Saturday 18 April 2020

How Saints are Canonised - Christopher Keeffe

How Saints are Canonised
Christopher Keeffe
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781860824999
CTS Booklet Do781

Over the last few years I have read over 100 books from the Catholic Truth society. I have read many in the Great Saints Series. I have in the CTS Biographies and also Saints of the Isles Series. This book fits perfectly with those three series I have been reading. Not only does this book help us understand the process of ‘making saints’. It gives us the historical changes and traditions around the process back to the early church. This book sis an excellent resource for anyone with an interest in saints modern or ancient. It is a concise volume, but it does pack a lot of information.

The description of this book is:

“Through Baptism, all Christians are called to be saints, and yet there are also 'saints' who are 'canonised' by the Church. This booklet gives an overview of the history and process of beautification and canonisation in the Catholic Church - a process which has changed as the Church has developed; from the early Christians, through the Middle Ages, and up to modern times. It also explains what the Bible teaches about the saints and our prayers to them and the place of miracles in the life of the Church. The reforms of John Paul II (1983) and consolidations of Benedict XVI (2008)mare included thus making the booklet as up-to-date as possible.”

The chapters in this little volume are:

Beatification and canonisation in the early Church
Beatification and canonisation 313-1643
Beatification and canonisation 1640s-1930s
Modern Times 1900-1983
Reforms of Pope John Paul II
The Modern process: post 1983
Reforms of Pope Benedict XVI
The enduring need for miracles
Who are saints and why do we pray to them?

In the introduction we are told:

“All saints are held out as being worthy of veneration and imitation by Christians.Those who have been beatified are also examples of the Christian life. However, it is only human to be attracted to particular saints or blessed. The Great diversity of people that Pope John Paul II raised to the Altars (from simple people such as Mother Theresa, to others such as Blessed Charles, Emperor of Austria) is truly surprising.”

That is one of the things I love about reading CTS biographies of saints, no matter what series they are part of. In encountering many saints and blessed from around the world, all statuses in life and all regions. I find that I do have an affinity for certain saints. And some I start a devotion to, and it just does not stock or work. Others I pray to daily for years and years. And the great thing is that many of the saints and blessed mentioned in this book have biographies or books about them from the Catholic Truth Society. 

In fact, that was really the only thing missing from this book, a list of CTS volumes corresponding to the saints mentioned. But if you do some searching you will find most of them. 

It does not matter if you do not understand the cult of a specific saint, or even devotion to saints at all. This book will give you an insight and understanding into the history, practice and modern process of someone moving through the stages from ‘Servant of God’, ‘Beatified’, and to ‘Canonised’. 

This is a little gem of a book. Great from the Catholic home, school, or parish. It is very well written. Unfortunately, I cannot find anything else from Christopher Keeffe. Another excellent read from the Catholic Truth Society.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2020 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

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