Vatican Puts Budget Cap on Saints' Causes

Spending Review Aims to Help Make Process Simpler and Fairer

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Postulators and actors of causes for sainthood are having to adhere to budget restraints in tune with Pope Francis’ call for austerity, the prefect for the Congregation for the Causes of Saints has announced.

In a speech given to postulators Jan. 13 at the Pontifical Lateran University, Cardinal Angelo Amato said that a “reference tariff” came into force earlier this year “inspired by a sense of simplicity and fairness” in order to avoid causes for beatification and canonization “being treated differently.”

The decision is a “good step” as it helps the postulators and actors to be “aware of the expenses involved, both in terms of Holy See taxes and the postulator pay,” the cardinal said in remarks reported in the Jan. 15 edition of L’Osservatore Romano.

“Some have already sent donations for causes that are less well-funded,” he added.

The Congregation is encouraging actors and postulators to observe the new guidelines so as to ensure “potential worthy causes can be taken into consideration.”

The cardinal also made clear that the cause of John XXIII, who will be canonized April 27th, is not an “equivalent canonization”, made in the absence of miracle, as some reports have suggested. Instead, he said the positio of the late pontiff is “full of accounts of miracles and of signs of fame [for sanctity]”.

He added that since his beatification in 2000, the Congregation has received “numerous reports of graces and favors received through his intercession,” adding that they have come from all over the world and accompanied with medical documentation.

Cardinal Amato cited one case in which a woman in Naples accidentally ingested some cyanide in 2002, but after invoking Blessed John XXIII, she “escaped without suffering from poisoning to the kidneys and spleen, and was healed of liver cirrhosis at the same time.”

The cardinal said there were 18 beatification ceremonies last year with 540 newly blesseds, of which 528 were martyrs. Pope Francis also canonized 804 new saints in 2013, of which 800 were martyrs.

The cardinal reminded those present that the Congregation especially encourages cases of those who have shown of concrete models of holiness from outside Europe. The Congregation  “always reserves a fast track for causes coming from Asia, Africa, the Americas and also Eastern Europe which is noted for the brutal persecution of the Church under Nazi and Communist regimes,” he said.

He lamented that often causes, even those that are “duly matured,” face considerable delays because the actors – bishops , religious superiors or others – “seem to be absent.” To help remedy this, he advocated more frequent dialogue with the Congregation.

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