Christians who lay down their life to save others, “following in the footsteps and teaching of Jesus”, will now be eligible for beatification, Pope Francis has said. Beatification is the first step on the path toward sainthood and has in the past been reserved for three categories of people: martyrs, those who have lived a life of heroic values and others with a clear saintly reputation.
“The heroic offering of life, suggested and sustained by charity, expresses a true, full and exemplary imitation of Christ,” read an apostolic letter from Francis.
Candidates for beatification under the new pathway could include Christians who tended to sick people with the plague who later died because of the disease, said the Osservatore Romano, the Vatican’s official journal.
It could also apply to Chiara Corbella, the I-Media agency said. Corbella was a 28-year-old Italian woman who refused treatment for carcinoma, a type of skin cancer, while pregnant because it would have risked the life of her unborn child.
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