of the Sacred Congregation of Rites and, only a couple of months ago, the present Pope divided this Congregation into two bodies, one of which, the Sacred Congregation for the Causes of Saints, is now concerned with these processes to the exclusion of all else.
Of all areas of church law, the rules about sainthood are probably the least known but we do treat both these rules and the way they are administered with great respect.
Whatever other knocks the Roman Curia has taken over recent years, hardly anyone would question the scrupulous care which goes to ensure thet, before any candidate is proclaimed a saint, everything humanly possible is done to assure that he is not unworthy of the honour.
However, as was pointed out during the Vatican Council, this care does not mean that all is well with the processes of sainthood. For one thing, if the saints
are really to he a useful example to the Catholic man in the street, or even to the average priest in the parish, it is hardly appropriate that the great majority of recent canonisations should be concerned with the founders of eighteenth century female religious orders in France and Italy.
When for instance, men of goodwill are campaigning for prisoners of conscience throughout the world, one longs to hear that the Congregation for the Causes of Saints had dropped all else and had organised a speedy investigation into the life of the Austrian peasant, Franz Jagerstatter. Of course, the decision in the case might be negative.
On the other hand, this uneducated man died a martyr to his convictions as a conscientious objector and, were he raised to the altars, it would be a great encouragement for all who strive to defend the common man against modern dictatorships of the Right and the Left.