New sainthood guidelines released

New guidelines have been issued by the Vatican in an effort to impose tougher restrictions on the process of sainthood.

Catholic News Agency reports the Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins presented the anticipated Instruction, Sanctorum Mater.

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

In his remarks, the Portuguese cardinal explained that the Instruction is divided into six sections and is expected to clear up confusion regarding the methodology of the process.

"When the current legislation on causes of saints came into force an unfounded idea became widespread that the traditional methodology had been substituted by some kind of historical-critical investigation," Cardinal Martins said.

"The fact that the term inquisitio used in Latin (the only official text) to designate the procedure of the diocesan phase of a cause of canonization was translated in Italian as inchiesta.

"The new instruction highlights the importance of procedure in causes of beatification and canonization, and accurately highlights the norms that must be observed."

During the pontificate of Pope Benedict, there have been 20 beatification ceremonies during which 563 Servants of God were beatified, including 48 diocesan priests, 485 male and female religious, and 30 lay people, for a total of 509 men and 54 women.

There have been four canonisation ceremonies during which 14 people were canonized.

Cardinal explains reasons for new standards for sainthood (Catholic News Agency 18/02/08)

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