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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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli