Want to become a saint ?

The Jubilee Year has been blessed by the beatification of the 19 martyrs of Algeria, among whom our four confreres who died in Tizi-Ouzou in December 1994. On the other hand, our Superior General launched a consultation of all communities on the pertinence of starting a process of canonisation of our founder, Charles Cardinal Lavigerie. 

With those events in mind, the Roman Committee of the Jubilee invited Father Thomas Klosterkamp OMI to talk to us about the process of instructing the cause of a saint. Father Thomas knows well the subject since he has been, for the last six years, the general postulator of the causes of saints for the OMI’s. 

You can listen to his conference in English. Below the player, you will find the plan of Father Thomas’ talk. To download the mp3 file, please select the square situated right of the player and, on the next page, download the file. You can also download the PDF of the talk’s plan at the bottom of this post. 

1. Biography

Charles Martial Allemand Lavigerie

Born October 31, 1825 in Huire, Bayonne, France

    • Family background
    • Education
    • Theological studies: St. Sulpice, Paris / France

Ecclesiastical career:

1849 ordination to priesthood

1854 professor at Sorbonne in Paris

    • Trips to Lebanon and Syria

1861 Chevalier of the Legion of Honor and, in October French auditor at Rota Romana

1863 bishop of Nancy

Africa: church – politics – social life

1868 Archbishop of Algiers, Algeria

    • He had come to serve the population of Algeria not the colonists
    • Missionary approach
    • Human approach (famine, anti-slavery propaganda…).
    • Foundation of basilica Our Lady of Africa in Algiers (1872)

Foundations and their development

1868 White Fathers

1869 White Sisters

    • 1874 taking over the Sahara and Sudan mission
    • Missionaries sent to Tunis, Tripoli, East Africa and the Congo
    • 1878 seminary in Jerusalem

Ecclesiastical merits

    • 1870 at Vatican 1, he supported papal infallibility
    • 1882 cardinal
    • 1884 titular archbishop Carthage and “primate of Africa”

Died November 26, 1892 (aged 67) Algiers, Algeria

2. Diocesan Inquiry

2.1 First step: preliminaries

Diocesan postulator starts inquiry on life and sanctity of candidate, and pastoral relevance of cause.

2.1.1. Petitioner of cause (e.g. White Fathers / Sisters / Archdiocese of Algiers) appoints a diocesan postulator, with consent of local bishop (Archdiocese of Algiers)

2.1.2. Postulator approaches competent bishop to open hearings of witnesses or documentation (historical cause)

2.1.3. Report by postulator on reputation for sanctity and pastoral relevance of the proposed cause.

2.1.4. Postulator also presents a biography, list of published writings, and witnesses.

2.2. Second step: establishing the cause

A study of the life and writings of the servant of God. Consultation with bishops, the faithful, experts and Holy See.

2.2.1. Bishop decides officially to investigate and instruct the cause.

2.2.2. Bishop consults local bishops concerning appropriateness of cause.

2.2.3. Bishop calls on the faithful to make submissions on the cause.

2.2.4. Published writings of the servant of God are examined by a theological commission.

2.2.5. Unpublished, and related, writings examined by historical commission.

2.2.6. Bishop consults with Holy See concerning possible obstacles to the cause (nihil obstat).

2.3. Third step: formal inquiry on virtues

Formal canonical inquiry collects evidence, and examines witnesses. (opening of diocesan inquiry)

2.3.1. Bishop sets up inquiry, appoints a delegate, promotor of justice, notary.

2.3.2. Promoter of justice draws up list of questions for examination of witnesses or experts.

2.3.3. Listed witnesses, experts, and others ex officio (theologians / historians), examined under oath.

2.3.4. If necessary and opportune, witnesses or experts from other dioceses examined.

2.3.5. Bishop makes a declaration on the question of cult of the servant of God.

2.3.6. Authenticated copies of all records / documents are collected and sent under seal to the Holy See in Rome, Congregation for the Causes of Saints = C.C.S. (→ C.C.S. fee: 3.000,00 €)

2.3.7. Originals of all records / documents sealed and retained in diocesan archives.

2.3.8. Title given : servant of God.

3. Roman Inquiry

3.1. First stage: Validity of the cause

3.1.1. Roman postulator with permanent residence in Rome has to be named.

3.1.2. Canonical examination of the validity of the diocesan inquiry.

3.2. Second stage: Examination

3.2.1. Roman Postulator prepares with a Relator a documentation, called Postio (→ C.C.S. fees: 4.000,00 € at the beginning and 2.000,00 € at the end)

3.2.2. Examination of Positio and by theologians, historians, cardinals and bishops. (→ C.C.S. fee: 8.000,00 €)

3.2.3. Approval by the pope with a decree on heroicity of Virtues: Title of venerable.

3.3. Third stage: Approval of a miracle in the diocese.

(For beatification on heroic virtues, a first miracle is required!): Collection of evidence, and examination of witnesses.

3.3.1. Diocesan or Roman postulator presents preliminary report.

3.3.2. Bishop seeks initial reactions.

3.3.3. Diocesan inquiry examines all witnesses, including medical experts.

3.3.4. Person cured, if still alive, is examined to determine permanency of cure.

3.3.5. Copies of all proceedings sent to Holy See (→ C.C.S. fee: 4.000,00 €).

3.3.6. Originals kept in diocesan archives.

3.4. Fourth stage: Approval of a miracle at the Holy See

3.4.1. Roman Postulator prepares With a Relator a Postio

3.4.2. Study on the miracle approved by medical experts (→ C.C.S. fee: 7.000,00 €) and theologians (→ C.C.S. fee: 7.000,00 €), cardinals and bishops.

3.4.3. The pope authorizes ceremony of beatification. Ceremony of beatification follows in local church. Title of blessed. (= total fee of C.C.S. up to beatification: 33.000,00 €)

Excurse: Beatification is an administrative act by which the church allows a candidate for sainthood to be venerated liturgically in places closely associated with his or her life and ministry (local churches, countries, religious groups…). Canonization is a formal papal declaration that allows public remembrance of the saint at liturgies throughout the universal church.

3.5. Fifth stage: Approval of a miracle in the diocese.

(For canonization on heroic virtues, a second miracle is required!) Collection of evidence, and examination of witnesses.

3.5.1. Diocesan or Roman Postulator presents preliminary report.

3.5.2. Bishop seeks initial reactions.

3.5.3. Diocesan inquiry examines all witnesses, including medical experts.

3.5.4. Person cured, if still alive, is examined to determine permanency of cure.

3.5.5. Copies of all proceedings sent to Holy See (→ C.C.S. fee: 4.000,00 €).

3.5.6. Originals kept in diocesan archives.

3.6. Sixth stage: Approval of a miracle at the Holy See

3.6.1. Roman Postulator prepares with a Relator a Postio (documentation)

3.6.2. Study on the miracle approved by medical experts (→ C.C.S. fee: 7.000,00 €) and theologians (→ C.C.S. fee: 7.000,00 €), cardinals and bishops.

3.6.3. The pope authorizes ceremony of canonization. Ceremony of canonization follows in Rome. Title of saint (= total fee of C.C.S. up to canonization: 14.000,00 € / 33.000,00 € + 14.000,00 € = 47.000,00 €)

 
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