Chaplain’s Sainthood Cause Stalled, Consultants Recommend Suspension Citing Several Concerns

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Currents News Staff

Consultants picked by the Pope have stalled the sainthood cause for a Staten Island born Navy chaplain.

Maryknoll Father Vincent Capodanno, affectionately known as “the Grunt Padre”, died while helping the marines in combat in Vietnam.

His heroism earned him the highest military award, the Medal of Honor, and efforts to get him canonized.

Theological consultants have suggested a suspension of the cause, citing serval concerns about whether Father Capodanno should be a saint.

The first is on Father Capodanno’s ‘Positio’ – the formal brief arguing for his canonization.

They are concerned that it focuses on his last year of life and does not provide a full picture of the required “virtuous life.”

Second is that as a Maryknoll missionary, the Grunt Padre objected to being sent to Hong Kong– signaling disobedience.

They were also worried that Maryknoll did not pursue his sainthood cause.

Consultants noted Father Capodanno was fastidious about his appearance, a possible sign of sinful pride.

And finally, they worry venerating service members may not be appropriate for the church.

The recommendation by the theological consultants is under consideration by the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints at the Vatican.

That group ultimately decides whether a case moves on to the pope. But experts say the Grunt Padre’s cause still has a fighting chance.

The Tablet newspaper spoke with Monsignor Robert Sarno, a Brooklyn native who retired as an official with the dicastery after almost 40 years of service.

He contests each of the consultant’s recommendations and tells us more about why the vote for suspension could be reversed.