The Vatican will question in a congress the current meaning of sainthood:


The Dicastery for the Causes of Saints has organized a conference in Rome from October 3 to 6 that will question what sainthood is today and whether to be saints one must also be a superhero.

“What is heroism today? Is the saint a superman?” asked the prefect of the Vatican organization that is in charge of the causes of canonization, Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, during the press conference where they have given the keys to this international meeting for the study and analysis of holiness.

“It is not an ‘alternative’ moment, neither to what the Dicastery does every day, nor to the moments of exchange and formation that are organized and celebrated internally”, the Cardinal stressed. In this sense, he stated that organizing an agreement means, for the Dicastery, “carrying out a task of research and deepening, capable of involving experts in theology and spirituality, society and communication, to carry out their service in a more complete”.

The Vatican expects some 200 people to participate in the congress, structured under the title “Holiness Today,” to be held at the Agostinianum Patristic Institute. According to Cardinal Semeraro, the congress will try to “put into dialogue with today’s world the issues on which the Dicastery for the Causes of beatification and canonization works daily.” In this sense, the meaning of Christian heroism will be studied, whose key is, according to Semeraro, in “fully living the human dimension”.

“The dicastery is not the factory of saints”, explained the cardinal, after stressing that the task of the body he directs is not to “manage” holiness, but to recognize it through “specific and coordinated phases of discernment”. For this reason, the congress will focus on two essential aspects of the Causes of beatification and canonization.

In the first place, the “fame of holiness”, which “combines two nuances: on the one hand, the conviction of the faithful about the sanctity of a person, a conviction that arises from the perception of an exceptionality and that has as a consequence the request for intercession for one’s own or others’ needs”. On the other hand, the “capacity that this exceptionality awakens in the People of God the awareness that we are all called to be saints: what the Second Vatican Council called the universal vocation to holiness.”

For her part, the professor of Sociology of Cultural Processes and Sociology of Education at the University of Roma Tre, Cecilia Costa, stressed that “today, more than ever, saints are needed, because their example can help contemporary humanity to reconcile the secularity of the world with the radicality of the Gospel”.

During his speech in the Vatican press room, he assured that the saints “bear witness to an experience that goes against the current with respect to the logic of the moment.” “The saints are in history but they also make history and their holy history can make possible a cultural, social, individual conversion from selfishness to altruism capable of restoring harmony, solidarity, fraternity and goodness to the world”, he pointed out. .

Similarly, the secretary of the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints, Fabio Fabene, stressed that the congress on holiness has an “intense program” that does not intend to “exhaust the subject”, but rather offer “ideas to continue the study and reflection on these themes, which guide the work of the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints”.

“If I had to point out a transversal element throughout the congress, it seems to me that the theme of culture is decisive”, Fabene resolved. For the Italian priest, the challenge is “to find ways in which the Church and the world can share a religious and ethical code, of concepts and experiences” about what makes a man or woman a saint. The congress will close on October 6 with an audience with Pope Francis.

The Vatican will question in a congress the current meaning of sainthood: