Factbox: Roman Catholic Church's saint-making process

Sun May 1, 2011 6:51am EDT

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(Reuters) - The late Pope John Paul moved a major step closer to sainthood on Sunday at a ceremony that drew more than a million people, the largest crowd in Rome since his funeral six years ago.

Here are some key facts about the canonization process by which the Roman Catholic Church makes a saint:


-- Under normal Church rules, five years must pass after a person dies before the procedure for sainthood can even begin. Despite a person's reputation of holiness during his or her life, the process cannot begin until after death.

-- The reigning pope has the authority to waive the five-year waiting period. Pope Benedict put John Paul on the fast track in May 2005, just two months after his predecessor died.

-- When the local bishop begins the "cause," the candidate for sainthood receives the title "Servant of God." A "postulator" is then appointed to help gather information about the candidate. The postulator also reviews nearly every word known to have been written or spoken by the candidate.

-- One miracle is required after a candidate's death for the cause to move on to beatification. The miracle must be the result of a person praying to the candidate for intercession with God. Miracles are usually the healing of medical conditions that doctors are at a loss to explain.

-- The candidate can then be beatified and declared a "blessed" of the church. Another distinct miracle is needed between beatification and canonization, or the conferring of sainthood.

-- Parts of the Church's saint-making process go back several centuries. The procedure is detailed and often long. In the early Church, a simple acclamation sufficed.


-- Last January, Benedict approved a decree attributing a miracle to John Paul's intercession with God and announced that he would be beatified on May 1.

-- The miracle concerned Sister Marie Simon-Pierre Normand, a French nun diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, from which the pope himself had suffered. She said in June 2005 her illness inexplicably disappeared two months after his death when she and her fellow nuns prayed to him.

Sources: Reuters; www.newadvent.org

(Writing by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit)

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Comments (1)
pbt777 wrote:
The Catholic Church is nothing but a man-made religion that has no clue what true Christianity is. This beautification process is not biblical. Just do a search of the word “saint” in the New Testament and you will easily realize that anyone who commits their life to Jesus is a saint. I was a Catholic and ran for my life when I picked up a Bible for the first time 25 years ago and found the Catholic Church had led me astray. I went through all the catechism classes and fulfilled all the sacraments and I couldn’t explain to you why Jesus really had to die. Ask any Catholic and they will only be able to tell you that He died for my sins. Follow up with, “But why?” DAAAAAAAAAH! That’s what you’ll get. For proof that all believers are saints, copy and paste link below in your browser…


May 01, 2011 7:39pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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