Who Gets to be a Saint?

Today, Friday, November 1, 2019 is All Saints’ Day also called the Solemnity of All Saints, All Hallows’ Day, Hallowmas, or Feast of Saints. In celebration people light candles, say prayers or liturgies, and sometimes make offerings. It is a day during which Christians around the world honor persons who have lived a life of almost perfect virtue. The Catholic church has canonized around 3,000 people. But who gets to be a saint? Prior to the tenth century, saints became saints due to public acclaim. By the twelfth century, the Church formalized the process for conveying sainthood on a person. Officially, neither the Pope nor the Church makes people saints; Instead, they recognize what God has already done. The five-step process can take a long while. Step 1: Waiting Period In the Catholic tradition, one cannot become a saint until at least five years after death. It could take a lot longer. They declared Saint Bede, the theologian a saint 1,164 years after he died. The Pope can waive the waiting period.  Once the waiting period is over or the waiver granted, the bishop in the diocese where the person died can open an investigation. The bishop gathers evidence on the person’s life and deeds, including witnesses’ testimonies. With sufficient […]