Beatification (from Latin beatus, "blessed" and facere, "to make") is a recognition accorded by the Catholic Church of a dead person's entrance into Heaven and capacity to intercede on behalf of individuals who pray in his or her name.
Since the reforms of 1983, one miracle must be believed to have taken place through the intercession of the person to be beatified, though the medical investigations of the Church are conducted privately and are therefore subject to speculation about their methods.
The feast day for a Blessed person is not universal, but is celebrated only in regions where the person receives particular veneration. For instance, Saint Kateri Tekakwitha was especially honored in the United States and Canada during her time as Blessed. The person may also be honored in a particular religious order, diocese, or organization, such as John Duns Scotus among the Franciscans, the Archdiocese of Cologne and other places. Similarly, veneration of Blessed Chiara Badano is particular to the Focolare movement; her case also demonstrates that, contrary to popular opinion, beatification may take place within a relatively short time after a person's death of an individual (for Badano, twenty years).
Practices under the Popes
Pope John Paul II (18 May 1920 – 2 April 2005) markedly changed previous Catholic practice of beatification. By October 2004, he had beatified 1,340 people, more than the sum of all of his predecessors since Pope Sixtus V (1585–1590), who established a beatification procedure similar to that used today. John Paul II's successor, Pope Benedict XVI, removed the custom of holding beatification rites in the Vatican with the Pope presiding; they now can be held where the subject lived with the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints designated to preside over the ceremony as Papal Delegate. The Pope himself still can preside, as happened on 19 September 2010, when Benedict XVI beatified John Henry Newman in Cofton Park, Birmingham, on the last day of his visit to the United Kingdom. Benedict XVI also personally celebrated the Beatification Mass for his predecessor, John Paul II, at St. Peter's Basilica, on the Second Sunday of Easter, or Divine Mercy Sunday, on 1 May 2011, an event that drew more than one million people.
Cultus confirmation is a somewhat different procedure, wherein the church recognizes a local cult of a person, asserting that veneration of that person is acceptable. Such a confirmation is more an official sanctioning of folk Catholicism than an active step in a canonization procedure, but the object of the cult may equally be addressed as "Blessed."
- A. De Meester, Juris Canonici et Juris Canonico-Civilis Compendium Nova Editio, Tomus Tertius, Pars Secunda (Brugis: Desclée de Brouwer et Sii, 1928) pg. 86 (citing the canonist Pope Benedict XIV, De Servorum Dei Beatificatione et Beatorum Canonizatione)
- Beccari, Camillo (1907). "Beatification and Canonization." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 2. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Via New Advent. newadvent.org. Accessed 1 Nov 2015.
- Foster, Peter (5 September 2007). "Mother Teresa 'miracle' patient accuses nuns". The Daily Telegraph.
- "Pope paves way to beatification of John Paul II". BBC News. 14 January 2011.
- Sarno, Robert J., "Process of Canonization", Archdiocese of Oklahoma City
- There have been occasions where a Cardinal from the local region was put in place instead.
- "Patron Saints Index Definition: Cultus Confirmation". Catholic-forum.com. Archived from the original on 14 July 2006. Retrieved 2013-03-26.
- Beccari, Camillo (1907). "Beatification and Canonization". Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company. Vol. 2 – via New Advent. newadvent.org.
Beccari, Camillo (1913). "Beatification and Canonization". In Herbermann, Charles. Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
- De Meester, A., J.C.D., Juris Canonici et Juris Canonico-Civilis Compendium Nova Editio, Tomus Tertius, Pars Secunda (Brugis: Desclée de Brouwer et Sii, 1928)
- Saunders, Rev. William (2003). "The Process of Becoming a Saint". Reprinted from Arlington Catholic Herald. Via Catholic Education Resource Center. catholiceducation.org.
- Vatican website, with new procedures
- List of all Blesseds in the Catholic Church by GCatholic.org.