François de Laval, along with Marie de l’Incarnation, will be canonized Oct. 12. CNS photo

Changes to canonization are more than welcome

  • October 9, 2014

This Sunday in Rome there will be a papal Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica to give thanks for the “equivalent canonization” last April of two new Canadian saints: St. François de Laval and St. Marie de l’Incarnation. The process of “equivalent canonization” permits the Holy Father to declare a beatified person to be a saint, waiving any requirement for a miracle to be certified after the beatification, and to dispense with the canonization ceremony itself. 

It was rarely used (twice under John Paul and Benedict), but Francis has employed it six times in less than 18 months, including the Canadian saints. No specified reason was given for the waiving of the usual rules for the Canadians. Two other saints decreed by equivalent canonization, Peter Faber and José de Anchieta, were Jesuits and thought to be accelerated because the Holy Father had a particular devotion to them. 

In addition, Pope Francis has used another accelerated process, in which the requirement for the usual miracle is waived, but a formal canonization ceremony is still held. This process was used for Pope St. John XXIII, canonized last April, and will be used again for Blessed Joseph Vaz, to be canonized when the Holy Father visits Sri Lanka in January. 

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