How does one become a saint?

I just got back from Rome last night, and while there, I could not cease to remember seeing Pope John Paul II several times on previous trips to Rome and reflecting on how I saw and met a future saint. With the recent news that Pope Francis will canonize Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II, a lot of attention will be focusing on the process of being declared a saint. The blog whose link I have attached below does an  excellent job in relating the process.

One thing I always find necessary to point out is that the Church doesn’t make saints: we declare them. A saint is someone in heaven. When someone is canonized, it means that God has given us sufficient indication that the individual is with him in glory, and that their life was so exemplary of the life of discipleship in Christ that we should pause and reflect upon their life, as it will help us on our journey.

Undoubtedly, someone will point out a sin the person once committed and think this automatically rules the person out for sainthood. Not true. We don’t canonize people for being sinless; we canonize them for practicing heroic virtue, which clearly both John XXIII and John Paul II demonstrated amply in their lives.

The link below describes the canonization process:

10 thoughts on “How does one become a saint?

  1. Actually, I do think he said something new: He told us all, including the press, to stop getting hung up on these three issues and start seeing the other important parts of the Gospel that we deal with every day. Did you notice that the first questions the press had for both Benedict XVI and Francis after their election were not about social justice or the poor, or reaching out to estranged Catholics, or any other issue of importance, but those same three issues, looking to see if the new pope was going to change them? It seems that every press conference invariably has some reporter harping on these issues that were long ago defined and made perfectly clear, waiting for the pope to finally change them. They don’t like the answer they got, so they’re going to keep bringing it up until the pope finally gives in, like a little child whining for something he wants and badgering his parents until they finally give in. To me, he said, “the case has been settled, and it’s time we start looking at other issues of importance.”

  2. William says:

    Cool. Thanks Father!

  3. William says:

    Hi Father, now that the Pope has changed the church teaching on homosexuality can gays becoem priests?

    • Hello! You see, that’s exactly what happens! People read an awful lot into something the Pope said, and the media doesn’t make it easier. The Pope did not change the church’s teaching on homosexual activity. That always was and always will be a sin. What the pope did was assert his own personal opinion about an open situation about which there are opinions but no firm Church teaching: if a man has same-sex attraction, is he automatically barred from candidacy to the priesthood because of this attraction? Some people believe that just possessing same-sex attraction should disqualify someone from the priesthood. Pope Francis stated that, if the individual who has same-sex attraction is embracing the Church’s teaching on the immorality of homosexual acts and is living a celibate, chaste life, “who is he to judge him?” The Pope was merely stating his personal opinion and not making any formal rules.

  4. I think this makes trip #13!

  5. Joan Spano says:

    thank you so much for your blog. i always enjoy reading them. How many trips to rome have you made?


    • My opinion is the same as the Holy Father’s. If the man is able to control his desires and live a celibate, chaste life, then I see no problem with him being ordained.

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