Re-defining canonization

Re-defining canonization

Catching up on some older stuff I wanted to link to, Ed Peters has some thoughts on how Pope Benedict’s recent letter to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints reveals his plan for the papacy and the Church. Ed says that while John Paul’s massive push to canonize 450 saints and beatify 1,300 blesseds was a lesson in giving us contemporary models of holiness the massive numbers were diluting the effect as it became increasingly difficult to identify with them.

So now the Holy Father is tightening up the process for beatification and canonization and by putting it in a public letter he wants to the whole world to see it. For example, the clarification of what constitutes martyrdom gives us pause to understand what this grace is that the Holy Spirit gives to martyrs.

martyrdom must be carefully distinguished from other instances of religious persecution and murder, even those committed against Christians, by this crucial fact: a martyr accepts death delivered out of hatred for the Faith. A drive-by shooting victim, shot outside of a church because the killer hates Catholics, is not a martyr (for lack of acceptance of the death by the unaware victim). A Catholic priest thrown into a concentration camp because he is a priest, is a victim of religious hatred, but not a martyr (for lack of the witness ending in death). A pious Catholic girl who flees soldiers intent on raping the women of a village, during which flight she is shot, is not a martyr (for lack of the soldier’s hatred of the Faith).

Slowly, quietly, Benedict is putting his stamp on the Church.

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  • I think she might still qualify under these new guidelines, but regardless all previous canonizations are valid under the rules in place at the time they were made.

  • I think it’s fine.  There is a tendency not to be precise about these things.  It leads to a lack of realization about what martyrdom is, and that it actually still exists.

    I also like the renewed emphasis on the fact that in order to be a saint, one has to be truly holy in life as well as admired for something they did or did not do.

  • I’m agree most with your last sentence.  So slow and so quiet, it is barely perceived.  I agree that the canonization process needed to be reformed, but is this really the most pressing matter given the crisis in the Church?

  • If you believe only those cannonized by the Church are saints, then there is a lot of room in Heaven.  How many miracles are unreported, or not advanced by bishops?  How many holy people die unknown?

    Doesn’t the Church name saints to be examples to us as to how to live a life of Holiness?

    If you are in Heaven, who needs earthly recognition?  It is not like being named a saint by the Church on earth will open the doors of Heaven for you.

    Correct me if I am way off.

    St. Max is a saint because he is a saint.  Not because he has been canonized.

  • I agree that the canonization process needed to be reformed, but is this really the most pressing matter given the crisis in the Church?

    Addressing the older point, just because your family is having a crisis you don’t take care of other business. For example, if your family is dealing with a very large debt, it doesn’t mean you don’t take Johnny to his soccer games until you’ve paid it off.

    The Church can chew gum and walk at the same time.