You have probably heard of saints, but like most people, you probably don’t know much about sainthood. In this piece, we are going to help you understand everything about sainthood by answering the most common questions about sainthood. Here are the most frequently asked questions about canonization and sainthood.
Do all religions have saints?
No. But most worlds’ religions celebrate people who lived a life of almost perfect virtue. The only difference between them and the Catholic Church is that the latter calls these people saints. The Catholics also use the term canonization to refer to the process of naming saints.
How many people have been canonized to date?
The exact number of people have been canonized is unknown. Why? Well, this is because not all saints were registered or named by the church. However, it’s estimated that around 3000 people have been canonized to date.
How does the Church choose saints?
According to the Catholic Church, anyone can become a saint. The church also accentuates that the Pope does not make someone a saint and all he does is to recognize what God has done. In the past, saints were named based on public acclaim. The process was that simple. However, it was discovered that some saint’s stories were distorted by the people and some never existed. For this reason, the Catholic Church took over the augmentation process for the sake of maintaining honesty and transparency.
What procedure is followed during canonization?
The process of canonization has changed over the years and more changes are expected in the future. The most recent procedural modifications were done in 1983 by Pope John Paul II. In one of his procedural changes, the pope removed the “devil’s advocate” from the canonization process. The devil’s advocate, as the title suggests, is a person who presented reasons why a candidate should not be named a saint. In 1999, after the death of Mother Teresa, Pope John Paul II also waived the five-year rule that prevented the process of canonization until five years after candidates’ death.
When did the Vatican start honoring saints?
By the year 100 A.D, most Christians were celebrating dead Christians by asking for their intercession. This shows that sainthood has been there and was part of the church from the beginning. The church started to use the word saint to recognize acclaimed Christians. The name saint has been in use since the 10th century.
Besides the typical saints, some saints are given special assignments. Patron saints, for instance, are guardians chosen to protect anything that is important to us. Unlike saints, patron saints can be selected by other people or groups, and it is quite hard to eliminate the need for saints.