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placeholder Spiritual journey marked path to beatification for Pope John Paul II

‘Lessons’ recalled

Beatification, canonization differ

French nun healed

CYO camp: Focus on the person and traditional experience without electronics

Mall location brings tutoring close to kids

500 at first Walk Against Genocide

Teens spruce up Fairyland

Exhibit on maize in the Americas

• Sister Mary Victoria Hernandez, OP
• Sister Clarissa Marie Koscielski, OP
• Father John Mittelstadt, OFM

placeholder April 25, 2011   •   VOL. 49, NO. 8   •   Oakland, CA
Beatification, canonization differ

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The three main differences between a beatification and a canonization: the number and location of dioceses that can hold annual public liturgical celebrations in the holy person’s honor; who ceremonially requests the pope to act; and the level of papal authority involved in the proclamation.

During a beatification ceremony, the bishop of the diocese where the person dies asks that the candidate be declared blessed; at a canonization, the prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes speaks in the name of the whole Church and asks that the candidate be declared a saint.

And “papal infallibility is involved” when a person is declared a saint, said Cardinal Agostino Vallini, the papal vicar of Rome.

Beatification is an “administrative act” by which the pope allows a candidate for sainthood to be venerated publicly in places closely associated with his or her life and ministry.

A canonization, on the other hand, is a formal papal decree that the candidate was holy and is now in heaven with God; it allows public remembrance of the saint at liturgies throughout the Church. It also means that churches can be dedicated to the person without special Vatican permission.

Beatifications only became common in the early 1600s after the Vatican centralized the sainthood process. The centralized process meant dioceses could wait many years or decades to celebrate one of their own as a saint, so to acknowledge the local devotion to the candidate, the popes would give the candidate the title blessed and allow limited devotion.

For hundreds of years, the most obvious difference between a canonization and beatification was the fact that the pope personally presided only at a canonization Mass.

Procedurally, a miracle — literally — is needed for a blessed to be declared a saint.
For beatification, the Vatican requires proof of a miracle attributed to the candidate’s intercession, unless the candidate was martyred for his or her faith.

The second miracle — the one needed for canonization — must take place after the beatification ceremony and is seen as God’s final seal of approval on the Church’s proclamation.

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