Pope Francis announces a new way to become a saint

  • Pope Francis announces a new way to become a saint

Pope Francis announces a new way to become a saint

Pope Francis has created another pathway towards sainthood.

POPE FRANCIS has adjusted a centuries-old procedure on how people can become saints.

The document is titled "maiorem hac dilectionem", or "greater love than this", after the verse from the Gospel of John which says: "No one has greater love than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends".

Until now, it required martyrdom, living a life of heroic values or having a clear saintly reputation.

According to media reports, on Tuesday, Pope Francis said that Christians who lay down their life to save others, "following in the footsteps and teaching of Jesus", will now be eligible for beatification.

To be beatified, the "free and voluntary offering of life" must be defined by "the heroic acceptance out of charity of certain death in a short term", the letter said.

The new decision follows on a process carried out by the Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints, which asked "whether those servants of God are not worthy of beatification who, inspired by the example of Christ, freely and deliberately offered and sacrificed their lives for their brothers and sisters in a supreme act of charity". This is a major difference from the "martyrdom" category, which does not require a miracle. There should also be a "need of the miracle for the beatification, which took place after the death of the Servant of God and through his intercession".

The candidate for beatification must also "exercise, at least in ordinary degree, the Christian virtues before bidding of life and, later, to the death". Each of those paths, including the newest, have certain requirements as defined by the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints. Verified miracles are a standard criteria for saints to be made in the Catholic Church; for example, Pope John Paul II was canonized for the allegedly miraculous cure of a French nun who suffered from Parkinson's Disease.

There must be a link between the offering and the premature death.

The addition of the new class for beatification was made with the support of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, which studied the matter during a plenary session on September 27, 2016. Pope Francis formally announced the additional avenue to sainthood on July 11.