Can saints be "un-sainted"


#1

Is it possible for the Church to declare someone a saint, but then because of heresy found in the writings, "un-sainted"? A friend of mine said that this happened to Clement of Alexandria.


#2

Here’s an article that may help explain about St. Clement of Alexandria
catholicnewsagency.com/news/st-clement-of-alexandria-historically-celebrated-dec-4/
As for if a person can be “un-sainted” I don’t know for sure, but I would think not (I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m wrong :slight_smile: )


#3

Wasn't St Christopher demoted because the Vatican was not sure he was a real person?


#4

St Chris and some of his saintly cohorts had their feasts demoted in importance (ie they are still celebrated in some places but not required to be celebrated universally). Which has nothing to do with their not being saints.


#5

As far as I know the canonizations of saints are de fide tenenda teachings of the Pope, which are infallible and thus incapable of being reformed.


#6

[quote="aball1035, post:1, topic:323180"]
Is it possible for the Church to declare someone a saint, but then because of heresy found in the writings, "un-sainted"? A friend of mine said that this happened to Clement of Alexandria.

[/quote]

The answer is no. Once the church infalibly declares something it can not be reversed.
Sainthood used to be a local matter decided by local bishops. Vatican 2 made it a centralized matter. The church in Rome reviewed previously declared saints at the diocene or even parish level and found many to be mere folklore such as st. christopher, and others not worthy. But these were cases that had not been declared saints in Rome previously.


#7

Canonization is a formal declaration that a person is in heaven. While this normally means that they led a good life and are an example that we should follow, that does not have to be the case.

In a case where it was believed to be true that they led a good life and should be an example, but later it was found that this was not necessarily the case, it does not change their sainthood, they are still in heaven, and therefore, they are still a saint.

Sainthood does not mean that the person is better than anyone else or lived better than anyone else, it simply means that the person is in heaven.

It is an infallible declaration of the Church and therefore cannot be changed, as what is bound on Earth is bound in Heaven.


#8

[quote="CatholicGeek1, post:7, topic:323180"]
Canonization is a formal declaration that a person is in heaven. While this normally means that they led a good life and are an example that we should follow, that does not have to be the case.

In a case where it was believed to be true that they led a good life and should be an example, but later it was found that this was not necessarily the case, it does not change their sainthood, they are still in heaven, and therefore, they are still a saint.

Sainthood does not mean that the person is better than anyone else or lived better than anyone else, it simply means that the person is in heaven.

It is an infallible declaration of the Church and therefore cannot be changed, as what is bound on Earth is bound in Heaven.

[/quote]

That's what I believe as well. My friend says that the Catholic Church is infallible on only faith and morals. Declaring somebody a saint does not constitute an element of faith or morals. What do I say to this?


#9

[quote="aball1035, post:8, topic:323180"]
That's what I believe as well. My friend says that the Catholic Church is infallible on only faith and morals. Declaring somebody a saint does not constitute an element of faith or morals. What do I say to this?

[/quote]

Declaring that a person is in heaven is absolutely a matter of faith and morals - what are canonised Saints if not role models and examples of how to live the faith and be moral in practice?


#10

[quote="Steveabrous, post:6, topic:323180"]
The answer is no. Once the church infalibly declares something it can not be reversed.
Sainthood used to be a local matter decided by local bishops. Vatican 2 made it a centralized matter. The church in Rome reviewed previously declared saints at the diocene or even parish level and found many to be mere folklore such as st. christopher, and others not worthy. But these were cases that had not been declared saints in Rome previously.

[/quote]

Vatican II did not make canonization a centralized matter. This happened in the 11th century.

St. Christopher was not found to be mere folklore, although many of the stories associated with him are folklore. His feast day (July 25) was dropped from the universal Roman calendar, but is still celebrated locally in some cases. His feast day (May 9) remains on the liturgical calendar of the Byzantine Catholic Church and other Eastern Catholic Churches. He is most certainly still a saint. Another saint who is in this same position is St. Nicholas. While it is now an optional memorial on the Roman Calendar, his feast remains a Solemn Holy Day on our calendar.

From Second Vatican Council’s 1963 document Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy:

[quote=]111. Lest the feasts of the saints should take precedence over the feasts which commemorate the very mysteries of salvation, many of them should be left to be celebrated by a particular Church or nation or family of religious; only those should be extended to the universal Church which commemorate saints who are truly of universal importance.
[/quote]


#11

It is a matter of faith to declare that someone is in heaven without being able to see them there.


#12

[quote="CatholicGeek1, post:11, topic:323180"]
It is a matter of faith to declare that someone is in heaven without being able to see them there.

[/quote]

I think you may be equivocating here. A "matter of faith" is more than just something we believe on authority. It is something which God has revealed, or which is closely tied to that revelation. Sainthood does seem to fall within this pale, but not just because we believe it on authority.


#13

We believe it because we are told that whatever is bound on Earth is bound in Heaven. The Holy Father has the keys.

The post that you are quoting was me giving a response to someone asking how they should respond when someone says that it is not infallible because it is not a matter of faith or morals.


#14

Some saints were removed from the General Roman Calendar and their cults suppressed in 1969 as a result of calendar reform.


#15

Again, this does not mean that they are not duly canonised, nor that in some parts they may not still be venerated. St Chris and St Nick being prime examples.

I still see St Christopher medals given to many a traveller and churches named for him in a fair few places. In fact he is still patron Saint of the Caribbean Island of St Kitts (short for St Christopher)


#16

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.