Canonization Process Difficult — and Rightly So

Historians and Postulators Meet in Rome

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ROME, NOV. 14, 2002 ( A cause of canonization is anything but easy. Historians, doctors, and postulators involved in the process come across a myriad of obstacles and misunderstandings that can delay for years — or forever — a candidate’s reaching the altars.

These obstacles were highlighted at a meeting of the Coordinating Commission of Religious Historians, held on Tuesday, entitled: «Studied Sanctity, Recognized Sanctity: Hagiography, Postulation, and New Research on the Sacred.»

The historians concluded that «processes of canonization are ways of purification, in which one must struggle to clarify issues and overcome the dark points of all causes.»

Patience, resistance, and acceptance of truth are necessary elements to complete the cause, concurred the speakers, including Fr. Innocenzo Venchi, O.P., postulator general of the Dominican Order; Fr. Reginald Gregoir, religious of the Sylvestrine Benedictine Congregation; and professor Sofia Boesch.

Friar Paolino Rossi, postulator general of the Capuchins, revealed details from the controversial history of the canonization cause of St. Pio of Pietrelcina, explaining how, during the process, the saint long celebrated as Padre Pio was accused of disobedience, lying, and immorality.

Hearing of these and other difficulties exposed by the postulators, Fr. Giancarlo Rocca, president of the seminary and of the comission, said that the Church is prudent and patient in the processes of canonization, especially as regards celebrated personages who, precisely for this reason, can be more easily slandered.

Rocca explained that the historians’ task is «boring, painstaking, and tiring,» but emphasized the precious task they carry out for the good of the Church and of society.

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