December 11, 2019

Article at Authory

Holding Candidates for Sainthood to High Standards

Apologetics Pro Tip of the Day: The hand-wringing over the delay in Bishop Fulton Sheen's beatification process is becoming ridiculous.

"Going forward," John Allen of Crux wrote, "in order to claim a halo, any candidate who was in a leadership position in the Church—meaning, usually, a bishop or religious superior—will have to be shown to have had 'clean hands' on the [clergy] abuse scandals."

Oh, please—cue the violins. Why do you think there have been so comparatively few lay saints canonized throughout Church history? There are other reasons, but one major reason is because laypeople of any particular prominence in Church history usually have been involved in scandalous public actions during their lives.

It took St. Thomas More four hundred years to be canonized and he was a martyr. Queen Isabella of Castile's cause for canonization apparently has been permanently shelved, and rightly so,* after the Church acknowledged that it might not be a good idea to canonize someone involved in expelling Jews from Spain—not to mention our modern concerns about the effects of colonialism—however pious Isabella may have been in her personal life.

If anything, Sheen's case is a good indication that priests and bishops may finally be held to the same standards for canonization as laypeople.

Editor's note (2022): Some reports claim that Pope Francis has requested that Isabella's cause be reopened.

(Image: Bishop Fulton Sheen, Wikimedia Commons.)