ven·er·a·ble / ˈvenərəbəl; ˈvenrə-/ • adj. accorded a great deal of respect, esp. because of age, wisdom, or character: a venerable statesman. ∎ (in the Roman Catholic Church) a title given to a deceased person who has attained a certain degree of sanctity but has not been fully beatified or canonized. ∎ (in the Anglican Church) a title given to an archdeacon. DERIVATIVES: ven·er·a·bil·i·ty / ˌvenərəˈbilətē/ n.ven·er·a·ble·ness n.ven·er·a·bly / -blē/ adv.
The title allowed one whose cause for beatification has been officially accepted by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and who has been the subject of a special decree published in the name of the pope. This decree, issued within the course of the apostolic, or papal, process (as distinguished from the earlier one known as the ordinary, or diocesan, process) declares that the servant of God has practiced all the virtues in heroic degree. In the case of a martyr, it declares his martyrdom well proved. No public cult is allowed, though a private cult may exist, e.g., praising his virtues, praying to him.
See Also: canonization of saints (history and procedure).
[a. e. green/eds.]