Vatican moves to dismiss Mother Teresa canonisation claim made by archbishop
The Vatican has moved to dustance itself from reports in the Italian press that a date has been set for the canonisation of Blessed Mother Teresa of Kolkata.
According to the reports, the ceremony will take place on 4th September next year. However, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi said the date was “hypothetical and cannot be confirmed.”
A Vatican official had briefed journalists that the founder of the Missionaries of Charity, who worked among the poorest of the poor, would be canonised before the end of the forthcoming Holy Year of Mercy.
But this was “a working hypothesis, therefore there is no official confirmation to be given,” said Fr Lombardi. “The cause for Mother Teresa is still underway and it is therefore premature to speak of an already established date for the canonisation.”
The claims stemmed from Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelisation, who told Rome’s municipal officials on 18th May that Mother Teresa’s canonisation has been set for 4th September. Archbishop Fisichella’s office is organising the Holy Year of Mercy, which will begin on 8th December 2015.
According to the Italian newspaper, Corriere della Sera, the archbishop also told city officials that the relics of St Padre Pio, a Capuchin priest who bore the stigmata of Jesus, will be brought to Rome from southern Italy for veneration by the faithful. The date for the translation of the relics has not yet been set.
With large crowds expected for both events and throughout the Holy Year, Archbishop Fisichella reportedly asked that city officials guarantee all pilgrims health care during the Holy Year. The Italian newspaper also reported that the archbishop asked the municipality to clear out street vendors from St Peter’s Square, who tend to fleece pilgrims with overpriced goods.
Officially, a second miracle still must be approved to open the way for Mother Teresa’s canonisation. However, Pope Francis has previously waived steps required for sainthood for other holy men and women.
Canonisations that are approved without meeting all of the requirements set by Church norms are called equivalent or equipollent canonisations. Pope Francis has approved at least seven equivalent canonisations during his two-year pontificate: Angela Foligno, Peter Faber, Jose de Anchieta, Marie of the Incarnation, Francois de Laval, Joseph Vaz and Junipero Serra.
Pope John Paul II had already made an exception to the rules in Mother Teresa’s case by allowing her cause for beatification to be opened without waiting the usual five years after a candidate’s death.