Vatican Information Service. Canonization Process.Catholic Pages Com. 1997, 19 April 2007.
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THE CANONOZATION PROCESS.
WHAT IT TAKES TO MAKE A SAINT
At various times the Church chooses from among those who, have followed the example of Christ very closely and have given outstanding testimony to the kingdom of heaven by martyrdom or by a heroic virtuous life. The process by which the church brings her sons and daughters to the honors at the alter is called the process of canonization. This process often takes some time, sometimes up to ten years and at other times twenty to fifty year or more. The process cannot begin until after at least five years of the death and must be initiated in the diocese of death, unless otherwise with permission. The process of canonization is divided into:
The diocesan informative process
The Vatican Sacred Congregation process
The Diocesan informative process
This is a process of inquisition done by the Diocesan Bishop through a diocesan Tribunal. The competence of this tribunal is to build up historical facts on the life, work and virtues of the person to whom there is an evidence of a popular fame of sanctity. The Diocesan Bishop is the Chief judge of this tribunal, but may delegate his power to another.
The Vatican Sacred Congregation Process
There is a Vatican office, headed by a Cardinal entrusted solely with the Cause of Saints. When the acts and documents of the diocesan tribunal reach the Vatican, this office, the Sacred Congregation for the Cause of Saints, has to receive the acts and the document, study them in detail and finally express its judgment. It is also the duty of this office to deal with those things, which pertain to the authentication and preservation of relics.
If the judgment of the Sacred Congregation for the Cause of Saints is favorable, then the Holy Father will be requested to beatify the Servant of God. In a special solemn ceremony the Holy Father will proclaim the deceased blessed, which means a tentative recognition of the deceased extraordinary sanctity. From that moment, the blessed can begin to have some cult and be prayed to in public.
After the beatification some more time is allowed. Some more at least one miracle accredited to the Blessed is recorded. Then in another public solemn ceremony the Holy Father proclaims the Blessed – a saint. At this time he can be honored at the alter and publicly venerated by the universal church.
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