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After Paul VI, it’s Blessed Dominic’s turn

SIR – It was intriguing to read Michael Davis’s cover story “The battle over Paul VI” (January 12), in which he wrote that the Congregation for the Causes of Saints has recognised a miracle attributed to Pope Paul VI. The road is now clear for Paul’s canonisation, possibly in October. It was intriguing because it was Pope Paul VI himself who, on October 27, 1963, beatified Blessed Dominic Barberi, the Passionist apostle of ecumenism in days when ecumenists were rare.

Blessed Dominic is best remembered in England for having received John Henry Newman into the Church in 1845. At the beatification ceremony Pope Paul VI said: “Blessed Dominic’s beatification brings to light a character who has more than one claim to outstanding merit … He is worthy of remembrance as a scholastic author of sound studies in theology and philosophy. His work on papal infallibility … anticipates with the secure appraisal of scholarship the definition which was to be made many years later by the Vatican Council.”

When Blessed Dominic was beatified, two miracles were required, and a further two for canonisation. This was changed to one miracle at each stage by Pope John Paul II in 1983. Anticipating this change, the Passionist provincial in England organised a petition to the Holy Father that Blessed Dominic be canonised “without awaiting miracles other than those accepted by the Holy See at his beatification”.

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