Terry asked:

Who started the saint hood process? What right do we have to decide who becomes a saint?


Hector Molina replied:

"...The fact of the matter is this is a custom that developed over time ... it began in the early Church in a very informal way by popular acclamation ... Because of their virtue, because of their witness ... God's grace moving in their lives people just clamored for the Church to recognize the holiness of this person or that person. Only later really around the tenth century is when the Catholic church officially applied the standard of holiness of life to certain individuals who lived exemplary Christian lives and through a lengthy process of prayer and study declared that the individual is in Heaven. So it's part of an evolution as it were in the formalizing of the process that we now know as the canonization process.


Patrick Coffin replied:

"The early example of this is the honor that was given to the early martyrs. That's the historical cradle if you will of the canonization process. In the medieval times it went through another more formalization set of stages and now with the current servant of God, venerable and then if you get a miracle attributed to your intercession, beatification and then another one, full saint hood. Certainly we don't see that process in the early Church but we don't really have to...

Hector when a Catholic pontiff says that so and so is in Heaven, we can stand on that with infallible certainty can we not?" ...


Hector Molina replied:

"Yes..."


Catholic Answers, "Me, a saint?" (San Diego: Catholic Answers, 2014)

Editor's note: This is an excerpt of the answer provided. For the complete response download the podcast.

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Show air date: October 27, 2014

Name of show: Me, a saint?

Guest comments by: Hector Molina

Question appeared in show: 45:12


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