Tighter restrictions for sainthood

The Vatican is set to release new guidelines tightening the restriction for candidates who are proposed for sainthood.

Catholic News Agency reports a 20-page document will be presented next Monday asking Bishops to show "greater sobriety" in accepting requests to begin inquiries into a prospective saint's life.

Initial investigations into the life of a proposed saint take place in the diocese where he or she died. The local Bishop must begin the inquiry and oversee the first phase, which produces a dossier of evidence to be sent to Rome.

After examined by Vatican officials, if found meritorious, candidates are then declared "servant of God," after which they can be beatified, and given the title "Blessed," after further examination. Beatification is the last step before canonisation, in which the candidate is proclaimed a saint and model for the whole Church.

Cardinal Saraiva Martins said the new document would "respond better to the new spirit introduced by Benedict" who has emphasized a clear line between beatification and canonization.

The new restrictions are expected to diminish the number of candidates proposed to the Vatican for recognition.

Vatican tightens standards for sainthood (Catholic News Agency 13/02/08)

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Saints and Angels

14 Feb 2008