“As the canonizations of these two popes and the 2003 beatification of Mother Teresa of Calcutta illustrate, we are moving away from an age when Catholics come to know their saints only through stories, statues and stained glass windows. Instead, we are witnesses to their goodness firsthand.

But though we are getting closer to our saints, canonization is still weighed much too heavily toward religious celebrities. The ranks of candidates for sainthood remains stunningly thin when it comes to ordinary laypeople, Korean martyrs notwithstanding.

Earlier this month, a Spanish missionary to Brazil, the bishop of Quebec, and an Ursuline nun joined the ranks of saints. Since the new year opened, a New Jersey nun, a bishop from Spain, a priest from Italy and the queen consort of the two kingdoms of Sicily and Naples were beatified.

Where are the ordinary laity? Will obscurity continue to remain the destiny of a righteous layperson lacking a large religious community or diocese to plead his or her cause for sainthood?”

You can read the rest of Francis J. Butler’s article “Where are all the saints without cassocks?” here.


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