Beatification (from Latinbeatus, "blessed" and facere, "to make”) is a recognition accorded by the Catholic Church of a deceased person's entrance into Heaven and capacity to intercede on behalf of individuals who pray in their name. Beati is the plural form, referring to those who have undergone the process of beatification; they possess the title of "Blessed" /ˈblɛsɪd/ (abbreviation "Bl.") before their names and are often referred to in English as "a Blessed" or, plurally, "Blesseds".
Since the reforms of 1983, as a rule, one miracle must be confirmed to have taken place through the intercession of the person to be beatified. Miracles are almost always unexplainable medical healings, and are scientifically investigated by commissions comprising physicians and theologians.
The requirement of a miracle for beatification is waived in the case of someone whose martyrdom is formally declared by the Church.
The blessed, elected by popular acclamation (the vox populi) enjoyed only local worship. While the procedure of canonization was taken in hand from the twelfth century by the papacy in Rome, that of beatification continued on a local scale until the thirteenth century before settling at the Council of Trent, which reserved to the pope the right to say who could be venerated.
Practices under the popesEdit
Pope John Paul II (1978–2005) markedly changed previous Catholic practice of beatification. By October 2004, he had beatified 1,340 people, more than the sum of all of his predecessors since Pope Sixtus V (1585–1590), who established a beatification procedure similar to that used today.
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