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Vatican newspaper explains 'equivalent canonization' of St. Hildegard of Bingen

Catholic World News - May 11, 2012

L’Osservatore Romano has explained the process by which Pope Benedict XVI has declared St. Hildegard of Bingen to be a saint.

The Pope’s May 10 announcement was a case of “equivalent canonization,” the Vatican newspaper explained. The process was established in the 18th century by Pope Benedict XIV. It takes place “when the Pope enjoins the Church as a whole to observe the veneration of a Servant of God not yet canonized by the insertion of his feast into the liturgical calendar of the universal Church, with Mass and the Divine Office.

An “equivalent canonization” usually occurs—as in the case of St. Hildegard of Bingen—when veneration the saint is already well established in Church traditions, but for various reasons the formal process of canonization has not been completed. Other saints who were canonized by this form include Sts. Bruno, Margaret of Scotland, Stephen of Hungary, and Wenceslaus, L’Osservatore Romano noted.

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  • Posted by: stpetric - May. 11, 2012 10:00 PM ET USA

    I'm confused. St Hildegard is already listed in the Martyrologium Romanum (on September 17). I assumed that meant she was already officially considered a saint, albeit one dating from before the formal canonization process was instituted.

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