Thursday, 12 December, 2019

Pope Francis creates new path to beatification under 'offering of life'

Pope Francis arrives for his weekly general audience at the Vatican last month Pope Francis arrives for his weekly general audience at the Vatican last month. Andrew Medichini AP
Christy Curtis | 13 July, 2017, 01:37

The changes were issued in a Motu proprio July 11, which formally added the particular case to the paths by which a person under investigation for beatification may be discerned to be worthy, in addition to the traditional three paths: martyrdom, a life of heroic virtue and the very rare "exceptional cases".

While their deaths may not be classified as martyrdom, which requires the presence of a persecutor, Pope Francis announced Tuesday that Christians who lay down their life to save others such as mothers who risk their life to save an unborn child, can now be considered for beatification - the first step toward sainthood.

Breitbart News reports on a new letter bearing the Latin title Maiorem hac Dilectionem, taken from Jesus' words that "no one has greater love than the one who lays down his life for his friends", the Pope has cleared the way to official sainthood for those lay down their lives for someone else out of Christian love in imitation of Jesus Christ.

Francis made the new law to cover cases of potential sainthood wherein a candidate may have both been a martyr and led a life of heroic values without satisfying all of the saintly requirements for either of those paths.

This involves a free and voluntary offering of the person's life while heroically accepting, on account of the love of God, a certain and premature death for the good of others.

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Those candidates for sainthood whose causes will in future start under the new category of offering their own life would still have to have two miracles attributed to their intercession.

The new pathway differs from martyrdom in that there are five criteria including that the person who sacrificed their life must also have performed a miracle, NPR reports.

The candidate for beatification must also "exercise, at least in ordinary degree, the Christian virtues before bidding of life and, later, to the death". An example of this fourth avenue to sainthood might be a pious individual who becomes diagnosed with a life-threatening disease.

Kolbe offered to take the place of a fellow prisoner who had been condemned to death by starvation as part of collective punishment for a prison escape.

The vitae oblatio received approval in September 2016 by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

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