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Pope Francis grants sainthood to those who die for others

Christians who lay down their life to save others, “following in the footsteps and teaching of Jesus”, will now be eligible for beatification, Pope Francis has said.The Servant of God must have, after death, the reputation for and signs of holiness.Before the change, there were three categories that provided a path to sainthood: being killed for the faith (martyrdom), living a life heroically of Christian virtues and having a strong reputation for religious devotion.”It is certain that the heroic offering of life, driven by charity, reflects a true, full and exemplary imitation of Christ”, the Pope wrote in a ruling known as a motu proprio.There are six new articles, including the first making “the offering of life” a new particular case in the beatification and canonization process, as distinguished from the particular cases of martyrdom and heroic virtue.Kolbe’s sainthood cause began in 1955 under the previous rules and he was made a saint in 1982.The working of miracle, after death, through the intercession of the Servant of God.The first, that it is a “free and voluntary offer of life and heroic acceptance” – for the sake of charity – of a certain and non-lengthy death, showing “a connection between the offering of life and premature death”.Finally, there must be evidence of a posthumous miracle that could be directly linked to the candidate.Candidates for sainthood who would qualify under the new path include mothers who carry their children to term even when doing so would bring the mother harm or death, as in the case of Chiara Corbella, and those who take the place of someone else condemned to die.