Loading
Cardinal explains reasons for new standards for sainthood
Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins
Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins

.- Today the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins presented the anticipated Instruction, “Sanctorum Mater” to increase the rigor of the sainthood process.

The new restrictions are expected to diminish the number of candidates proposed to the Vatican for recognition.

In his remarks, the Portuguese cardinal explained that the Instruction is divided into six sections.

“The first draws attention to the need for a true reputation of holiness before beginning a process, and explains the duties and roles of the petitioner, the postulator and the competent bishop,” the cardinal said.

“The second part describes the preliminary phase of the cause which extends as far as the 'Nihil Obstat' of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.” The ‘Nihil Obstat’ is a status given to the works of the person in question which certifies that nothing in their teachings contradicts the teachings of the Church. 

“The third section concerns the instruction of the cause. The fourth part concentrates on the gathering of documentary proof and the fifth on the gathering of proof from witnesses. Finally, the sixth section of the document outlines the procedures for the closing of the inquiry,” he explained.

Cardinal Martins also explained the need for the publication of the document.  “In some dioceses, certain provisions of the law have not always been understood and, consequently, not been put into practice with the necessary meticulousness, which has sometimes made it necessary for the congregation to supply clarifications or to ask diocesan curias to correct errors.”

He continued, “dioceses do not always have access to specialized individuals with practical experience of the various procedures involved in a cause of canonization.”  For this reason, “it is evident that a practical document, such as this Instruction, was useful, indeed necessary.”

The new norms are also expected to clear up confusion regarding the methodology of the process. 

“When the current legislation on causes of saints came into force,” said the cardinal outlining another reason for the publication of the present document, “an unfounded idea became widespread that the traditional methodology ... had been substituted by some kind of historical-critical investigation.”

The reason for this confusion was “the fact that the term 'inquisitio' used in Latin (the only official text) to designate the procedure of the diocesan phase of a cause of canonization was translated in Italian as 'inchiesta' (inquiry)". The new Instruction, then, highlights "the importance of procedure" in causes of beatification and canonization, "and accurately highlights the norms that must be observed."

A final reason for issuance of the document is to emphasize the significance of the “fame of sanctity or martyrdom.” 

According to Cardinal Martins, some dioceses or others promoting a potential saint’s cause were not aware that a reputation for holiness “is a prior requirement of absolute importance.”

Lest a person’s reputation for sanctity be built up by their cause for sainthood being introduced, the cardinal insisted that “a procedure must not begin without irrefutable proof that the Servant of God ... is held to be a saint or martyr by a considerable number of faithful, who invoke him or her in their prayers and attribute graces and favors to his or her intercession.”

During the pontificate of Benedict XVI, there have been 20 beatification ceremonies during which 563 Servants of God were beatified, including 48 diocesan priests, 485 male and female religious, and 30 lay people, for a total of 509 men and 54 women.

The canonization ceremonies celebrated thus far during the pontificate of Benedict XVI number four (three in Rome and one in Brazil), during which 14 people were canonized.

According to the Press Office of the Holy See, the current total of saints and blesseds of Pope Benedict’s pontificate is 577.


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic
Apr
23

Liturgical Calendar

April 23, 2014

Wednesday within the Octa ve of Easter

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 28:8-15

Gospel
Date
04/22/14
04/21/14
04/20/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Acts 3:1-10
Gospel:: Lk 24:13-35

Saint of the Day

St. Adalbert of Prague »

Saint
Date
04/21/14
04/20/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 28:8-15

Homily
Date
04/22/14
04/21/14
04/20/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: