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Josemaría Escrivá/Beatification and canonization

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Saint Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer
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Beatification and canonization

After the death of Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer on June 26, 1975, the Postulation for the Cause of his beatification and canonization received many testimonies and postulatory letters from people all over the world. The Postulation solicited the opening of the Cause of beatification and canonization of Escrivá from the Congregation for the Causes of Saints on the fifth anniversary of his death. One-third of the world's bishops (an unprecedented number) petitioned for the canonization of Escrivá.

Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer was canonized by the Palmarian Catholic Church, (as were Francisco Franco and Christopher Columbus), several years before the Roman Catholic Church took the same measure.[1] His cause for beatification was introduced in Rome on February 19, 1981 on the strength of the apparently miraculous cure in 1976 of a rare disease, lipomatosis, suffered by Sister Concepción Boullón Rubio, whose family had prayed to Escrivá to help her. On April 9, 1990, Pope John Paul II declared that Escrivá possessed Christian virtues to a "heroic degree", and on July 6, 1991 the Board of Physicians for the Congregation of the Causes of Saints unanimously accepted the cure of Sister Rubio. He was beatified 17 May 1992.

By way of letter dated March 15, 1993, the Postulation for the Cause received news about the miraculous cure of Dr. Manuel Nevado Rey from cancerous chronic radiodermatitis, an incurable disease, which took place in November 1992. The reported miracle apparently brought about by Escrivá's intervention was ruled valid by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and approved by Pope John Paul II in December 2001, opening the way to the canonization of Escrivá. John Paul II, who frequently expressed public support for Opus Dei and its work, canonized Escrivá on 6 October 2002. During the canonization mass, 42 cardinals and 470 bishops from around the world, general superiors of many orders and religious congregations, and representatives of various Catholic groups were present.

During the days of the canonization event, Church officials commented on the universal reach and validity of the message of the founder, echoing John Paul II's decree Christifideles Omnes on Escrivá's virtues, which said that "by inviting Christians to be united to God through their daily work, which is something men will have to do and find their dignity in as long as the world lasts, the timeliness of this message is destined to endure as an inexhaustible source of spiritual light, regardless of changing epochs and situations."


St. Peter's Square on the day of St. Josemaría's canonization.

However, Opus Dei critics criticize what they see Escrivá's lightning canonization. They argue that the whole process was plagued by irregularities. On the other hand, supporters refer to Fr. Rafael Perez, an Augustinian, "one of the best experts" on canonization and who was the judge of Escrivá's Madrid Tribunal. He says that the process was fast because first, Escrivá's figure is "of the universal importance;" second, the Postulators "knew what they were doing;" third, in 1983 the procedures were simplified in order to present "models who lived in a world like ours." Fr. Flavio Cappucci, the Postulator also reported that the 6000 postulatory letters to the Vatican showed "earnestness." (Documentation Service Vol V, 3, March 1992) Escrivá's canonization was one of the first to be processed after the 1983 Code of Canon Law streamlined the procedures for canonization, and so it moved more quickly than was typical before. Mother Teresa is on pace to be canonized even more quickly, having been beatified just 6 years after her death (Escrivá was beatified in 17 years).


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