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Pope Benedict presides at first canonisation


Pope Benedict XVI named five new saints yesterday at a Mass closing the three-week meeting of the world's Catholic bishops that reaffirmed the church's position on celibacy for priests and other central teachings.

CLICK HEREAssociated Press reports that most of the 250 bishops who attended the Synod of Bishops joined the pope in celebrating the Mass and the ceremony to elevate five men to sainthood.

"Today I have the joy of presiding for the first time over a canonization rite," Benedict said in an opening prayer. Many of the thousands of people gathered in St. Peter's Square waved Chilean flags in honour of a Chilean Jesuit who was being canonised.

Benedict also highlighted some of the major issues that emerged during the synod, calling priestly celibacy a "precious gift" and telling lay Catholics there can be no "dichotomy" between their faith and everyday life.

That appeared to be a reference to whether Communion can be denied to Catholic politicians who support laws contradicting church teaching, such as abortion rights - an issue raised by American prelates at the synod. Bishops recommended giving church officials leeway to decide the issue on a case-by-case basis.

Among those canonized Sunday was the Rev. Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga, a Chilean Jesuit who was known for his work with the poor as well as the young.

Two others came from Ukraine: Josef Bilczewski, archbishop of Lviv, who was greatly admired by Catholics, Orthodox Christians and Jews alike during World War I; and the Rev. Zygmunt Gorazdowski, who founded the Congregation for the Sisters of St. Joseph to care for the sick and poor.

Italians Felice da Nicosia, a lay Capuchin who lived in the 1700s, and the Rev. Gaetano Cantanoso, who founded the Veronican Sisters of the Holy Face in 1934, also were canonized.

Benedict's predecessor, Pope John Paul II, canonised 482 people and beatified 1338 - more than all the previous popes over the past 500 years combined. Departing from John Paul's custom, Benedict is presiding over only canonisations. He has designated cardinals to celebrate Masses for beatification.

SOURCE
Pope Presides Over First Saint Ceremony (The Guardian/Associated Press 23/10/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Table of Canonisations (Congregation for the Causes of Saints)

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24 Oct 2005