Culture of Life
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What veneration is appropriate for a blessed person?
BY The Editors
May 22-June 4, 2011 Issue | Posted 5/13/11 at 3:06 PM
According to an EWTN.com article, “Blesseds may receive public veneration at the local or regional level, usually restricted to those dioceses or religious institutes closely associated with the person’s life. ‘Public veneration’ in this use of the term doesn’t mean that it is done in public; rather, that it is an act done by the clergy, or delegated laity, in the name of the Church (Mass, Divine Office, images in churches etc.), even if done in private. On the other hand, ‘private veneration’ means veneration by individuals or groups acting in their own name, even if done ‘in public.’ While the Church restricts the public veneration of blesseds, Catholics are free to privately venerate them.
“The reason for this distinction and its disciplinary norm is that beatification is not considered an infallible papal act, and so it is not yet appropriate that the entire Church give liturgical veneration to the blessed. Perhaps to reinforce this distinction, Pope Benedict XVI has restored the practice, in use prior to Pope Paul VI, of having the prefect of the congregation conduct the beatification, rather than the Pope doing it himself. He has made exceptions, one of which is his predecessor, Pope John Paul II.
“In the case of Blessed John Paul II, the Holy See … determined that public veneration is lawful in the Diocese of Rome and the nation of Poland. Other nations, dioceses and institutes may petition the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments for the indult [permission] to render cultus (veneration) to the blessed. Without an indult, however, public veneration is illicit, and even harms the possibility for canonization of the blessed.”
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