“Pope Francis is expected to issue a decree declaring one of his favourite Jesuits, Blessed Peter Faber, a saint, it emerged this week.
The decree is likely to take the form of what the Vatican terms an ‘equivalent canonisation,’ in which the Pope inserts the name of the new saint in the universal calender of saints without verifying a miracle performed through his intercession and without holding a canonisation ceremony.
‘STUDIED AND EVALUATED ON ITS MERITS’
Fr Marc Lindeijer, vice postulator or promoter of Jesuit Causes, said that ‘more or less right after his election’ in March, Pope Francis asked that the process be started for the canonisation of Blessed Faber, who with St Ignatius of Loyola and St Francis Xavier, was a founding member of the Society of Jesus. Under Church law Pope Francis could have signed a decree immediately, Fr Lindeijer said, but instead he asked that the Cause ‘be studied and evaluated on its merits’.
LIKE ST ANGELA OF FOLIGNO AND ST HILDEGARD OF BINGEN
The ‘equivalent canonisation’ – used most recently for St Angela of Foligno and St Hildegard of Bingen – recognise the candidates’ fame for holiness and veneration by Catholic faithful sustained over centuries.
FOUNDED BY A GROUP
Cardinal members of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes are scheduled to meet in December to vote on whether or not to recommend the Pope declares Blessed Peter Faber a saint. Fr Lindeijer said a panel of historians and a group of theologians convoked by the Congregation already voted unanimously in favour of the canonisation, and he said he would be surprised if the cardinals did not follow suit.
For modern Jesuits, he said, the canonisation would be another step forward in recognising that the Society of Jesus was founded by a group of companions and not only by St Ignatius. ‘Many feel there has been too much focus on one man, one founder, as if Ignatius embodied the whole charism’ of the Jesuits, Fr Lindeijer said.
Faber, who was born in 1506 in what is now France, shared lodgings with Ignatius and Francis Xavier at the College of St Barbara at the University of Paris. Faber actually was the first of the Jesuits to be ordained a priest and he celebrated Mass in 1534 at which St Ignatius and the others took their vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.
‘CAPABLE OF GREAT AND STRONG DECISIONS’
Fr Antonio Spadaro, editor of ‘La Civilta Cattolica’, who conducted the interview with Pope Francis published in Jesuit periodicals in September, spoke to Pope Francis about his favourite Jesuits. Asked what he admired about Faber, the Pope said his ‘dialogue with all, even the most remote and even with his opponents; his simple piety, a certain naivete, perhaps, his being available straightaway, his careful interior discernment, the fact that he was a man capable of great and strong decisions.'”
– This article by Cindy Wooden was published in “The Catholic Herald” issue December 6 2013. For subscriptions please visit http://www.catholicherald.co.uk (external link).