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beatification

be·at·i·fi·ca·tion / bēˌatəfiˈkāshən/ • n. (in the Roman Catholic Church) declaration by the pope that a dead person is in a state of bliss, constituting a step toward canonization and permitting public veneration.

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Beatification

Beatification. In the Roman Catholic Church, the penultimate stage in the process which leads to the canonization of a saint. A person who has been beatified receives the title of ‘Blessed’.

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beatification

beatification in the Roman Catholic Church, declaration by the Pope that a dead person is in a state of bliss, constituting the first step towards canonization and permitting public veneration.

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beatification

beatification: see canonization.

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"beatification." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Sep. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Beatification

BEATIFICATION

The act by which the Church, through papal decree, permits a specified diocese, region, nation, or religious institute to honor with public cult under the title of Blessed a person who has died with a reputation for holiness. The cult usually consists of a Mass and Office in the person's honor, and it may even be permitted for the universal Church. However, beatification is limited in its effects, e.g., a blessed may not be the titular patron of a church.

Formal beatification is a positive declaration, following a canonical process, that a person did practice heroic virtue, or suffered a true martyrdom, and after death worked authentic miracles upon being invoked in prayer. Besides witnesses' testimony to his virtues, evidence of a first-class miracle is required, though this requirement may be waived in the case of a martyr. Equivalent beatification is the silent consent of the Church, aware of, yet not opposing, the public cult given one of its children over a long period of time.

In proclaiming a person Blessed the pope does not exercise his infallibility, for he does not declare definitively that the person is in glory. Beatification, then, does not demand faith yet gives moral certainty of its truth, and to deny it would be temerarious. It differs from canonization as permission to venerate differs from precept.

See Also: saints, intercession of; canonization of saints (history and procedure); venerable.

Bibliography: t. ortolan, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al., 15 v. (Paris 190350) 2.1:493497.

[a. e. green/eds.]

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