was allowed for a priest. Padre Pio chased some poor woman out of the confessional - yikes!

For us poor humans, there is no such thing as perfection. We are going to keep messing up, but we also must keep inching closer and closer to sanctity. Admittedly, for most of us, it is two steps forward and three back on some days, and we can't see the finish line. There is no excuse for sin, though, and we must reapply ourselves daily to live out faith, hope and charity every moment. We strive not for perfection (because only God is perfect) but for holiness.

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Crossing Guard

I saw you
today
as you guided
your little man across that busy street.

You were wearing some
big man boots
and
watching cars and lights.

Your little man had on
black sneakers and
a Mickey Mouse hat
that bounced
as he walked.

He wasn't watching nothing but
your big man boots
and
the white stripes of the crosswalk.

Just before
he got to the sidewalk again,
his step bounced a bit
- he hopped over
a spot where the asphalt broke.

You turned to look,
holding out a hand to
your little man.
Not rushed or angry,
just making sure
he got up
on that sidewalk.

Then you walked on,
in your big man boots,
face into a cold Michigan wind,
with the little man behind,
his hat bouncing.