Making Saints: How The Catholic Church Determines Who Becomes A Saint, Who Doesn'T, And Why

Making Saints: How The Catholic Church Determines Who Becomes A Saint, Who Doesn'T, And Why

by Kenneth L. Woodward
     
 

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From inside the Vatican, the book that became a modern classic on sainthood in the Catholic Church.
Working from church documents, Kenneth Woodward shows how saint-makers decide who is worthy of the church's highest honor. He describes the investigations into lives of candidates, explains how claims for miracles are approved or rejected, and reveals the

Overview

From inside the Vatican, the book that became a modern classic on sainthood in the Catholic Church.
Working from church documents, Kenneth Woodward shows how saint-makers decide who is worthy of the church's highest honor. He describes the investigations into lives of candidates, explains how claims for miracles are approved or rejected, and reveals the role politics — papal and secular — plays in the ultimate decision. From his examination of such controversial candidates as Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador and Edith Stein, a Jewish philosopher who became a nun and was gassed at Auschwitz, to his insights into the changes Pope John Paul II has instituted, Woodward opens the door on a 2,000-year-old tradition.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Peter Hebblethwaite The New York Times Book Review This is easily the most comprehensive, critical, and up-to-date look at saint making so far written.

Eugene Kennedy Los Angeles Times In this extraordinary book, Kenneth Woodward fashions a near miracle of research and journalistic inquiry. Woodward parts the long-congealed sea of Vatican bureaucracy that investigates the lives of men and women who have been variously recommended for official recognition as saints. Follow me, Woodward signals from the first arresting page, and we cannot resist making passage with him between the massive, trembling walls of water.

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In a book the laity has awaited for 2000 years, Newsweek religion editor Woodward penetrates the esoteric process by which the Roman Catholic Church makes saints. He opens with the ``local politics of sainthood'' as exemplified in the candidacies of New Yorkers Terence Cardinal Cooke, who died in 1982 and whose cause is moving forward, and Dorothy Day, who died in 1980 and is unlikely to become one of the elect even though ``she did for her era what St. Francis of Assisi did for his.'' We're taken inside the Vatican office of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, whose denizens grapple with the complexities of canonization. We learn of the expense engendered by research into candidates' lives, the focus on required miracles, the rivalries of scholarly promoters. Canonization may strike some as an imprimatur for culthood but as Woodward shows, even in today's secular society saints matter. (Nov.)
Library Journal
The Vatican allowed Woodward, a veteran Vatican observer and Newsweek journalist, unprecedented access to the persons and documentation involved in canonization. He traces the evolution of the process through two millennia, concentrating on recent declarations of sainthood and pending cases. He reports on a little-noticed change in 1983 in which a historical-critical review replaced the former adversarial debate between the ``Devil's'' and the petitioners' advocates. Another change was in the criteria for martyrdom to include victims of Nazism. He ends with an eloquent plea on behalf of Cardinal Newman, whose beatification has made little progress. Intriguing, thoughtful, and intelligently critical.-- Richard S. Watts, San Bernardino Cty. Lib., Cal.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780684815305
Publisher:
Touchstone
Publication date:
07/23/1996
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
496
Sales rank:
458,945
Product dimensions:
1.08(w) x 5.50(h) x 8.50(d)

Meet the Author

Kenneth L. Woodward, a senior writer at Newsweek, has been the magazine's religion editor for thirty-two years. He lives in Westchester County, New York.

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