Pope John Paul II beatified more people than many of his predecessors combined and was himself beatified six years after his death

Beatification (from Latin beatus, blessed) is a recognition accorded by the Catholic Church of a dead person's entrance into Heaven and capacity to intercede on behalf of individuals who pray in his or her name (intercession of saints). Beatification is the third of the four steps in the canonization process. A person who is beatified is given the title "Blessed".



In earlier ages this honor was entirely local and passed from one diocese to another with the permission of their bishops. This is clear from the fact that early Christian cemeteries contain paintings only of local martyrs. Some beatifications by bishops in the Middle Ages were almost scandalous by modern standards. For instance, Charlemagne was beatified by a court bishop soon after his death. He was never canonized, and his veneration has been mostly suppressed, though permission is given to celebrate Mass in his honor in the cities of Aachen and Osnabrück, but without using the title of "Blessed".[citation needed]

Since the Catholic Church reform of 1983, one miracle must be proven to have taken place through the intercession of the person to be beatified, though this requirement is not necessary for those who died a martyr, as their sanctity is already evident because they were killed distinctly out of hatred for the faith ("odium fidei"). More about the process can be found in the article on canonization.

The feast day for the Blessed person is not universal, but is celebrated only in regions where the person receives particular veneration. For instance, Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha is honored in the United States of America and Canada. The person may also be honored in a particular religious order. For instance, veneration of John Duns Scotus is found in the Archdiocese of Cologne, Germany, and among the Franciscans, among other places. Similarly, Blessed Chiara Badano is particular to the Focolare movement, and also demonstrates that, contrary to popular opinion, beatification may take place within a short time after the death of an individual (in this case, just twenty years).

Beatification practices under the Popes

Pope John Paul II (16 October 1978 – 2 April 2005) markedly changed previous Catholic practice of beatification. By October 2004 he had beatified 1,340 people, more than the sum of all of his predecessors since Pope Sixtus V (1585–1590), who established a beatification procedure similar to that used today. John Paul II's successor, Pope Benedict XVI, removed the custom of holding beatification rites in the Vatican with the Pope presiding; they can now be held in the location where the subject lived with the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints[1] designated to preside over the ceremony as Papal Delegate. This does not preclude the Pope himself presiding, as happened on Sunday 19 September 2010, when Benedict XVI beatified John Henry Newman in Cofton Park, Birmingham, on the last day of his visit to the United Kingdom. Benedict XVI also personally celebrated the Beatification Mass for his, predecessor, John Paul II, at St. Peter's Basilica, on the Second Sunday of Easter, or Divine Mercy Sunday, on May 1, 2011 – an event which drew more than a million people.

Cultus confirmation

Cultus confirmation is a somewhat different procedure, where the church recognizes a local cult of a person, asserting that veneration of that person is acceptable. Such a confirmation is more of an official sanctioning of folk Christianity than an active step in a canonization procedure, but the object of the cult may equally be addressed as "Blessed".[2]

See also


  1. ^ There have however been occasions where instead a Cardinal from the local region was put in this place.
  2. ^ Patron Saints Index Definition: Cultus Confirmation

External links

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed (1913). Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company. 

Stages of canonization in the Catholic Church
  Servant of God   →   Venerable   →   Blessed   →   Saint  

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

(especially the act of the Pope in declaring a person happy after death) / ,

Look at other dictionaries:

  • béatification — [ beatifikasjɔ̃ ] n. f. • 1372; de béatifier ♦ Acte de l autorité pontificale par lequel une personne défunte est mise au rang des bienheureux. La béatification est un préliminaire à la canonisation. ● béatification nom féminin Acte par lequel le …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Beatification — Béatification La béatification est un rite en usage dans les Églises anglicane, catholique et orthodoxe, consistant à déclarer une personne « bienheureuse » suite à une vie jugée exemplaire. Le bienheureux reçoit ensuite un culte public …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Beatification — Be*at i*fi*ca tion (b[ e]*[a^]t [i^]*f[i^]*k[=a] sh[u^]n), n. [Cf. F. b[ e]atification.] The act of beatifying, or the state of being beatified; esp., in the R. C. Church, the act or process of ascertaining and declaring that a deceased person is …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • beatification — c.1500, act of rendering blessed, from M.Fr. béatification, noun of action and state from pp. stem of L.L. beatificare (see BEATIFY (Cf. beatify)). As a papal declaration about the status of a deceased person, it dates from c.1600 …   Etymology dictionary

  • beatification — [bē at΄ə fi kā′shən] n. [Fr béatification < MFr: see BEATIFY] 1. a beatifying or being beatified 2. R.C.Ch. a) investigation, now formal, of whether a deceased person should be publicly declared to be in heaven and so entitled to some public… …   English World dictionary

  • Beatification — (v. lat.), 1) Seligsprechung einer verstorbenen Person durch den Papst. Wenn nämlich ein Individuum seiner Tugend wegen von einigen Bischöfen für heilig erkannt wird, so erhält es, doch erst 50 Jahre nach seinem Tode, von dem Papste den Titel:… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Beatification — Beatification, d.h. Seligsprechung, ist die erste Stufe zur Kanonisation od. Heiligsprechung und besteht in der vorläufigen Erklärung des Papstes, daß eine verstorbene Person um ihrer Tugenden und Wunder willen für selig gehalten, öffentlich von… …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • beatification — BEATIFICATION. s. f. Acte par lequel le Pape, après la mort d une personne, déclare qu elle est au nombre des Bienheureux …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française 1798

  • beatification — Beatification. subst. fem. Acte par lequel le Pape declare qu une personne est bienheureuse aprés sa mort …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • Béatification —  Ne doit pas être confondu avec Canonisation. Une béatification est la déclaration, par décret pontifical, qu une personne de foi chrétienne a pratiqué les vertus naturelles et chrétiennes de façon exemplaire, ou même héroïque. La vénération …   Wikipédia en Français

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.