The saints are “the true light of the Church”, so before they are proposed to all Catholics for imitation and veneration, a scrupulous investigation is required, Pope Francis said yesterday. Source: NCR Online.
Pope Francis yesterday met staff and consultants from the office of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the congregation having an office.
The congregation, which is dedicated to identifying and promoting models of holiness, includes physicians, historians, theologians – and postulators, the people who shepherd and promote the causes of saints.
‘The very many beatifications and canonisations that have been celebrated in the past few decades demonstrate how the saints are not unreachable human beings but are close to us and can support us in our life’s journeys,” the Pope said.
Cardinal Angelo Becciu, prefect of the congregation, told the Pope that in the past 50 years, 2,203 people have been beatified and 1,479 have been canonised. In addition, the congregation handled the processes for the papal declarations of six new “doctors of the church,” namely: Sts Teresa of Avila, Catherine of Siena, Therese of Lisieux, Hildegard of Bingen, John of Avila and Gregory of Narek.
Before any of those processes, the cardinal said, the congregation “carries out a meticulous and scrupulous work of scrutinising and verifying their holiness.”
Focusing on the congregation’s work for the universal Church, neither Pope Francis nor Cardinal Becciu mentioned the Vatican’s recent decision to put on hold the beatification of US Archbishop Fulton Sheen, apparently awaiting clarification about how he handled cases of clerical sexual abuse.
Before declaring that a person lived a holy life and is with God in heaven, the Pope said, intense investigation is necessary, a work that must be carried out with “seriousness and expertise in studying the procedural sources and documentation with objectivity and rigor in the examination and at every stage of judgement.”
Such rigour, he said, is the only way for the church to “clear the field of any ambiguity and doubt, obtaining full certainty in the proclamation of sainthood.”