Real or but wishful, decided or merely thinking aloud, insistent or but in the course of an impressive occasion, it might be both good and useful to hereunder forward some basic elements about the process observed by the Holy See in the matter of the Beatification and Canonization of Saints – something that has been locally mentioned lately. Let it be first said though that there are two categories of deceased holy men and women in the Church: One, all those in heaven who are already considered “saints” (with a small letter “s”). Two, all those in heaven who are officially named as “Saints” ( with a big “S”) by the Holy See and whose representations are seen in Churches for public veneration. The “saints” are those honored during “All Saints’ Day” while the “Saints” have their respective fixed days of commemoration in the Church yearly calendar.
The following brief and candid information would be enough to know the procedural order observed in order to establish the substantive merit of a case or Cause for Beatification and Canonization of Saints – on the occasion of a given insistent, persistent and consistent petition from those concerned:
(a) The official body at the Holy see or the Vatican that formally deals with this specific agenda is called the “Congregation for the Causes of Saints” and whose concrete address is Piazza Pio XII, 10, 00103 Rome, Italy or Vatican City State, Europe. (b) The Congregation has three Offices: First, the judicial Office that stipulates and implements the procedures of all Causes of Beatification and Canonization of Saints. Second, the Office of the Promoter General of the Faith who examines and evaluates all objections to the Cause and ascertains the observance of the needed procedural norms. Third, the office of the historico-hagiographical that investigates the Cause in the event of lack of sufficient qualification and number of witnesses for the Cause when this is presented long after the death of the Candidate.
(c) The local Church authority competent to initiate a Cause is the Bishop of the place in whose territorial jurisdiction the Candidate had his or her residence, and who passed away some years before. Convinced of the basic merits of a Cause, he gathers favorable written testimonials from individuals who know the life, virtues and miraculous interventions of the Candidate, and thereafter transmits the entire documentation to the Congregation.
(d) The Congregation instructs the said Bishop what are further required specially in terms of a substantive merits that the Cause requires and the procedural steps to follow precisely in order to duly establish the substantive merits thereof in terms of the heroic life and extraordinary virtues of the Candidate for Beatification and at least two more miraculous interventions for his or her Canonization.
(e) The same Bishop, after all the needed substantive and procedural requirements have been accomplished, would find it both proper and practical to seek the endorsement of the Cause from Bishops’ Conference of the place whereas both beatification and canonization has at least a national if not international impact for the Church.
August 12, 2009