Methods Used in the Cause for Cannonization


Sorry for the wordy title.

Here’s the question, I’ve been… well attacked, really… for not accepting that the Church thoroughly investigates all the miracles presented in a person’s cause for canonization.

How do you find this information? I’ve been trying to investigate how they determined that Padre Pio was a saint, but I can’t find out any solid evidence.Pretty much all I can find is a couple of anecdotal accounts by people who didn’t do any significant tests, and statements by Church officials saying that they went through thousands of documents very thoroughly.

Does the Vatican publish their investigations? Are there academic journals on the subject? Am I just supposed to accept it on faith that someone studied it, and studied it well?

Just for the record, I’d quite happily read a book on the subject, but I have very little money to spend on books and the nearest library is quite a hike away. If I’m going to read a book, I’d like one that answers the questions instead of being a devotional tract.

Also, I’d like to find out the procedures they use in general, not just in Padre Pio’s case. But I’ll take what I can get.


You can be well-assured that there is intense research done by the postulators. Having served in the Shrine of Blessed Pedro Calungsod in the Philippines, where the postulator of his cause is also the rector, there is on display multiple volumes of the research conducted, each volume about the thickness of a doctoral dissertation, for both the Vatican historians and Vatican theologians. They deal first of all with the historical accuracy and the proofs (in this case, of martyrdom). The Calungsod cause is an especially difficult one because he died in 1672, and there are no remains. But the Congregation released two thick volumes from the theologians and historians. The type of research was historical. And all that was merely for beatification of a martyr (no miracle required).

The cause is still on for canonization, which requires one miracle, and the postulator is presently validating some reports. He told me that there are going to be plenty of physicians, of all religious persuasions, including atheists, who will examine all alleged “miracles” presented as evidence. And again, the Vatican historians and theologians will come into play.

Rome takes all causes very seriously, and so do the postulators. A sloppy postulator or sloppy research can result in the cause being closed, and once that happens, it can never be re-opened till the end of time.

I don’t know if you have access to a primary shrine or know any postulators for causes, but if you do, ask him to show you his research. It’s heavy reading.


Did you look at this information on the Vatican website?

This is not the detailed information you requested, but it may lead you to more information.

Also, this is the site of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints which gives the general instructions on the canonization process:


I checked it out before I came here. Not detailed is an understatement.

Also, this is the site of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints which gives the general instructions on the canonization process:

As far as miracles go, all this really says is that they are examined.

But how?


No I don’t. It would cost thousands of dollars which I don’t have to spend on it.


I would call your local diocese and ask if they have any active causes. I heard Cardinal Egan on the radio say that in the New York diocese they are currently handling three, including that for Fulton Sheen (if I remember correctly).

Causes are started locally so there is no need to spend money. Even if you don’t find one close enough to you, you can likely speak to someone at the chancery who will give you the specific information you are requesting.


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