Pope Francis approves Irish priest for beatification

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Pope Francis has approved the beatification of a Jesuit priest from Dublin for his work with the sick and dying in the early 20th century.

Fr John Sullivan (1861 – 1933) was one of 39 to be named in a decree signed by Pope Francis to be beatified – officially recognised as ‘Blessed’.

He was declared a ‘Servant of God’ in 1960 and in 2014 he was made a ‘Venerable’ by Pope Francis.

In certain circumstances beatification can later lead to sainthood.

Those named on the decree include Albanian Bishop, Vincens Prenushi, who died in prison in 1949 after being tortured for demanding the formation of a breakaway Albanian church under the country’s former communist regime.

Of all Catholic rituals, sanctification drips with medieval nonsense. A prospective saint is nominated, investigated by a committee and, if displaying “heroic virtues”, is tested for a miracle. Since a miracle is an act of God answering a prayer, it must be medically “inexplicable”, putting some pressure on the doctors concerned. Only martyrs do not need miracles for saintliness.

This leads to beatification, followed by canonisation if a second miracle is “scientifically proven” within five years of the candidate’s death. Apparently the potency of saintly intercession wanes after a period. These rules can be waived if the candidate is a huge celebrity, like Mother Teresa. The committee was clearly keen on John XXIII and John Paul II, even if it seemed a trade union stitch-up for popes to move so briskly from office to sanctity. It is an echo of Britain’s House of Lords. Read More


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