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In other words, Catholics honour God in His saints as the loving distributor of supernatural gifts. Dei, XXII, x) erects her altars to God alone, though in honour and memory of the saints and martyrs. But He is our mediator in His quality of our common Redeemer; He is not our sole intercessor nor advocate, nor our sole mediator by way of supplication.
XX, xxi), Catholics, while giving to God alone adoration strictly so-called, honour the saints because of the Divine supernatural gifts which have earned them eternal life, and through which they reign with God in the heavenly fatherland as His chosen friends and faithful servants. There is indeed "one mediator of God and man, the man Christ Jesus ".
Eccl., IV, xxiii) we find mention of the religious celebration of the day on which St.
The worship of latria ( latreia ), or strict adoration, is given to God alone; the worship of dulia ( douleia ), or honour and humble reverence, is paid the saints ; the worship of hyperdulia ( hyperdouleia ), a higher form of dulia , belongs, on account of her greater excellence, to the Blessed Virgin Mary. There is Scriptural warrant for such worship in the passages where we are bidden to venerate angels ( Exodus sqq. In the eleventh session of the Council of Chalcedon (451) we find the Fathers exclaiming, "Flavianus lives after death! " If we accept this doctrine of the worship of the saints, of which there are innumerable evidences in the writings of the Fathers and the liturgies of the Eastern and Western Churches, we shall not wonder at the loving care with which the Church committed to writing the sufferings of the early martyrs, sent these accounts from one gathering of the faithful to another, and promoted the veneration of the martyrs. In the circular epistle of the Church of Smyrna (Eus., Hist.
In exceptional cases one or other element of this distinction may be lacking; thus, Alexander III not only allowed but ordered the public cultus of Bl. This infallibility, however according to the holy doctor, is only a point of pious belief.
But in imposing this obligation the pope may, and does, use one of two methods, each constituting a new species of canonization, i.e. Formal canonization occurs when the cultus is prescribed as an explicit and definitive decision, after due judicial process and the ceremonies usual in such cases. I have never seen this question discussed; my own opinion is that nothing else is defined than that the person canonized is in heaven.
It is in this sense that we now treat of the worship paid to confessors. This opinion of Innocent III and Benedict XIV is confirmed by the implicit approval of St. Martin of Tours, as is gathered plainly from the oldest Breviaries and the Mozarabic Missal (Bona, Rer. cit., 284) and only afterwards to those who resembled in their lives the very penitential and extraordinary existence of the ascetics. In the ancient discipline of the Church , probably even as late as Alexander III, bishops could in their several dioceses allow public veneration to be paid to saints, and such episcopal decrees were not merely permissive, but, in my opinion, preceptive.
It was in the fourth century, as is commonly held, that confessors were first given public ecclesiastical honour, though occasionally praised in ardent terms by earlier Fathers, and although an abundant rewards ( multiplex corona ) is declared by St. Gregory the Great (Dial., I, xiv, and III, xv) and by well attested facts; in the East, for example, Hilarion ( Sozomen, III, xiv, and VIII, xix), Ephrem (Greg. So true is this that the confessors themselves are frequently called martyrs. Such decrees, however, could not prescribe universal honour ; the effect of an episcopal act of this kind, was equivalent to our modern beatification.
The Catholic Church canonizes or beatifies only those whose lives have been marked by the exercise of heroic virtue, and only after this has been proved by common repute for sanctity and by conclusive arguments. The decision as to the martyr having died for his faith in Christ, and the consequent permission of worship, lay originally with the bishop of the place in which he had borne his testimony.
The chief difference, however, lies in the meaning of the term canonization , the Church seeing in the saints nothing more than friends and servants of God whose holy lives have made them worthy of His special love. The bishop inquired into the motive of his death and, finding he had died a martyr, sent his name with an account of his martyrdom to other churches, especially neighboring ones, so that, in event of approval by their respective bishops, the cultus of the martyr might extend to their churches also, and that the faithful, as we read of St.Often the decree was due to the statement of a single person (possibly bribed or enticed by promises, and with a view to fix the fraud more securely in the minds of an already superstitious people) that while the body of the new god was being burned, an eagle, in the case of the emperors, or a peacock (Juno's sacred bird ), in the case of their consorts, was seen to carry heavenward the spirit of the departed (Livy, Hist. No regard was had to virtues or remarkable achievements. No member of a social body may, independently of its authority, perform an act proper to that body.