Beatification & Canonization, The Process


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The Beatification of Martyrs*
The causes of martyrs are conducted in the same way as those of confessors as far as the informative processes and those de non cultu and ad introductionem causae are concerned. But when once the commission of introduction has been appointed they advance much more rapidly.  No remissorial letters are granted for Apostolic processes concerning the general reputation for martyrdom and miracles; the letters sent call for an immediate investigation into the fact of martyrdom, its motive, and the particular miracles alleged. There is no longer a discussion of the general reputation for martyrdom or miracles.

The miracles are not discussed, as formerly, in separate meetings, but in the same meetings that deal with the fact and the motive of the martyrdom.  The miracles (signa) required are not those of the first class; those of the
second class suffice, nor is their number determined. On some occasions the decision as to miracles has been entirely dispensed with.

The discussion as to martyrdoms and miracles, formerly held in three meetings or congregations, viz. the ante-preparatory, preparatory, and general, is now  usually conducted, through a dispensation to be had in each instance from the sovereign pontiff, in a single congregation known as particularis, or special.  It consists of six or seven cardinals of the Congregation of Rites and four or five prelates especially deputed by the pope. There is but one positio prepared in the usual way; if there be an affirmative majority a decree is issued concerning the proof of martyrdom, the cause of martyrdom, and miracles. (Constare de Martyrio, causâ Martyrii et signis.)

The final stage is a discussion of the security (super tuto) with which advance to beatification may be made, as in the case of confessors; the solemn  beatification then follows. This procedure is followed in all cases of formal beatification in causes of both confessors and martyrs proposed in the ordinary way (per viam non cultus).

Those proposed as coming under the definition of cases excepted (casus excepti) by Urban VIII are treated in another way. In such cases it must be proved that an immemorial public veneration (at least for 100 years before the promulgation, in 1640, of the decrees of Urban VIII) has been paid the servant of God, whether confessor or martyr. Such cause is proposed under the title of "confirmation of veneration" (de confirmatione cultus); it is dealt with in an ordinary meeting of the Congregation of Rites. When the difficulties of the promotor of the Faith have been satisfied, a pontifical decree confirming the cultus is promulgated. Beatification of this kind is called equivalent or virtual.

*From:  Beatification and Canonization from Catholic Encyclopedia

The Canonization of Confessors or Martyrs*
The canonization of confessors or martyrs may be taken up as soon as two miracles are reported to have been worked at their intercession, after the pontifical permission of public veneration as described above. At this stage it is only required that the two miracles worked after the permission awarding a public cultus be discussed in three meetings of the congregation. The discussion proceeds in the ordinary way; if the miracles be confirmed another meeting (super tuto) is held. The pope then issues a Bull of Canonization in which he not only permits, but commands, the public cultus, or veneration, of the saint.

It is with the utmost possible brevity that I have described the elements of a process of beatification or canonization. It may be easily conjectured that considerable time must elapse before any cause of beatification or canonization can be conducted, from the first steps of the information, inquiry, or process, to the issuing of the decree super tuto. According to the constitution of this Congregation, more than one important discussion (dubia majora) cannot be proposed at the same time. It must be remembered  that the same cardinals and consultors must vote in all discussions;   that there is but one promotor of the Faith and one sub-promotor, who alone have charge of all observations to be made with regard to the dubia;  that these cardinals and consultors have to treat questions of ritual as well as processes of canonization and beatification. To execute all this business there is but one weekly meeting (congressus), a kind of minor congregation in which only the cardinal prefect and the major officials vote; in it less important and practical questions are settled regarding rites as well as causes, and answers are given, and rescripts which the pope afterwards verbally approves. The other meetings of the congregation (ordinary, rotal, and "upon virtues and miracles") may be as few as sixteen in the course of the year. Some other cause must therefore be found for the slow progress of causes of beatification or canonization than a lack of good will or activity on the part of the Congregation of Rites.

*From:  Beatification and Canonization from Catholic Encyclopedia


Jerry Richard, Chairman
Charles Hardy
H. Allen LeBlanc
Mary Agnes Hardy de la Houssage Belleau
Henry Charles Taylor
Rod Roy
Monsignor Robert Gabriel "Bob" Angelle
Father John Gary Schexnayder, Canonical Advisor
Father Keenan Brown
Father Brian Taylor

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