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Charles de Foucault heading for beatification

The Vatican will today advance the causes of several candidates for beatification and canonization, including Charles de Foucauld and Cardinal Clemens August von Galen.

Catholic World News reports that in a ceremony scheduled for later today Rome time, Pope John Paul II will approve a series of decrees prepared by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

The decrees include testifying to the "heroic virtue" of candidates, who will then be eligible for beatification if an authentic miracle is discovered, and recognising the authenticity of miracles attributed to their candidate's intercession.

In April 2001, the Holy Father approved a decree affirming the heroic virtue of Fr Charles Foucauld, the former soldier and convert who lived as a hermit in southern Algeria, working as a pioneer of dialogue with Muslims, until his death in 1916. The recognition of a miracle would make the French priest eligible for beatification.

Another decree is expected to approve a miracle attributed to Cardinal von Galen, who died in 1946, just a month after being raised to the College of Cardinals. Known as the "Lion of Muenster" (a reference to his native city), he was a bold and outspoken opponent of the Nazi regime, and particularly the extermination of handicapped Germans.

Several other decrees will involve Polish candidates; it is possible that they could be beatified in June 2005, if Pope John Paul goes ahead with a tentative plan to visit his native land. Among them is a priest who served as the confessor to Sister Faustina, the Polish nun who popularized the Divine Mercy devotion, and was canonized by Pope John Paul in April 2000.

Beatification closer for Foucauld, von Galen, others (Catholic World News 17/12/04)

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20 Dec 2004