Pope Francis declares unprecedented New criteria to be a saint.
Pope Francis declares unprecedented New criteria to be a saint.

The Pope has introduced a new path to be declared and recognized as a saint in heaven. 

The “free and voluntary offering of one’s life” is now another way a person will be acknowledged as a saint once they enter the kingdom of heaven. 

Announced in a letter, the new path comes from the Latin title Maiorem hac Dilectionem, taken from the words of Jesus’ when he says “no one has greater love than the one who lays down his life for his friends.”

There are three other ways to be recognized as a saint– martyrdom for Christ, the practice of “heroic virtue” and  “ancient veneration” of a person as a saint.

"The new decision follows on a process carried out by the Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints, which asked “whether those servants of God are not worthy of beatification who, inspired by the example of Christ, freely and deliberately offered and sacrificed their lives for their brothers and sisters in a supreme act of charity," writes Breitbart. 

"While this new “fourth way” of the offering of one’s life closely resembles both the path of martyrdom and that of heroic virtue in certain respects, it has been put forward to underscore a specific form of heroic Christian witness. While resembling martyrdom in the aspect of heroic self-giving up to death, it differs because there is no persecutor who puts the Christian to death out of hatred for the faith."

The publication also gave an example of a time when this new path would have been explicable in the past.

Polish Saint Maximilian Kolbe gave up his life in 1941 while at Auschwitz concentration camp for another inmate who had a family. 

Kolbe was still canonized in 1982 by Pope John Paul II, but he deviated from standard protocol and instead declared him a "martyr." 

The fellow inmate that Kolbe gave his life up, Franciszek Gajowniczek, who was in his 90s at the time, attended the canonization. 

This is a major shift in doctrine, proving again that this Pope is pushing for change.


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