What is the process the Catholic Church follows to beatify someone into sainthood?
DECATUR, Nov. 7, 2006 (www.decaturdaily.com) - A woman, St. Catherine, is the patron saint of clergy. St. Matthew is the patron of tax collectors. Maria Goretti, who died at age 11 when a rapist murdered her, is the patron saint of crime victims. Even prostitutes have a patron saint — Mary Magdalene, out of whom Jesus cast seven devils.
Roman Catholic, Orthodox and Anglican churches recognize hundreds of saints whom people look to as role models and intercessors.
The Roman Catholic Church set up its first official standards for sainthood in 1234. Since then, only those whose holy lives are documented are canonized.
The earliest Christian saints were those martyred for the faith.
The Catholic Church's latest guidelines came in 1997.
Now a bishop starts the process toward naming someone a saint when he OKs an interested group's pursuit. The bishop forms a tribunal that calls witness to tell "concrete facts" verifying the person's virtues.
A body called the Congregation for the Causes of Saints then takes over. Eventually, nine theologians examine the documents and vote.
If a majority is in favor, cardinals and bishops from the Congregation do more study. If they approve, the documentation goes to the pope for a final decision.
For the honor of beatification, a person must have a miracle attributed to him or her. To be finally canonized a saint, there must be a second miracle. Miracles are investigated and verified.