AskDefine | Define beatification

Dictionary Definition



1 a state of supreme happiness [syn: blessedness, beatitude]
2 the action of rendering supremely blessed and extremely happy
3 (Roman Catholic Church) an act of the Pope who declares that a deceased person lived a holy life and is worthy of public veneration; a first step toward canonization

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. The act of beatifying, or the state of being beatified; esp., in the Roman Catholic Church, the act or process of ascertaining and declaring that a deceased person is one of "the blessed," or has attained the second degree of sanctity, — usually a stage in the process of canonization.

Extensive Definition

In Catholicism, beatification (from Latin beatus, blessed, via Greek μακάριος, makarios) is a recognition accorded by the church of a dead person's accession to Heaven and capacity to intercede on behalf of individuals who pray in his or her name (intercession of saints). The word "beatification" probably came in use after the fourth century when it was introduced in the church at Carthage, but the idea is older. In earlier ages this honor was entirely local and passed from one diocese to another with the permission of their bishops. This is clear from the fact that early Christian cemeteries contain paintings only of local martyrs. The history of the process is discussed more under Canonization.
Some beatifications by bishops in the Middle Ages are almost scandalous by modern standards. For instance, Charlemagne was beatified by a court bishop soon after his death. He was never canonized, and his veneration has been mostly suppressed, though permission is given to celebrate Mass in his honor in the cities of Aachen and Osnabrück, but without using the title of "Blessed."
Beatification is a locally restricted permission to venerate, while canonization is a universal precept to venerate. That is, beatification allows the public veneration of a person as having entered Heaven, while canonization commands it. Beatification is considered a step towards being declared a saint, usually after being declared venerable and before canonization as a saint. Unlike canonization, most theologians do not consider the declaration of beatitude to be an infallible statement of the Church. Cultus confirmation is a somewhat different procedure where the church recognizes the local cult, asserting that veneration is acceptable. Such a confirmation is more of an official sanctioning of folk Christianity than an active step in a canonization procedure, but the object of the cult may equally be addressed as "Blessed".
Since the Canon law reform of 1983, one miracle must be proven to have taken place through the intercession of the person to be beatified, though this requirement is waived for those who died a martyr. More about the process can be found in the article on canonization.
A person who is beatified is given the title "Blessed." The feast day, however, is not universal, but is celebrated only in regions where the Blessed receives particular veneration. For instance, Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha is honored in the United States of America and Canada. The Blessed may also be honored in a particular religious order. For instance, veneration of John Duns Scotus is found in the Archdiocese of Cologne, Germany, and among the Franciscans, among other places.
Pope John Paul II (18 May 19202 April 2005) markedly changed previous Catholic practice of beatification. By October 2004 he had beatified 1,340 people, more than the sum of all of his predecessors since Pope Sixtus V (d. 1590), who established a beatification procedure similar to that used today. His successor, Pope Benedict XVI, removed the custom of holding beatification rites in the Vatican with the Pope presiding; they can now be held in the location where the subject lived with a Cardinal designated to preside over the ceremony.


External links

beatification in Catalan: Beat
beatification in Czech: Blahoslavený
beatification in German: Seligsprechung
beatification in Spanish: Beato
beatification in Esperanto: Beatigo
beatification in French: Béatification
beatification in Indonesian: Beatifikasi
beatification in Interlingua (International Auxiliary Language Association): Beatification
beatification in Italian: Beatificazione
beatification in Hebrew: מבורך
beatification in Latin: Beatificatio
beatification in Dutch: Zaligverklaring
beatification in Japanese: 列福
beatification in Norwegian: Saligkåring
beatification in Polish: Beatyfikacja
beatification in Portuguese: Beatificação
beatification in Russian: Беатификация
beatification in Slovak: Blahorečenie
beatification in Slovenian: Beatifikacija
beatification in Serbian: Беатификација
beatification in Tagalog: Beatipikasyon
beatification in Thai: บุญราศี
beatification in Ukrainian: Беатифікація

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