Васильев В. История канонизации русских святых. Москва, 1893.
Голубинский Е. История канонизация святых в Русской Церкви. В: ЧОИДР, 1903, кн. 1. Опись А, №779.
- в России 1547 г., статья Мусина; принципы ее в 2000 г., изложение
Отношение к К. как награждению в пост-советской
Абрамова А. Письмо об ошибочной канонизации Д.Климашова. 2011.
Хорошев А.С. Политическая история русской канонизации (XI-XVI вв.). М.: Изд-во МГУ, 1986. 211 с.
Greene, Robert H. Making Saints:
Community in Late
Imperial Russia // The Carl Beck Papers in Russian and East European Studies. #1801. 2006. Pgs. 1-67.
Заседание комиссии по канонизации святых 19 марта 1993 г.: (ЖМП, 1994, №2, с. 37):
"В практике Русской Православной Церкви право канонизации местнохрамо-вых и местноепархиальных святых принадлежало правящему архиерею с ведома и благословения Предстоятеля Церкви - Митрополита, позднее - Патриарха всея Руси.
Свидетельством святости являются в Церкви проповедь слова Божия, мученичество и исповедничество за Христа, святительское служение, высокая праведная жизнь, Православие безукоризненное.
В подходе к канонизации местночтимых святых использовались те же критерии, что и при общецерковном прославлении: святость того или иного подвижника веры удостоверяется его народным почитанием, даром чудотво-рения святого при его жизни или после смерти и нередко - наличием нетленных мощей".
25 января 1983 г. папа Войтыла издал апостольскую конституцию "Divinus
Perfectionis Magister", изменившую порядок канонизации. Документ радикально
расширил полномочия местного епископа. Основным способом подтверждения святости
стало составление критической биографии. Церковные адвокаты, которые ранее в основном
вели канонизационную процедуру, стали терять работу - их заменили церковные историки.
Джордж Вайгель, биограф Войтылы, считал, что реформа ставила своей целью уменьшить
бюрократичность процесса, сделать его более открытым для пастырских соображений.
"Подлинный святой должен являться примером во всем ... Нынешний Папа Иоанн
Павел II провозгласил столько людей святыми, сколько все предыдущие Папы вместе
взятые, и можно задать вопрос, не является ли это некой инфляцией свяости ...
В отношении некоторых людей есть очень сильное подозрение, что процесс не был
проведен по-настоящему, и, следовательно, провозглашение таковых блаженными или
даже потом святыми недействительно. Например, беатификация Иоанна XXIII".
- Свящ. Вернер Бёзигер. Падре Пио: наш современник - святой - конечно, не модернист.
// Покров. Вып. 15. М.: Stella Aeterna, 2002. С. 88, 90. Орган Александра Крысова,
братство Пия X. Тел. 180-5071.
"2. To begin a cause it is necessary for at least 5 years to have passed since
the death of the candidate. This is to allow greater balance and objectivity in
evaluating the case and to let the emotions of the moment dissipate.
"3. The bishop of the diocese in which the person whose beatification is being
requested died is responsible for beginning the investigation. The promoter group
('Actor Causae'): diocese, parish, religious congregation, association, asks the
bishop through the postulator for the opening of the investigation. The bishop,
once the 'nulla osta' of the Holy See is obtained, forms a diocesan tribunal for
this purpose. Witnesses are called before the tribunal to recount concrete facts
on the exercise of Christian virtues considered heroic, that is, the theological
virtues: faith, hope and charity, and the cardinal virtues: prudence, justice,
temperance and fortitude, and others specific to his state in life. In addition,
all documents regarding the candidate must be gathered. At this point he is entitled
to the title of Servant of God.
"4. Once the diocesan investigation is finished, the acts and documentation
are passed on to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. The public copy used
for further work is put together here. The postulator, resident in Rome, follows
the preparation of the 'Positio', or summary of the documentation that proves
the heroic exercise of virtue, under the direction of a relator of the Congregation.
The 'Positio' undergoes an examination (theological) by nine theologians who give
their vote. If the majority of the theologians are in favour, the cause is passed
on for examination by cardinals and bishops who are members of the congregation.
They hold meetings twice a month. If their judgment is favourable, the prefect
of the congregation presents the results of the entire course of the cause to
the Holy Father, who gives his approval and authorizes the congregation to draft
the relative decree. The public reading and promulgation of the decree follows.
"5. For the beatification of a confessor a miracle attributed to the Servant
of God, verified after his death, is necessary. The required miracle must be proven
through the appropriate canonical investigation, following a procedure analogous
to that for heroic virtues. This one too is concluded with the relative decree.
Once the two decrees are promulgated (regarding the heroic virtues and the miracle)
the Holy Father decides on beatification, which is the concession of public worship,
limited to a particular sphere. With beatification the candidate receives the
title of Blessed.
"6. For canonization another miracle is needed, attributed to the intercession
of the Blessed and having occurred after his beatification. The methods for ascertainment
of the affirmed miracle are the same as those followed for beatification. Canonization
is understood as the concession of public worship in the Universal Church. Pontifical
infallibility is involved. With canonization, the Blessed acquires the title of
Beatification and Canonization
According to some writers the origin of beatification and canonization
in the Catholic Church is to be traced back to the ancient pagan apotheosis.
In his classic work on the subject (De Servorum Dei Beatificatione et Beatorum
Canonizatione) Benedict XIV examines and at the very outset refutes this view.
He shows so well the substantial differences between them that no right-thinking
person need henceforth confound the two institutions or derive one from the other.
It is a matter of history who were elevated to the honour of apotheosis, on what
grounds, and by whose authority; no less clear is the meaning that was attached
to it. Often the decree was due to the statement of a single person (possibly
bribed or enticed by promises, and with a view to fix the fraud more securely
in the minds of an already superstitious people) that while the body of the new
god was being burned, an eagle, in the case of the emperors, or a peacock (Juno's
sacred bird), in the case of their consorts, was seen to carry heavenward the
spirit of the departed (Livy, Hist. Rome, I, xvi; Herodian, Hist. Rome, IV, ii,
iii). Apotheosis was awarded to most members of the imperial family, of which
family it was the exclusive privilege. No regard was had to virtues or remarkable
achievements. Recourse was frequently had to this form of deification to escape
popular hatred by distracting attention from the cruelty of imperial rulers. It
is said that Romulus was deified by the senators who slew him; Poppaea owed her
apotheosis to her imperial paramour, Nero, after he had kicked her to death; Geta
had the honour from his brother Caracalla, who had got rid of him through jealousy.
Canonization in the Catholic Church is quite another thing.
The Catholic Church canonizes or beatifies only those whose lives have been marked
by the exercise of heroic virtue, and only after this has been proved by common
repute for sanctity and by conclusive arguments. The chief difference, however,
lies in the meaning of the term canonization, the Church seeing in the
saints nothing more than friends and servants of God whose holy lives have made
them worthy of His special love. She does not pretend to make gods (cf. Eusebius
Emisenus, Serm. de S. Rom. M.; Augustine, De Civitate Dei, XXII, x; Cyrill. Alexandr.,
Contra Jul., lib. VI; Cyprian, De Exhortat. martyr.; Conc. Nic., II, act. 3).
The true origin of canonization and beatification must be sought
in the Catholic doctrine of the worship (cultus), invocation, and intercession
of the saints. As was taught by St. Augustine (Quaest. in Heptateuch., lib. II,
n. 94; Contra Faustum, lib. XX, xxi), Catholics, while giving to God alone adoration
strictly so-called, honour the saints because of the Divine supernatural gifts
which have earned them eternal life, and through which they reign with God in
the heavenly fatherland as His chosen friends and faithful servants. In other
words, Catholics honour God in His saints as the loving distributor of supernatural
gifts. The worship of latria (latreia), or strict adoration, is
given to God alone; the worship of dulia (douleia), or honour and
humble reverence, is paid the saints; the worship of hyperdulia (hyperdouleia),
a higher form of dulia, belongs, on account of her greater excellence,
to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Church (Aug., Contra Faustum, XX, xxi, 21; cf.
De Civit. Dei, XXII, x) erects her altars to God alone, though in honour and memory
of the saints and martyrs. There is Scriptural warrant for such worship in the
passages where we are bidden to venerate angels (Ex., xxiii, 20 sqq.; Jos., v,
13 sqq.; Dan., viii, 15 sqq.; x, 4 sqq.; Luke, ii, 9 sqq.; Acts, xii, 7 sqq.;
Apoc., v, 11 sqq.; vii, 1 sqq.; Matt., xviii, 10; etc.), whom holy men are not
unlike, as sharers of the friendship of God. And if St. Paul beseeches the brethren
(Rom., xv, 30; II Cor., i, 11; Col., iv, 3; Ephes., vi, 18, 19) to help him by
their prayers for him to God, we must with even greater reason maintain that we
can be helped by the prayers of the saints, and ask their intercession with humility.
If we may beseech those who still live on earth, why not those who live in heaven?
It is objected that the invocation of saints is opposed to the
unique mediatorship of Christ Jesus. There is indeed "one mediator of God and
man, the man Christ Jesus". But He is our mediator in His quality of our common
Redeemer; He is not our sole intercessor nor advocate, nor our sole mediator by
way of supplication. In the eleventh session of the Council of Chalcedon (451)
we find the Fathers exclaiming, "Flavianus lives after death! May the Martyr pray
for us!" If we accept this doctrine of the worship of the saints, of which there
are innumerable evidences in the writings of the Fathers and the liturgies of
the Eastern and Western Churches, we shall not wonder at the loving care with
which the Church committed to writing the sufferings of the early martyrs, sent
these accounts from one gathering of the faithful to another, and promoted the
veneration of the martyrs.
Let one instance suffice. In the circular epistle of the Church
of Smyrna (Eus., Hist. Eccl., IV, xxiii) we find mention of the religious celebration
of the day on which St. Polycarp suffered martyrdom (23 February, 155); and the
words of the passage exactly express the main purpose which the Church has in
the celebration of such anniversaries:
We have at last gathered his bones, which are dearer
to us than priceless gems and purer than gold, and laid them to rest where it
was befitting they should lie. And if it be possible for us to assemble again,
may God grant us to celebrate the birthday of his martyrdom with gladness, thus
to recall the memory of those who fought in the glorious combat, and to teach
and strengthen by his example, those who shall come after us.
This anniversary celebration and veneration of the martyrs was
a service of thanksgiving and congratulation, a token and an evidence of the joy
of those who engaged in it (Muratori, de Paradiso, x), and its general diffusion
explains why Tertullian, though asserting with the Chiliasts that the departed
just would obtain eternal glory only after the general resurrection of the body,
admitted an exception for the martyrs (De Resurrectione Carnis, xliii).
It must be obvious, however, that while private moral certainty
of their sanctity and possession of heavenly glory may suffice for private veneration
of the saints, it cannot suffice for public and common acts of that kind. No member
of a social body may, independently of its authority, perform an act proper to
that body. It follows naturally that for the public veneration of the saints the
ecclesiastical authority of the pastors and rulers of the Church was constantly
required. The Church had at heart, indeed, the honour of the martyrs, but she
did not therefore grant liturgical honours indiscriminately to all those who had
died for the Faith. St. Optatus of Mileve, writing at the end of the fourth century,
tells us (De Schism, Donat., I, xvi, in P.L., XI, 916-917) of a certain noble
lady, Lucilla, who was reprehended by Caecilianus, Archdeacon of Carthage, for
having kissed before Holy Communion the bones of one who was either not a martyr
or whose right to the title was unproved.
The decision as to the martyr having died for his faith in Christ,
and the consequent permission of worship, lay originally with the bishop of the
place in which he had borne his testimony. The bishop inquired into the motive
of his death and, finding he had died a martyr, sent his name with an account
of his martyrdom to other churches, especially neighboring ones, so that, in event
of approval by their respective bishops, the cultus of the martyr might extend
to their churches also, and that the faithful, as we read of St. Ignatius in the
"Acts" of his martyrdom (Ruinart, Acta Sincera Martyrum, 19) "might hold communion
with the generous martyr of Christ (generoso Christi martyri communicarent).
Martyrs whose cause, so to speak, had been discussed, and the fame of whose martyrdom
had been confirmed, were known as proved (vindicati) martyrs. As far as
the word is concerned it may probably not antedate the fourth century, when it
was introduced in the Church at Carthage; but the fact is certainly older. In
the earlier ages, therefore, this worship of the saints was entirely local and
passed from one church to another with the permission of their bishops. This is
clear from the fact that in none of the ancient Christian cemeteries are there
found paintings of martyrs other than those who had suffered in that neighborhood.
It explains, also, almost the universal veneration very quickly paid to some martyrs,
e.g., St. Lawrence, St. Cyprian of Carthage, Pope St. Sixtus of Rome [Duchesne,
Origines du culte chrétien (Paris, 1903), 284].
The worship of confessors -- of those, that is, who died peacefully
after a life of heroic virtue -- is not as ancient as that of the martyrs. The
word itself takes on a different meaning after the early Christian periods. In
the beginning it was given to those who confessed Christ when examined in the
presence of enemies of the Faith (Baronius, in his notes to Ro. Mart., 1 January,
D), or, as Benedict XIV explains (op, cit., II, c. ii, n. 6), to those who died
peacefully after having confessed the Faith before tyrants or other enemies of
the Christian religion, and undergone tortures or suffered other punishments of
whatever nature. Later on, confessors were those who had lived a holy life and
closed it by a holy death in Christian peace. It is in this sense that we now
treat of the worship paid to confessors.
It was in the fourth century, as is commonly held, that confessors
were first given public ecclesiastical honour, though occasionally praised in
ardent terms by earlier Fathers, and although an abundant rewards (multiplex
corona) is declared by St. Cyprian to be theirs (De Zelo et Livore, col. 509;
cf. Innoc. III, De Myst. Miss., III, x; Benedict XIV, op. cit., I, v, no 3 sqq;
Bellarmine, De Missâ, II, xx, no 5). Still Bellarmine thinks it uncertain
when confessors began to be objects of cultus, and asserts that it was not before
800, when the feasts of Sts. Martin and Remigius are found in the catalogue of
feasts drawn up by the Council of Mainz. This opinion of Innocent III and Benedict
XIV is confirmed by the implicit approval of St. Gregory the Great (Dial., I,
xiv, and III, xv) and by well attested facts; in the East, for example, Hilarion
(Sozomen, III, xiv, and VIII, xix), Ephrem (Greg. Nyss., Orat. in laud. S. Ephrem),
and other confessors were publicly honoured in the fourth century; and, in the
West, St. Martin of Tours, as is gathered plainly from the oldest Breviaries and
the Mozarabic Missal (Bona, Rer. Lit., II, xii, no. 3), and St. Hilary of Poitiers,
as can be shown from the very ancient Mass-book known as "Missale Francorum",
were objects of a like cultus in the same century (Martigny, Dictionnaire des
antiquités chrétiennes, s. v. Confesseurs).
The reason of this veneration lies, doubtless, in the resemblance
of the confessors' self-denying and heroically virtuous lives to the sufferings
of the martyrs; such lives could truly be called prolonged martyrdoms. Naturally,
therefore, such honour was first paid to ascetics (Duchesne, op. cit., 284) and
only afterwards to those who resembled in their lives the very penitential and
extraordinary existence of the ascetics. So true is this that the confessors themselves
are frequently called martyrs. St. Gregory Nazianzen calls St. Basil a martyr
(Orat. de laud., P.L., XXXVI, 602); St. Chrysostom applies the same title to Eustachius
of Antioch (Opp. II, 606); St. Paulinus of Nola writes of St. Felix of Nola that
he won heavenly honours, sine sanguine martyr ("a bloodless martyr" --
Poem., XIV, Carm. III, v, 4); St. Gregory the Great styles Zeno of Verona a martyr
(Dial. III. xix), and Metronius gives to St. Roterius (Acta SS., II, May 11, 306)
the same title. Later on, the names of confessors were inserted in the diptychs,
and due reverence was paid them. Their tombs were honoured (Martigny, loc. cit.)
with the same title (martyria) as those of the martyrs. It remained true,
however, at all times that it was unlawful to venerate confessors without permission
of the ecclesiastical authority as it had been so to venerate martyrs (Bened.
XIV, loc. cit., vi).
We have seen that for several centuries the bishops, in some
places only the primates and patriarchs (August., Brevic. Collat. cum Donatistis,
III, xiii, no 25 in P.L., XLIII, 628), could grant to martyrs and confessors public
ecclesiastical honour; such honour, however, was always decreed only for the local
territory over which the grantors held jurisdiction. Still, it was only the Bishop
of Rome's acceptance of the cultus that made it universal, since he alone could
permit or command in the Universal Church [Gonzalez Tellez, Comm. Perpet. in singulos
textus libr. Decr. (III, xlv), in cap. i, De reliquiis et vener. Sanct.]. Abuses,
however, crept into this form of discipline, due as well to indiscretions of popular
fervour as to the carelessness of some bishops in inquiring into the lives of
those whom they permitted to be honoured as saints. Towards the close of the eleventh
century the popes found it necessary to restrict episcopal authority on this point,
and decreed that the virtues and miracles of persons proposed for public veneration
should be examined in councils, more particularly in general councils. Urban II,
Calixtus II, and Eugenius III followed this line of action. It happened, even
after these decrees, that "some, following the ways of the pagans and deceived
by the fraud of the evil one, venerated as a saint a man who had been killed while
intoxicated". Alexander III (1159-81) took occasion to prohibit his veneration
in these words: "For the future you will not presume to pay him reverence, as,
even though miracles were worked through him, it would not allow you to revere
him as a saint unless with the authority of the Roman Church" (c. i, tit. cit.,
X. III, xlv). Theologians do not agree as to the full import of this decretal.
Either a new law was made (Bellarmine, De Eccles. Triumph., I, viii), in which
case the pope then for the first time reserved the right of beatification, or
a pre-existing law was confirmed. As the decretal did not put an end to all controversy,
and some bishops did not obey it in as far as it regarded beatification (which
right they had certainly possessed hitherto), Urban VII published, in 1634, a
Bull which put an end to all discussion by reserving to the Holy See exclusively
not only its immemorial right of canonization, but also that of beatification.
NATURE OF BEATIFICATION AND CANONIZATION
Before dealing with the actual procedure in causes of beatification
and canonization, it is proper to define these terms precisely and briefly in
view of the preceding considerations.
Canonization, generally speaking, is a decree regarding the
public ecclesiastical veneration of an individual. Such veneration, however, may
be permissive or preceptive, may be universal or local. If the decree contains
a precept, and is universal in the sense that it binds the whole Church, it is
a decree of canonization; if it only permits such worship, or if it binds
under precept, but not with regard to the whole Church, it is a decree of beatification.
In the ancient discipline of the Church, probably even as late
as Alexander III, bishops could in their several dioceses allow public veneration
to be paid to saints, and such episcopal decrees were not merely permissive, but,
in my opinion, preceptive. Such decrees, however, could not prescribe universal
honour; the effect of an episcopal act of this kind, was equivalent to our modern
beatification. In such cases there was, properly speaking, no canonization, unless
with the consent of the pope extending the cultus in question, implicitly or explicitly,
and imposing it by way of precept upon the Church at large. In the more recent
discipline beautification is a permission to venerate, granted by the Roman Pontiffs
with restriction to certain places and to certain liturgical exercises. Thus it
is unlawful to pay to the person known as Blessed (i.e. the Beatus, Beatified),
public reverence outside of the place for which the permission is granted, or
to recite an office in his honour, or to celebrate Mass with prayers referring
to him, unless special indult be had; similarly, other methods of honour have
been interdicted. Canonization is a precept of the Roman Pontiff commanding public
veneration to be paid an individual by the Universal Church. To sum up, beatification,
in the present discipline, differs from canonization in this: that the former
implies (1) a locally restricted, not a universal, permission to venerate, which
is (2) a mere permission, and no precept; while canonization implies a universal
In exceptional cases one or other element of this distinction
may be lacking; thus, Alexander III not only allowed but ordered the public cultus
of Bl. William of Malavalle in the Diocese of Grosseto, and his action was confirmed
by Innocent III; Leo X acted similarly with regard to Bl. Hosanna for the city
and district of Mantua; Clement IX with regard to Bl. Rose of Lima, when he selected
her as principal patron of Lima and of Peru; and Clement X, by making her patron
of all America, the Philippines, and the Indies. Clement X also chose Bl. Stanislaus
Kostka as patron of Poland, Lithuania, and the allied provinces. Again, in respect
to universality, Sixtus IV permitted the cultus of Bl. John Boni for the Universal
Church. In all these instances there was only beatification. The cultus of Bl.
Rose of Lima, it is true, was general and obligatory for America, but, lacking
complete preceptive universality, was not strictly speaking canonization (Benedict
XIV, op. sit., I, xxxix).
Canonization, therefore, creates a cultus which is universal
and obligatory. But in imposing this obligation the pope may, and does, use one
of two methods, each constituting a new species of canonization, i.e. formal
canonization and equivalent canonization. Formal canonization occurs
when the cultus is prescribed as an explicit and definitive decision, after due
judicial process and the ceremonies usual in such cases. Equivalent canonization
occurs when the pope, omitting the judicial process and the ceremonies, orders
some servant of God to be venerated in the Universal Church; this happens when
such a saint has been from a remote period the object of veneration, when his
heroic virtues (or martyrdom) and miracles are related by reliable historians,
and the fame of his miraculous intercession is uninterrupted. Many examples of
such canonization are to be found in Benedict XIV; e.g. Saints Romuald, Norbert,
Bruno, Peter Nolasco, Raymond Nonnatus, John of Matha, Felix of Valois, Queen
Margaret of Scotland, King Stephen of Hungary, Wenceslaus Duke of Bohemia, and
Gregory VII. Such instances afford a good proof of the caution with which the
Roman Church proceeds in these equivalent canonizations. St. Romuald was not canonized
until 439 years after his death, and the honour came to him sooner than to any
of the others mentioned. We may add that this equivalent canonization consists
usually in the ordering of an Office and Mass by the pope in honour of the saint,
and that mere enrollment in the Roman Martyrology does not by any means imply
this honour (Bened. XIV, l, c., xliii, no 14).
PAPAL INFALLIBILITY AND CANONIZATION
Is the pope infallible in issuing a decree of canonization?
Most theologians answer in the affirmative. It is the opinion of St. Antoninus,
Melchior Cano, Suarez, Bellarmine, Bañez, Vasquez, and, among the canonists,
of Gonzales Tellez, Fagnanus, Schmalzgrüber, Barbosa, Reiffenstül, Covarruvias
(Variar. resol., I, x, no 13), Albitius (De Inconstantiâ in fide, xi, no
205), Petra (Comm. in Const. Apost., I, in notes to Const. I, Alex., III, no 17
sqq.), Joannes a S. Thomâ (on II-II, Q. I, disp. 9, a. 2), Silvester (Summa,
s. v. Canonizatio), Del Bene (De Officio Inquisit. II, dub. 253), and many others.
In Quodlib. IX, a. 16, St. Thomas says: "Since the honour we pay the saints is
in a certain sense a profession of faith, i.e., a belief in the glory of the Saints
[quâ sanctorum gloriam credimus] we must piously believe that in
this matter also the judgment of the Church is not liable to error." These words
of St. Thomas, as is evident from the authorities just cited, all favouring a
positive infallibility, have been interpreted by his school in favour of papal
infallibility in the matter of canonization, and this interpretation is supported
by several other passages in the same Quodlibet. This infallibility, however according
to the holy doctor, is only a point of pious belief. Theologians generally agree
as to the fact of papal infallibility in this matter of canonization, but disagree
as to the quality of certitude due to a papal decree in such matter. In the opinion
of some it is of faith (Arriaga, De fide, disp. 9, p. 5, no 27); others hold that
to refuse assent to such a judgment of the Holy See would be both impious and
rash, as Suarez (De fide, disp. 5 p. 8, no 8); many more (and this is the general
view) hold such a pronouncement to be theologically certain, not being of Divine
Faith as its purport has not been immediately revealed, nor of ecclesiastical
Faith as having thus far not been defined by the Church.
What is the object of this infallible judgment of the pope?
Does he define that the person canonized is in heaven or only
that he has practiced Christian virtues in an heroic degree? I have never seen
this question discussed; my own opinion is that nothing else is defined than that
the person canonized is in heaven. The formula used in the act of canonization
has nothing more than this:
"In honour of . . . we decree and define that Blessed
N. is a Saint, and we inscribe his name in the catalogue of saints, and order
that his memory by devoutly and piously celebrated yearly on the . . . day of
. . . his feast."
There is no question of heroic virtue in this formula; on the
other hand, sanctity does not necessarily imply the exercise of heroic virtue,
since one who had not hitherto practised heroic virtue would, by the one transient
heroic act in which he yielded up his life for Christ, have justly deserved to
be considered a saint. This view seems all the more certain if we reflect that
all the arguments of theologians for papal infallibility in the canonization of
saints are based on the fact that on such occasions the popes believe and assert
that the decision which they publish is infallible (Pesch, Prael. Dogm., I, 552).
(Ad honorem . . . beatum N. Sanctum esse decernimus et definimus ac sanctorum
catalogo adscribimus statuentes ab ecclesiâ universali illius memoriam quolibet
anno, die ejus natali . . . piâ devotione recoli debere.)
This general agreement of theologians as to papal infallibility
in canonization must not be extended to beatification, not withstanding the contrary
teaching of the canonical commentary known as "Glossa" [in cap. un. de reliquiis
et venerat. SS. (III, 22) in 6; Innocent., Comm. in quinque Decretalium libros,
tit. de reliquiis, etc., no 4; Ostiensis in eumd. tit. no 10; Felini, cap. lii,
De testibus, etc., X (II, 20); Caietani, tract. De indulgentiis adversus Lutherum
ad Julium Mediceum; Augustini de Ancona, seu Triumphi, De potestate eccl., Q.
xiv, a. 4). Canonists and theologians generally deny the infallible character
of decrees of beatification, whether formal or equivalent, since it is always
a permission, not a command; while it leads to canonization, it is not the last
step. Moreover, in most cases, the cultus permitted by beatification, is restricted
to a determined province, city, or religious body (Benedict XIV, op. cit., I,
xlii). Some, however, have thought otherwise (Arriaga, Theol., V, disp. 7, p.
6; Amicus, Theol., IV, disp. 7, p.4, no 98; Turrianus on II-II, V, disp. 17, no
6; Del Bene, De S. Inquisit. II, dub. 254).
PRESENT PROCEDURE IN CAUSES OF BEATIFICATION
We must first distinguish causes of martyrs from those of confessors
or virgins, since the method followed is not entirely identical in both cases.
The Beatification of Confessors
In order to secure beatification (the most important and difficult
step in the process of canonization) the regular procedure is as follows:
The Beatification of Martyrs
- Choosing of a vice-postulator by the postulator-general of
the cause, to promote all the judicial inquiries necessary in places outside of
Rome. Such inquiries are instituted by the local episcopal authority.
- The preparation of the inquiries (processus) all of
which are carried on by the ordinary episcopal authority. They are of three kinds:
(a) Informative inquiries regard the reputation for sanctity and miracles
of the servants of God, not only in general, but also in particular instances;
there may be several such inquiries if the witnesses to be examined belong to
different dioceses. (b) Processes de non cultu are instituted to prove
that the decrees of Urban VIII regarding the prohibition of public worship of
servants of God before their beatification have been obeyed; they are generally
conducted by the bishop of the place where the relics of the servant of God are
preserved. (c) Other inquiries are known as Processiculi diligentiarum
and have for their object the writings attributed to the person whose beatification
is in question; they vary in number according to the dioceses where such writings
are found, or are thought likely to be found, and may not be judicially executed
before an "Instruction" is obtained from the promotor of the Faith by the postulator-general
and by him sent to the bishop in question.
- The results of all these inquiries are sent to Rome, to the
Congregation of Rites, in charge of a messenger (portitor) chosen by the
judges, or by some other secure way, in case a rescript of the congregation dispenses
from the obligation of sending a messenger.
- They are opened, translated if necessary into Italian, a public
copy is made, and a cardinal is deputed by the pope as relator or ponens
of the cause, for all which steps rescripts of the congregation, confirmed by
the pope, must be obtained.
- The writings of the servant of God are next revised by theologians
appointed by the cardinal relator himself, authorized to so act by a special rescript.
Meantime, the advocate and the procurator of the cause, chosen by the postulator-general,
have prepared all the documents that concern the introduction of the cause (positio
super introductione causae). These consist of (a) a summary of the informative
processes, (b) an information, (c) answers to the observations or difficulties
of the promotor of the Faith sent by him to the Postulator.
- This collection of documents (positio) is printed and
distributed to the cardinals of the Congregation of Rites forty days before the
date assigned for their discussion.
- If nothing contrary to faith and morals is found in the writings
of the servant of God, a decree is published, authorizing further action (quod
in causâ procedi possit ad ulteriora), i. e., the discussion of the
matter (dubium) of appointment or non-appointment of a commission for the
introduction of the cause.
- At the time fixed by the Congregation of Rites an ordinary
meeting (congregatio) is held in which this appointment is debated by the
cardinals of the aforesaid congregation and its officials, but without the vote
or participation of the consultors, though this privilege is always granted them
- If in this meeting the cardinals favour the appointment of
the aforesaid commission, a decree to that effect is promulgated, and the pope
signs it, but, according to custom, with his baptismal name, not with that of
his pontificate. Thenceforward the servant of God is judicially given the title
- A petition is then presented asking remissorial letters for
the bishops in partibus (outside of Rome), authorizing them to set on foot
by Apostolic authority, the inquiry (processus) with regard to the fame
of sanctity and miracles in general. This permission is granted by rescript, and
such remissorial letters are prepared and sent to the bishops by the postulator-general.
In case the eye-witnesses be of advanced age, other remissorial letters are usually
granted for the purpose of opening a process known as "inchoative" concerning
the particular virtues of miracles of the person in question. This is done in
order that the proofs may not be lost (ne pereant probationes), and such
inchoative process precedes that upon the miracles and virtues in general.
- While the Apostolic process concerning the reputation of sanctity
is under way outside of Rome, documents are being prepared by the procurator of
the cause for the discussion de non cultu, or absence of cultus, and at
the appointed time an ordinary meeting (congregatio) is held in which the
matter is investigated; if it be found that the decree of Urban VIII has been
complied with, another decree provides that further steps may be taken.
- When the inquiry concerning the reputation of sanctity (super
famâ) has arrived in Rome, it is opened (as already described in speaking
of the ordinary processes, and with the same formalities in regard to rescripts),
then translated into Italian, summarized, and declared valid. The documents super
famâ in general are prepared by the advocate, and at the proper time,
in an ordinary meeting of the cardinals of the Congregation of Rites, the question
is discussed: whether there is evidence of a general repute for sanctity and miracles
of this servant of God. If the answer is favourable, a decree embodying this result
- New remissorial letters are then sent to the bishops in
partibus for Apostolical processes with regard to the reputation for sanctity
and miracles in particular. These processes must be finished within eighteen months
and when they are received in Rome are opened, as above described, and by virtue
of an equal number of rescripts, by the cardinal prefect, translated into Italian,
and their summary authenticated by the Chancellor of the Congregation of Rites.
- The advocate of the cause next prepares the documents (positio)
which have reference to the discussion of the validity of all the preceding processes,
informative and Apostolic.
- This discussion is held in the meeting called congregatio rotalis
from the fact that it is only judges of the Rota who vote. If the difficulties
of the promotor of the Faith are satisfactorily answered, the decree establishing
the validity of the inquiries or processes is published.
- Meanwhile all necessary preparation is made for the discussion
of the question (dubium): Is there evidence that the venerable servant
of God practiced virtues both theological and cardinal, and in an heroic degree?
(An constet de virtutibus Ven. servi Dei, tam theologicis quam cardinalibus,
in heroico gradu?) In the causes of confessors this step is of primary importance.
The point is discussed in three meetings or congregations called respectively,
ante-preparatory, preparatory, and general. The first of these meetings is held
in the palace of the cardinal relator (reporter) of the cause, and in it
only consultors of the Congregation of Sacred Rites, and with their chairman,
or prefect, presiding, the third is also held in the Vatican, and at it the pope
presides, and both cardinals and consultors vote. For each of these congregations
the advocate of the cause prepares and prints official reports (positiones),
called respectively report, new report, final report, concerning
the virtues, etc., -- positio, positio nova, positio novissima, super virtutibus.
In each case, before proceeding to the subsequent meeting, a majority of the consultors
must decide that the difficulties of the promotor of the Faith have been satisfactorily
- When the Congregation of Rites in the above described general
meeting has decided favourably, the pope is asked is asked to sign the solemn
decree which asserts that there exists evidence of the heroic virtues of the servant
of God. This decree is not published until after the pope, having commended the
matter to God in prayer, gives a final consent and confirms by his supreme sentence
the decision of the congregation.
- The miracles now remain to be proved, of which two of the first
class are required in case the practice of virtues in the heroic degree has been
proved, in both ordinary and Apostolic inquiries or processes by eyewitnesses
-- three, if the eyewitnesses were found only in the ordinary processes; four,
if the virtues were proven only by hearsay (de auditu) witnesses. If the
miracles have been sufficiently proven in the Apostolic processes (super virtutibus)
already declared valid, steps are taken at once to prepare the documents with
regard to miracles (super miraculis). If in the Apostolic processes only
general mention has been made of the miracles, new Apostolic processes must be
opened, and conducted after the manner already described for proving the practice
of virtues in an heroic degree.
- The discussion of the particular miracles proceeds in exactly
the same way and in the same order as that of the virtues. If the decisions be
favourable, the general meeting of the congregation is followed by a decree, confirmed
by the pope, in which it is announced that there is proof of miracles. It must
be noted here that in the positio for the ante-preparatory congregation
there are required, and are printed, opinions of two physicians, one of whom has
been chosen by the postulator, the other by the Congregation of Rites. Of the
three reports (positiones) above mentioned, and which are now also required,
the first is prepared in the usual way; the second consists of an exposition of
the heroic virtues of the servant of God. an information, and a reply to later
observations of the promotor of the Faith; the last consists only of an answer
to his final observations.
- When the miracles have been proved, another meeting of the
Congregation of Rites is held in which it is debated once, and only once, whether
or not, given the approbation of the virtues and miracles, it is safe to proceed
with the solemnities of beatification. If a majority of the consultors be favourable,
a decree to this effect is issued by the pope, and at the time appointed by him
the solemn beatification of the servant of God takes place in the Vatican Basilica,
on which occasion a pontifical Brief is issued permitting the public cultus and
veneration of the beatified person now known as Blessed (Beatus).
This procedure is followed in all cases of formal beatification
in causes of both confessors and martyrs proposed in the ordinary way (per
viam non cultus). Those proposed as coming under the definition of cases excepted
(casus excepti) by Urban VIII are treated in another way. In such cases
it must be proved that an immemorial public veneration (at least for 100 years
before the promulgation, in 1640, of the decrees of Urban VIII) has been paid
the servant of God, whether confessor or martyr. Such cause is proposed under
the title of "confirmation of veneration" (de confirmatione cultus); it
is dealt with in an ordinary meeting of the Congregation of Rites. When the difficulties
of the promotor of the Faith have been satisfied, a pontifical decree confirming
the cultus is promulgated. Beatification of this kind is called equivalent or
- The causes of martyrs are conducted in the same way as those
of confessors as far as the informative processes and those de non cultu
and ad introductionem causae are concerned. But when once the commission
of introduction has been appointed they advance much more rapidly.
- No remissorial letters are granted for Apostolic processes
concerning the general reputation for martyrdom and miracles; the letters sent
call for an immediate investigation into the fact of martyrdom, its motive, and
the particular miracles alleged. There is no longer a discussion of the general
reputation for martyrdom or miracles.
- The miracles are not discussed, as formerly, in separate meetings,
but in the same meetings that deal with the fact and the motive of the martyrdom.
- The miracles (signa) required are not those of the first
class; those of the second class suffice, nor is their number determined. On some
occasions the decision as to miracles has been entirely dispensed with.
- The discussion as to martyrdoms and miracles, formerly held
in three meetings or congregations, viz. the ante-preparatory, preparatory, and
general, is now usually conducted, through a dispensation to be had in each instance
from the sovereign pontiff, in a single congregation known as particularis,
or special. It consists of six or seven cardinals of the Congregation of Rites
and four or five prelates especially deputed by the pope. There is but one positio
prepared in the usual way; if there be an affirmative majority a decree is issued
concerning the proof of martyrdom, the cause of martyrdom, and miracles. (Constare
de Martyrio, causâ Martyrii et signis.)
- The final stage is a discussion of the security (super tuto)
with which advance to beatification may be made, as in the case of confessors;
the solemn beatification then follows.
The Canonization of Confessors or Martyrs
The canonization of confessors or martyrs may be taken up as
soon as two miracles are reported to have been worked at their intercession, after
the pontifical permission of public veneration as described above. At this stage
it is only required that the two miracles worked after the permission awarding
a public cultus be discussed in three meetings of the congregation. The discussion
proceeds in the ordinary way; if the miracles be confirmed another meeting (super
tuto) is held. The pope then issues a Bull of Canonization in which he not
only permits, but commands, the public cultus, or veneration, of the saint.
It is with the utmost possible brevity that I have described
the elements of a process of beatification or canonization. It may be easily conjectured
that considerable time must elapse before any cause of beatification or canonization
can be conducted, from the first steps of the information, inquiry, or process,
to the issuing of the decree super tuto. According to the constitution
of this Congregation, more than one important discussion (dubia majora)
cannot be proposed at the same time. It must be remembered
To execute all this business there is but one weekly meeting (congressus),
a kind of minor congregation in which only the cardinal prefect and the major
officials vote; in it less important and practical questions are settled regarding
rites as well as causes, and answers are given, and rescripts which the pope afterwards
verbally approves. The other meetings of the congregation (ordinary, rotal, and
"upon virtues and miracles") may be as few as sixteen in the course of the year.
Some other cause must therefore be found for the slow progress of causes of beatification
or canonization than a lack of good will or activity on the part of the Congregation
- that the same cardinals and consultors must vote in all discussions;
- that there is but one promotor of the Faith and one sub-promotor,
who alone have charge of all observations to be made with regard to the dubia;
- that these cardinals and consultors have to treat questions
of ritual as well as processes of canonization and beatification.
It will not be out of place to give succinctly the ordinary
actual expenses of canonization and beatification. Of these expenses some are
necessary others merely discretionary, e.g. the expenses incurred in obtaining
the different rescripts) others, though necessary, are not specified. Such are
the expenses of the solemnity in the Vatican Basilica, and for paintings representing
the newly beatified which are afterwards presented to the pope, the cardinals,
officials, and consultors of the Congregation of Rites. The limits of this class
of expenses depend on the postulator of the cause. If he chooses to spend a moderate
sum the entire cause from the first process to the solemn beatification will not
cost him less than $20,000. The expenses of the process from beatification to
canonization will easily exceed $30,000. In illustration of this we subjoin the
final account of the expenses of the public solemnities in the Vatican Basilica
for the canonization by Leo XIII, of Saints Anthony Maria Zaccaria and Peter Fourier,
as published by the Most Rev. Diomede Panici, titular Archbishop of Laodicea,
then Secretary of the Congregation of Rites.
To decoration of the Basilica, lights, architectural
designs, labour, and superintendence -- Lire 152,840.58
Procession, Pontifical Mass, preparation of altars in Basilica -- 8,114.58
Cost of gifts presented to Holy Father -- 1,438.87
Hangings, Sacred Vestments, etc. -- 12,990.60
Recompense for services and money loaned -- 3,525.07
To the Vatican Chapter as perquisites for decorations and candles -- 18,000.00
Propine and Competenza -- 16,936.00
Incidental and unforeseen expenses -- 4,468,40
Total -- 221,849.10 or (taking the lira equivalent to $.193 in 1913 United
States money) $42,816.87.
Transcribed by Janet Grayson
The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume II
Copyright © 1907 by Robert Appleton Company
Online Edition Copyright © 1999 by Kevin Knight
Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York