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MOTHER TERESA'S BEATIFICATION CAUSE BEGINS IN CALCUTTA
Proposal That John Paul II Beatify Her in India

CALCUTTA, MAR 9, 1999 (ZENIT).
- Just a year and a half after Mother Teresa of Calcutta's death, and following an exception to the norms by express permission of John Paul II, the first and fundamental phase of the diocesan process of beatification began today with the appointment of the official postulator. This responsibility has been assigned to a missionary of Charity of the men's branch of the religious institute founded by the Albanian religious.

Why has Mother Teresa's cause for beatification been so unexpectedly accelerated? According to Archbishop Josť Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints, who spoke to Vatican Radio, "in fact, it is not an acceleration, but simply a dispensation from the canonical norm which establishes the beginning of the diocesan investigation five years after the death of a servant of God. The dispensation only affects the time at which the cause begins, not its trajectory."

Are there similar cases in the archives of the Congregation for Saints?
Archbishop Saraiva responded that "it is important to remember that in the old procedure there were no limits to the time to begin a cause.
Keeping in mind the simplification of the trajectory of causes, the
current legislation, which was defined in 1983, makes provision for an
adequate period of five years after death. Over the past sixteen years,
when the current legislation has been in force, there has been no
similar case."

What are the Pope's motives for making this exception in the case of the missionary of Charity? The prefect of the Congregation disclosed that there were very particular motives, "as the spread of the fame of
sanctity which Mother Teresa enjoys universally, both within and outside the Church." Moreover, the Archbishop referred to the "extraordinary ecclesial relevance which is invested in the figure of the founder of the missionaries of Charity." And, finally, to "the avalanche of petitions which have come from very varied sources in the Catholic Church, as well as groups, and individuals or institutions which are not part of the Church."

Is it possible to know how long the cause of beatification will take?
"The Holy Father has made a dispensation regarding the initiation of the cause, but not its trajectory. Each one of the phases of this process has its own necessary and required timing. This is why it is not possible to foresee the time that the causes of beatification will
entail, before they have completed the various phases of the process,
both in the diocesan realm as well as later, in Rome."

Over the last few days, some have suggested that the angel of charity
will be the saint for the coming millennium, and that John Paul II might
travel to India to beatify her. According to Sister Nirmala, Mother
Teresa's successor as superior of the missionaries, "It would be
marvelous." Speaking to Vatican Radio, Sister Nirmala believes that
Mother Teresa's beatification will be a message centered on the virtues which characterized her. A wordless message which reveals "that she loved the poor, she was concerned about everyone, the rich and the poor, she was a mother to everyone, a friend, a person of great sanctity, who gave much love."
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Special thanks to Father Ernest Munachi for mailing me this article.
You may visit his website, Munachi's Homepage, at
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Oracle/1020