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What is an equivalent canonization?

2013-12-18

Usually, when someone is proclaimed a Saint, an elaborate ceremony takes place in St. Peter's Square. To get to that point, first it must be proven that the Blessed carries out a miracle.

But it's not always like that: there are some cases in which a Blessed can be canonized with a so-called 'equivalent', or 'equipolente' canonization. Here, the Pope only has to sign a decree to make it official.

FR. MARC LINDEIJER
Vice Postulator of Jesuit Sainthood Causes
"With a normal canonization the Pope introduces a cult to the universal Church. With an 'equipolente' canonization, the Pope confirms a cult that already exists. He doesn't introduce anything new. And that is why for 'equipolente' canonization, there is no ceremony in St. Peter's, because nothing new is added to the devotional life of the Church.” 

In an equivalent canonization it only has to be proven that the Blessed already has a devout following, as well as a solid fame for miraculous intercession.

The equivalent canonization was introduced by Pope Urban VIII in 1632 and can only be used when the Blessed has already been venerated for years. 

Pope Francis used it to canonize Peter Faber, the first Jesuit priest.

FR. MARC LINDEIJER
Vice Postulator of Jesuit Sainthood Causes
"I think this procedure has been chosen because the Pope wanted it very much and it goes very quickly. Because with a miracle you have to wait till a miracle happens, whereas with the cult, if it exists, it suffices, to prove that it exists, you don't have to wait for any divine intervention.”

It's not the first time Pope Francis carries out this type of canonization. He used it before to canonize the XIII Century Italian mystic Angela de Foligno

The equivalent canonization was also used by Benedict XVI for Hildegard of Bingen, and John Paul II for Kinga of Poland.


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