Pope approves canonization of St. Peter Faber, waiving the usual process

Today in a private audience, rather than a consistory, His Holiness Pope Francis met with Angelo Card. Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. Francis extended to the whole Latin Church the liturgical cult in honor of Blessed Peter Faber, Jesuit priest, who died in Rome on 1 August 1546, thus inscribing his name album of the saints.

Francis had waived the normal process for canonizing a saint, one of his favorites in the Society of Jesus to which Francis himself belonged. The French-born St. Peter Faber was one of the first members of the Jesuits.

In The Big Interview™, Pope Francis spoke of

“Faber’s “dialogue with all, even the most remote and even with his opponents; his simple piety, a certain naïveté perhaps; his being available straightaway; his careful interior discernment; the fact that he was a man capable of great and strong decisions but also capable of being so gentle and loving.”

Since we may as of now refer to Saint Peter Faber, it is unclear to me if there will be an public ceremony.  We will also have to see what Proper the Congregation for Divine Worship has put together.

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  1. James C says:

    Now this is the kind of Roman nepotism we can celebrate ;-)

  2. pseudomodo says:


    Stroke of the pen canonization….

  3. Imrahil says:

    I missed that one. Always thought he had already been canonized somewhen.

  4. Eugene says:

    I am a simple lay, sinful Catholic trying to do his best ( not always, but I think my intentions are there hopefully), and I just don’t get the avoidance of some rules and the implementation of harsher, harder rules ( re: the treatment of the Franciscans of the Immaculata) for some. I am left continually perplexed, dismayed and disappointed, a lot lately. Especially with the other news about Cardinal Burke and Archbishop Piacenza being dropped from the Congregation for Bishops.
    I feel like I am in the dark, asking God where are you leading us at this point as a Church.

  5. janeway529 says:

    An example of what’s called an “equivalent canonization.” From New Advent: “Equivalent canonization occurs when the pope, omitting the judicial process and the ceremonies, orders some servant of God to be venerated in the Universal Church; this happens when such a saint has been from a remote period the object of veneration, when his heroic virtues (or martyrdom) and miracles are related by reliable historians, and the fame of his miraculous intercession is uninterrupted. Many examples of such canonization are to be found in Benedict XIV; e.g. Saints Romuald, Norbert, Bruno, Peter Nolasco, Raymond Nonnatus, John of Matha, Felix of Valois, Queen Margaret of Scotland, King Stephen of Hungary, Wenceslaus Duke of Bohemia, and Gregory VII. Such instances afford a good proof of the caution with which the Roman Church proceeds in these equivalent canonizations. St. Romuald was not canonized until 439 years after his death, and the honour came to him sooner than to any of the others mentioned. We may add that this equivalent canonization consists usually in the ordering of an Office and Mass by the pope in honour of the saint, and that mere enrollment in the Roman Martyrology does not by any means imply this honour (Benedict XIV, l, c., xliii, no 14).”

  6. kpoterack says:


    I am certainly not saying that I know everything about the FFI case, but I have been in the middle of similar situations and know how HARD it is to get at the truth and how EASY it is for people on the outside to think that things are black and white. Here is another view of the FFI situation from an unimpeachably orthodox Catholic website:


  7. Geoffrey says:

    It’s good to be Pope.

  8. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Eugene,

    apart from that the Holy Father did not here go besides law (equivalent canonization exists; Pope Benedict did the same for St. Hildehard) – he does intend to do so for Pope Bl. John XXXII –

    the Supreme Authority is not bound by any but Divine and perhaps natural law.

    The learned and semi-learned express this in a somewhat more hard way:

    Quod licet Iovi, non licet bovi.

  9. Imrahil says:

    I wanted to say: the learned etc. in my country. Don’t know if that is said elsewhere.

  10. Eugene says:

    thank you kpoterack for the helpful link..but I JUST DON’T get the banning of the celebration of Holy Mass in the Ancient Rite…in my humble opinion this is not right and against the wishes of our Great Emeritus Pope Benedict

  11. Priam1184 says:

    @Eugene I understand your confusion and your frustration, and I share them in many instances with the current Holy Father, but it wouldn’t be wise in my humble opinion to turn this into a Benedict vs. Francis issue. That doesn’t help anyone or anything. Benedict XVI resigned of his own free will, and the Cardinal electors under the influence of the Holy Spirit chose this man Francis to be our Pope so he is the one and only Pope that we have right now for better or for worse. Popes are temporary anyways, as are bishops and pontifical commissions.

  12. Grabski says:

    But it is a Francis v. Benedict thing.

    Card. Wuerl has celebrated Masses for openly dissenting “Catholics”.

    Yes, the Eurcharist is a medicine for the sinful, but don’t they need to listen to Jesus “Go and sin no more” to receive the medicine?

  13. Cordelio says:

    Is extending the cultus to the “whole Latin Church” the same as extending it to the “Universal Church”? The latter is what I understand to be required for an equivalent canonization, and was the formula used for the equivalent canonization of St. Hildegard of Bingen by Benedict XVI (see below).

    Is there an actual decree published for Congregation for the Causes of Saints saying what exactly the Pope did in this case?

    Vatican City, 10 May 2012
    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.

  14. Robbie says:

    I hope sainthood doesn’t become a political thing with popes. For example, a more progressive pope makes saints of more progressive figures while a more conservative pope chooses more conservative figures. In other words, who gets to become a saint depends on who the current pope is or isn’t.

    I’m definitely not making any comment about this choice, but it is the second time Francis had gone around the normal process. The first occurred with John XXIII. If sainthood at the stoke of a pen becomes more common in the future, I think it will, regrettably, devalue what should be a momentous event.

  15. everett says:

    It’s worth noting that Benedict did this a number of times as well, so we can’t go blaming it just on Francis.

  16. robtbrown says:

    Priam1184 says:

    . . . and the Cardinal electors under the influence of the Holy Spirit chose this man Francis to be our Pope so he is the one and only Pope that we have right now for better or for worse.

    We hope but don’t know whether this or any other pope (exc Peter) was chosen under the influence of the Holy Spirt.

  17. robtbrown says:


    I read the CWR article. It explains the problems, but I fail to see how suppression of the right granted in Summorum Pontificum fits into any solution.

  18. robtbrown says:

    Also: If the Vatican would investigate a religious order with many dissenters on doctrine, I wonder whether part of the solution would be no stopping vernacular celebration of the Eucharist.

  19. robtbrown says:

    should be: would be no vernacular

  20. Norah says:

    Robbie, I agree with you.

    “Benedict did this a number of times as well”
    I wasn’t aware that Pope Benedict in a private audience declared a Blessed to be a saint in the Latin Church. When did Benedict do this and for whom?

  21. Supertradmum says:

    I am happy about this. How about Leo XIII?

  22. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Benedict XVI first raised St. Hildegarde of Bingen to the altars, and then made her a Doctor of the Church. Francis ain’t done nothin’ like that. (And mind you, Benedict is the one who said that the sainthood process shouldn’t be sped up, but he’s the one who sped up several people’s causes quite a lot.)

    Look, folks, nobody in their right mind has doubted that St. Peter Faber is a saint. He’s had miracles galore, there’s tons of devotion to him, and he lived an uber-saintly and heroic life. The Popes have the power to declare people saints when they feel it necessary, and it’s unusual but not unheard of. And if penstroke canonization became common, it would still be overseen by God.

    If you believe in the infallibility of the papal magisterium, why are you worried? If you don’t believe it, why are you worried about canonization in the Latin Rite at all?

  23. excalibur says:

    I knew (and so did many others) that Cardinal Burke was a ‘marked man’. Out as head of the Congregation for Bishops. Replace by Wuerl.


  24. jm says:

    “If you believe in the infallibility of the papal magisterium, why are you worried? If you don’t believe it, why are you worried about canonization in the Latin Rite at all?”

    Baloney. When the usual requirements are waived repeatedly, it suggests a cheapening of the process.

  25. Mr. Green says:

    JM: Baloney. When the usual requirements are waived repeatedly, it suggests a cheapening of the process.

    The process should be cheap, it’s the Saints who are important, not the paperwork. SuburbanBanshee is quite right, and to worry about the Pope not following a set of rules because he followed a different set of equally valid rules is just … well, it sounds suspiciously Self-Absorbedly Prometheanistcally Neopelagianist, that’s what!

  26. David Zampino says:

    “If you believe in the infallibility of the papal magisterium, why are you worried? If you don’t believe it, why are you worried about canonization in the Latin Rite at all?”

    Suburbanbanshee got it exactly right. And honestly, I don’t see the controversy here. Pope Francis has exercised a papal prerogative — and has exercised it in favor of a Blessed who has been dead for hundreds of years — and over whom there is no controversy.

  27. Cordelio says:

    The official announcement did say “Universal Church” not “Latin Church.”


    Nel pomeriggio di oggi, 17 dicembre 2013, il Santo Padre Francesco ha ricevuto in Udienza privata il Cardinale Angelo Amato, S.D.B., Prefetto della Congregazione delle Cause dei Santi.
    Nel corso dell’Udienza, il Sommo Pontefice, accolta la relazione dell’Em.mo Prefetto, ha esteso alla Chiesa Universale il culto liturgico in onore del Beato Pietro Favre, Sacerdote professo della Compagnia di Gesù, nato a Le Villaret (Alta Savoia, Francia) il 13 aprile 1506 e morto a Roma il 1° agosto 1546, iscrivendolo nel catalogo dei Santi.

  28. anilwang says:

    Eugene says: “I feel like I am in the dark, asking God where are you leading us at this point as a Church.”

    Dear Eugene, I understand and share many of your concerns and dispairs, but one thing keeps me on track. This has happened in Church history many times before and it will happen again. In England, all bishops save one apostacized when Henry the Eighth made himself Pope. In the Arian Crisis, most “moderate” bishops were willing to compromise the Trinity just to avoid conflict. The Church was similarly in poor shape during the time of the Protestant Revolution, and Pornocracy. It seems every 500 years, yet another crisis pops up and we were about due. It also seems that most crises seem to follow a golden age (e.g. the golden age of scholasticism was about a century before the start of the Protestant Revolution).

    In any case, despair and spending all your energy worrying and chasing the latest bad news is the last thing you should do. Don’t get distracted. There’s plenty for us to do, even in our simple lay estate. We have our marching orders from Christ and we have a whole tradition to draw from. If you’re despairing of the dark night of the Church, please ready the writings of the master of the Dark Night, John of the Cross. Also read some old Catholic classics such as the Consolations of Philosophy by Boethius. Both are available for free in text and Audio format at http://www.gutenberg.org and librivox.org and the Internet Archive ( https://archive.org/? ). We are each called to be saints. Even if we’re abandoned by our bishops and priests who would rather “go with the flow”, we can’t abandon our mission to pass on the faith. The Dark Night will end. If your faith in God is weak now, at least have faith in the tumultuous history of a Church that should have fallen apart dozen of times in history, yet somehow seems to be picked up when it is beyond hope of recovery.

  29. I think we can question whether it is cheapening, unwise, or whatever (for instance, if I was Pope, my prudential judgement would be that there would be NO Jesuits raised to the altars…), but, 1) I’m not Pope, and, 2) Can 331 makes it pretty plain that “By virtue of his office he possesses supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church, which he is always able to exercise freely”.

    His prudential judgement, as the supreme lawgiver of the Church, was to take this action. Cheapening the process? By hat authority do we have the right to judge? It’s not a novel step, nor is it without precedent. Accept it for what it is, and let’s focus on the beams sticking out of our own eye sockets before judging or judging the value of the Holy Father’s actions.

  30. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Saints have been officially named to the altar by popular acclaim, by local bishops, and by many other procedures. The current procedures for canonization are only 300 or 400 years old, which is like practically the other day in Church history, and they were instituted in toto, in a fairly short time, by a guy with theories who got elected Pope and then implemented his theories. Scandalously weird and novel! How dare a Pope do such things!

    I can understand people’s concerns. But the entire system rests on faith in Providence and His Keys, and then a bunch of guys who make decisions based on their own best judgment. It’s all the same thing.

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