Pope Benedict XVI names 5 new saints

Monday, April 27, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI named five new saints Sunday, including Portugal's 14th century independence leader and a priest who ministered to factory workers at the dawn of the industrial era.

Speaking in a packed St. Peter's Square, Benedict praised each of the five as a model for the faithful, saying their lives and works were as relevant today as when they were alive.

Benedict singled out the Rev. Arcangelo Tadini, who lived at the turn of the last century and founded an order of nuns to tend to factory workers — something of a scandal at the time, since factories were considered immoral and dangerous places. Tadini also created an association to provide emergency loans to workers experiencing financial difficulties.

"How prophetic was Don Tadini's charismatic intuition, and how current his example is today, in this time of grave economic crisis," Benedict marveled in his homily.

The only non-Italian canonized Sunday was Nuno Alvares Pereira, who helped secure Portugal's independence from the Spanish kingdom of Castile, leading Portuguese forces in the critical Battle of Aljubarrota in 1385.

After leaving the military, he entered religious life as a Carmelite and changed his name to Nuno de Santa Maria. He dedicated himself to the poor, never taking the privileges that would have been afforded to him as a former commander.

He is remembered as a national hero today in Portugal, with streets named after him in many towns, but also as a humble man of great spirituality.

"The canonization of Nuno Alvares Pereira honors one of the personalities that most clearly mapped out our national history," Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva said in Lisbon.

Also canonized Sunday was Bernardo Tolomei, a nearly blind monk who founded the Benedictine Congregation of Santa Maria di Monte Oliveto in the 1340s. He died in 1348 along with 82 of his monks after leaving the safety of his monastery to tend to plague victims in Siena.

Benedict praised his dedication, saying he died "as an authentic martyr of charity."

The others canonized were Gertrude Comensoli and Caterina Volpicelli, 19th century Italian nuns who founded religious orders.

Benedict has presided over a handful of canonization ceremonies in his four-year pontificate, and has left it to other Vatican officials to officiate at beatification ceremonies. His predecessor, Pope John Paul II, beatified 1,338 people and canonized 480 during his quarter-century pontificate.

Beatification is the first step to possible sainthood. The Vatican must certify one miracle attributed to the candidate's intercession for beatification, and a second miracle that occurred after beatification for the candidate to be declared a saint.


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William Thomas May 9, 2009 | 9:27 a.m.


The Catholic Church, has been embroiled in child sex abuse scandals for many years now. I ask, how can a "Church" that has covered up, condoned and lied about sexual abuse by its' priests and nuns, be allowed to call anyone a saint? It is cleary beyond thier understanding, that these acts are not of CHRIST! They are following another gospel, that serves other gods. It is about time, that people wake up and stop being lead astray, by the "children of darkness".

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Rhonda Ferber May 30, 2009 | 2:25 p.m.

It's important to remember there are many good priests and good people in the Catholic Church, and they are entitled to continue with their Catholic traditions. Now more than ever, Catholics need to be uplifted and given the opportunity to honor those who do uphold the value system they believe in. Good people can't allow their institutions to be destroyed by the actions of a minority within the Church, namely a minority of Church authorities who apparently did not know how to handle their power in a way that best served churchgoers.

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Scot Padgett October 13, 2009 | 10:54 p.m.

World population 6,790,338,403; US population 307,690,998; (US World Population Clock, Oct 2009 figures)
World Catholic population 1,147,000,000+; US Catholic population 65,200,000+ (Georgetown University, CARA 2007 figures)
World Catholic Priest population 408,024, US Catholic Priest population 40,700.
1 in 7 of the world population is Catholic and 1 in 5 of the US population.
Less than 2% of Priest alive today has been accused and less than 1% has been substantiated.
The point of all this is that the Church that Christ built is greater than a few thousand sinful men. Christ himself said that there would be vines in his Church, yet his Church will stand forever. The Catholic Church has taken this tragic scandal seriously and has made great progress in establish programs, guidelines, and safeguards over the last five years aimed at prevention, education, and accountability.

By what authority you ask? The same authority that gave the world its first Canonized Bible, a Catholic Bibe, the very Bible that all Christian Bibles have been based on. As far as us Catholics being lead astray, I recommend that you study the first 400 years of the Christian Church, read the abundance of early writings from the faithful of that time, many suffering martyrdom, remind yourself as you do this that the Bible had not been canonized yet, and writings that did exist were not mass produced, examine how the early church persevered and prospered through the Magisterium (Teaching authority of the Popes, Bishops, Priest, Deacons) and Holy Tradition, then ask yourself who has been lead astray.

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