This past weekend pope Francis canonized four new saints in a ceremony which received extra attention as two of the four were of Palestinian origin. One of the new Palestinian saints, Sister Mariam Baouardy (1846-1878), was a mystic and stigmatic also known as “Mary Jesus Crucified.” She was a Palestinian and foundress of the Discalced Carmelites of Bethlehem in the late 1800’s. The other new Palestinian saint, Sister Marie Alphonsine Danil Ghattas (1843-1927), was a co-founder of the Congregation of the Rosary Sisters, who spent much of her life in Bethlehem founding schools and orphanages.
Despite the interesting politics of the situation, we will stick to commenting on the theological issues. What is a saint? How does one become a saint? And what is Rome doing when they canonize someone?
First, a brief theology on Roman Catholicism’s view of the saints.
The term canonization refers to a decree that is binding on the…
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