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Lenville D'sa wrote:

Dear Sir/Madam,

Recently, I have had a few questions on my mind and I was hoping you could answer them:

  1. I am confused about the concept of canonization. The Pope canonizes saints based on:
  • their works
  • devotion
  • the belief that they are in heaven with God
  • so we, as Catholics, can [pray to them|intercede through them] to Our Lord Jesus on our behalf.

Furthermore, there are certain procedures involved in canonizing a saint, such as the verification of a miracle etc., which takes quite a long time.

However, doesn't Jesus clearly mention in the Gospel —

"Judge not, lest ye be judged" (Matthew 7:1)

implying that we are not to judge whether someone is in heaven or hell.

  • For that reason, how can the Pope make a decision based on a miracle that the particular individual is a saint and is in heaven with God?

  • Moreover, isn't the procedure of miracle like an indirect "threat" saying that — If you haven't performed a miracle, I won't make you a saint?
  1. Certain saints during the 1960's were removed from the list of calendar of saints by Pope Pius XII and Pope John XXIII, respectively, one of them being
    St. Phenomena.

I was wondering since the Pope removed her from the list of saints, what happens if a group of Catholics prayed to her before the declaration and it impacted their lives?

The King of Mysore, India, even being a Hindu, believed that she was a saint and went all the way to Rome to meet Pope Pius XII and convinced him not to remove her name from the list.

I would be really glad if you could answer my doubts.

Thanks a lot and God bless.

Lenville

  { Is the process of canonization one of judgment; plus being removed from the calendar. }

Mike replied:

Hi, Lenville —

Thanks for your questions.

On the process for canonization.

We have to first ask: Why do Catholics recognize certain people as saints in our Church?

The answer: To be models of holiness and virtue for the faithful on earth, always modeled after Our Premiere Model, Our Lord Himself.

You said:
However, doesn't Jesus clearly mention in the Gospel —

"Judge not, lest ye be judged" (Matthew 7:1)

implying that we are not to judge whether someone is in heaven or hell.

  • For that reason, how can the Pope make a decision based on a miracle that the particular individual is a saint and is in heaven with God?

There is a while spread misunderstanding of the term "to judge" in Christianity today.

Christians have to judge all the time. Our Lord Himself says in the Scriptures:

  • 6 "Do not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under foot and turn to attack you. (Matthew 7:6)

    and

  • 45 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, 46 who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

    (Matthew 13:45-46)

In both these Scripture passages, those who Our Lord is talking to have to make a judgment as to:

  • whether what one has, is holy, or not;
  • whether what one has, is of great value, or not.

So there is no biblical condemnation on judgment itself.

What Our Lord is saying in Matthew 7, verse 1, is no one should impute guilt on an immoral act.

There are many in our Church who have never correctly been taught the Catholic faith and many in other non-Catholic Christian families who have not been correctly instructed on basic Christianity.

We should not judge them, if they don't know what they are doing is a sin.
Plus, even if they DO know what they are doing is a sin, the best we can do is warn them. Remember, it is THEIR free will, NOT yours.

This is why evangelization, done quietly and prudently within the family environment, is important.

The process that leads to the canonization of a person is a judgment or evaluation of whether this person lived a holy life that should be imitated by the faithful in the Church.

If the Church took this [judgment|evaluation] based on cultural wishes of the times rather then objective holiness, it would be lacking in its responsibility.

You said:
Moreover, isn't the procedure of miracle like an indirect "threat" saying that — If you haven't performed a miracle, I won't make you a saint?

A miracle is not a procedure. A miracle is a supernatural event that has taken place where scientists cannot attribute any earthy reason for an event to occur other than by God/Divine Providence. If a miraculous cure or healing has happened in accordance with the praying to a specific person for that healing, this is strong evidence that this was a holy person.

If the Church did not have [rigid/strict] criteria for the determination of a miracle, any fraud who thought a departed loved one was a saint could fabricate so-called miracles that were not really miracles.

You said:
Certain saints during the 1960's were removed from the list of calendar of saints by Pope Pius XII and Pope John XXIII, respectively, one of them being
St. Phenomena.

I was wondering since the Pope removed her from the list of saints, what happens if a group of Catholics prayed to her before the declaration and it impacted their lives?

All Catholic prayer said to any saint are heard immediately by that saint, whether they are on a calendar or not.

You said:
The King of Mysore, India, even being a Hindu, believed that she was a saint and went all the way to Rome to meet Pope Pius XII and convinced him not to remove her name from the list.

You must be misinformed.

  1. Saints that the Church holds up as models of virtue to follow, are only declared saints after they have passed away — died.
  2. No saint would demand that he or she be on a calendar of saints. Saints are humble and lowly, like Our Blessed Mother was.

I hope this answers your questions.

Mike

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