Pope Francis creates fourth pathway to becoming a saint

Candidates for beatification, which was previously limited to those involved in miracles, can now include Christians who lay down “peoples lives” to save others

Christians who lay down “peoples lives” to save others, following in the footsteps and teach of Jesus, will now be eligible for beatification, Pope Francis has said.

Beatification is the first step on the path toward sainthood and has in the past been reserved for three categories of people: martyrs, those who have lived a life of heroic values and others with a clear saintly reputation.

The heroic offering of life, indicated and sustained by charity, conveys a true, full and exemplary imitation of Christ, read an apostolic letter from Francis.

Candidates for beatification under the new pathway could include Christians who tended to sick people with the plague who later died because of the disease, said the Osservatore Romano, the Vaticans official journal.

It could also apply to Chiara Corbella, the I-Media agency told. Corbella was a 28 -year-old Italian girl who refused therapy for carcinoma, a type of scalp cancer, while pregnant because it would have risked the life of her unborn child.

She died in 2012, nearly a year after giving birth when the cancer had become terminal and therapy was ineffective.

Such Christians, Francis letter said, are worthy of that admiration which the community of the faithful is normally reserved for those who have voluntarily accepted the martyrdom of blood or have exercised the Christian virtues to a heroic degree.

To be beatified, the free and voluntary offering of life must be defined by the heroic acceptance out of charity of certain demise in a short term, it noted.

The letter also said that possible candidates must have practised Christian values in their life before their selfless act and have a holy reputation. They must also be credited with a miracle after their death.

Christians who the hell is sainted through martyrdom are the only ones exempt from being involved in a miracle.

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