It was revealed today that unprecedented changes are to be made in the procedures of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints. Previously a candidate for sanctification had to be dead before the Congregation would consider a cause. In a startling revision of the time-honoured rules, Pope Francis has determined that living Christians can now be declared saints, after a carefully revised process of consideration.
How can you become a saint?
That is the challenge that Pope Francis is throwing down before Catholics everywhere. And, as always, Francis is giving clear and helpful answers.
You should be found to be living an exemplary Christian life (it helps if you are already the Pope); you should have shown an overwhelming concern for the poor, the starving and the marginalised; you should have turned the Catholic Church upside-down, flung open the windows of the Vatican and purged the Augean stables of corruption, simony, nepotism and financial skulduggery; it is not enough just to sit down in a room in the Vatican and write learned books (like Benedict), you must have been in constant dialogue with the outside world and with the universal Catholic Church (like Pope Francis). Above all, you must have made a difference.
At least one miracle will still be required before sanctification, but, in the words of the newly elevated Cardinal Becciu, the very notion of a ‘miracle’ has recently undergone a ‘paradigm shift’.
‘Have we any doubt as to who is the ideal candidate for this revolutionary new concept of sainthood?’ asked Fr Antonio Spadaro at a recent Press Conference. ‘Of course not! Francis is our man! Santo subito!’
[With acknowledgements to the blurb of Fr Spadaro’s new book ‘Open to God, Open to the World’, https://www.amazon.com/Open-God-World-Pope-Francis/dp/1472959019%5D