can you tell me who/whom makes up the congregation rites for beatification/canonization?
Who is in that committee - congregation rites?
Do they still use atheists to make decisions? Or am I off track there.
Are you talking about the Congregation for the Causes of Saints?
And… ‘atheists’? Are you certain? That’s nothing I’ve ever heard of. Perhaps you’re thinking of the role of the “devil’s advocate” – that is, the person who argues against the cause for a saint, in order that it can be ascertained that he is truly in heaven?
Me neither. Since atheists don’t believe in Saints or heaven in the first place, they could not be expected to endorse anyone’s canonization.
Perhaps you’re thinking of the role of the “devil’s advocate” – that is, the person who argues against the cause for a saint, in order that it can be ascertained that he is truly in heaven?
I think that’s what the OP had in mind. The office of devil’s advocate (the person who argues against canonization) was established in the mid-Sixteenth Century, along with the office of “God’s advocate” (the person who argues in favor of the canonization). These were both Canon Lawyers (who may also be priests or Bishops).
Being a devil’s advocate could be a lousy job, because you may find yourself trying to dig up “dirt” on very godly people, including those whom you personally feel should be canonized. Can you imagine being the devil’s advocate for Mother Theresa?
In 1983, Pope St. John Paul the Great combined the two roles into a single “Promoter of Justice” role. The Promoter of Justice is supposed to impartially examine both sides.