Comments on the Positio Presentation

By Father John Hotze

As you may have heard, on Nov. 9, 2015, Bishop Kemme presented the positio to the Congregation for Saints in Rome. The positio is the Church’s official document concerning Father Kapaun’s life of heroic virtue and sanctity. Now, the Congregation for Saints can begin their work on the review of Father Kapaun’s life. Hopefully, the Congregation may then make a recommendation affirming his sanctity to the Holy Father.

Unfortunately, some of the news reports have implied that we are disappointed by the outcome of the events or that the case has been placed on hold. We at the Office for Beatification of Father Kapaun are by no means disappointed or discouraged by the events of the last couple of weeks. Granted, it would have been nice if the Congregation for Saints was able to drop everything to study Father Kapaun’s Cause immediately, but unfortunately, that is not a possibility.

 At any given time the Congregation for Saints is actively studying about 1,200 causes for canonization of Servants of God from around the world. Affirming a Servant of God for Beatification and Canonization is something that has never been taken lightly, and rightly so. It is important that this process maintain its integrity, and that integrity is maintained by the high standards of the Congregation for Saints and the process of Canonization. In actuality, I think we are truly “sitting pretty.”

Some say that since it has been 65 years since the death of Father Kapaun, things should not be taking so long. However, the first real evidence that the Congregation received concerning Father Kapaun was in 2011 when we closed the diocesan phase of the investigation. At that time, we sent the Congregation some 8,000 pages of documents that we had collected in support of Father Kapaun’s Canonization.

During the past four years, these documents have been studied and condensed into the 1,066 pages that now form the positio. Contrary to the belief that the cause is being delayed or postponed, the fact is that Bishop Kemme’s presentation of the positio now allows the Congregation to go to work. While we would like them to start immediately on Father Kapaun’s cause, the number of cases that are currently being examined must be considered first. This is to be expected.

The work on the alleged miracles is handled separately from the above process. While we have been working to prove what we believe to be two very good cases for possible miracles, they are still a work in process. We are still collecting information from the doctors and other individuals involved in those cases. The Congregation does take into consideration the fact that there are some alleged miracles being studied, and since we are working on two cases, Father Kapaun’s Cause has already been advanced and placed before other causes that have no alleged miracles associated with them.

I say that we are currently “sitting pretty” because, as Cardinal Amato put it, now our work becomes one of prayer and spreading the word about Father Kapaun. We in the Diocese of Wichita have been blessed with the example of Father Kapaun for nearly 100 years since he was born on a farm outside of Pilsen, Kansas. Slowly, that word has spread to all of Kansas and much of the United States. Now we are making headway in making Father Kapaun known in South America, Asia and Europe. We have come this far by doing as Cardinal Amato has suggested: by praying and spreading the word. The Holy Spirit has truly been guiding this process, and His work will continue.

In an unofficial way we began working on Father Kapaun’s Cause in 2001. In an official capacity we have been working on Father Kapaun’s Cause since 2008. I would have never guessed that we would have come this far in these few years. Not only are we “sitting pretty,” but we have been blessed by God, and encouraged by Father Kapaun’s life of heroic virtue and sanctity. Hopefully, we will continue until that day when, God willing, we will all have Saint Emil Kapaun’s name on our lips.

Father Kapaun, pray for us.

Fr. John Hotze, Episcopal Delegate, Office for the Beatification and Canonization of Father Emil Kapaun

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