Pope approves beatification of French priest

20th December 2004, Comments 0 comments

VATICAN CITY, Dec 20 (AFP) - Pope John Paul II Monday approved the beatification of French Franciscan priest Charles de Foucauld, whom he has already praised as a model of inter-religious dialogue with Muslims.

VATICAN CITY, Dec 20 (AFP) - Pope John Paul II Monday approved the beatification of French Franciscan priest Charles de Foucauld, whom he has already praised as a model of inter-religious dialogue with Muslims.

De Foucauld, who died in 1916, spent many years in the Sahara and founded an order that became the inspiration for religious and spiritual communities around the world.

In 2001, the pope praised de Foucauld for his "generosity and boldness, his message and his example."

He said others should follow his example in living peacefully as Christian witnesses "in countries where there are tensions among cultural and religious communities," saying this witness was particularly powerful in dealings with Islamic communities.

The practice of beatification requires a miracle, and Vatican theologians attribute to de Foucauld the miraculous cure of a cancer sufferer in 1984. The pope signed a decree acknowledging the miracle as authentic.

De Foucauld, ordained at the age of 43 after a military career, went in 1905 to live in southern Algeria among the Touareg people and was killed by an assassin's bullet.

In line with the process leading to beatification, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints proclaimed in 2001 that he had lived a life of heroic virtue.

Beatification is the step before canonisation. The date of de Foucauld's beatification ceremony has yet to be officially announced.

Beatification and canonisation, the result of a lengthy process, are intended to provide examples to the faithful of the witness of a deceased member of the church, and to authorise or prescribe public worship in their honour.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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