I read in the Bolletino today that His Holiness of our Lord promulgated a decree from the Congregation for the Causes of Saints about the heroic virtues of
- Servant of God Frederic Irenej Baraga, Slovene American, first bishop of Marquette (1797-1868).
The cause was moved by the Diocese of Marquette under the auspices of His Excellency Most Reverend Alexander Sample.
In the cause of beatification for a person who was not martyred, it is necessary to demonstrate with moral certainty that that person died having persevered to death manifesting the Christian virtues in a heroic way. A case, much like a legal case, is built from documents and examination of writings and testimonies. It is demonstrated that the person now has popular reputation of holiness. Everything is submitted to the Congregation in Rome, which double checks everything and submits the case or cause to experts in history and theology and then the members of the Congregation. If they determine that the case was made that the person lived a life of heroic virtue, they issue a decree to that effect. The Holy Father can either choose to promulgate that decree or not or say or not say when it will be promulgated. That usually happens during a consistory.
Once the decree “super virtutibus” has been promulgated, the person is question is then referred to as “Venerable”. Thereafter, it is necessary to authenticate a miracle worked through the Venerable’s intercession to be able to move to the next stage, beatification. That is now where the cause of Ven. Frederic Baraga has arrived.
Congratulations to the people of Marquette (and Minnesota!) and WDTPRS kudos to Bp. Sample.
Also of great interest in today’s news:
Vatican City, 10 May 2012 (VIS) – The Holy Father today received in audience Cardinal Angelo Amato S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. During the audience he extended the liturgical cult of St. Hildegard of Bingen (1089-1179) to the universal Church, inscribing her in the catalogue of saints.
Now it is necessary to read and study more about St. Hildegard, a truly fascinating woman and saint, so we can dispel the feminist twaddle with which her name and writings have been stained.
The extension of her cult – and when we say “cult” in a Catholic context like this, we mean the veneration saints are given, especially at the altar during liturgical worship of God – to the whole Church may puzzle some people. She was, after all, known as a “Saint” already. The cult of Blesseds is usually only local, unless by special permissions the cult of a Blessed is extended elsewhere. Saints are usually venerated liturgically by the whole Church. The cults of saints, their liturgical commemoration, come and go according to the times. There are many saints who are recalled when the Roman Martyrology is used as a liturgical book (for it is a liturgical book). Only a limited number of saints are placed on the Church’s universal calendar in such a way that we commemorate them during Holy Mass and in the Office. Hildegard’s cause goes back to the earliest times of a formal process for canonization. Her cause wasn’t ever formally completed. Nevertheless, down through the centuries she has been known as a saint, her writings and contributions have been esteemed, there is a popular cult around her person. Therefore, the Supreme Pontiff decided to end the ambiguity of her status and has caused her to “be inscribed in the album of the saints” as the phrase usually puts it. And he has also extended her liturgical cult to the whole Church.
I don’t know what the Orthodox think of Hildegard, but I believe Anglicans hold her in some esteem. It occurs to me that Pope Benedict’s move may have the additional motive of giving a fine gift to the former Anglicans who have entered the Church under Anglicanorum coetibus, bringing with them their traditionals and liturgical customs. Benedict XVI is, after all, the Pope of Christian Unity.