Item description for Making Saints: How The Catholic Church Determines Who Becomes A Saint, Who Doesn'T, And Why by Kenneth L. Woodward...
Overview An explanation of the process of bestowing sainthood shows the investigations of the candidates' lives, the approval process for miracles, and other information. Reprint. 12,500 first printing.
Publishers Description From inside the Vatican, the book that became a modern classic on sainthood in the Catholic Church. Working from church documents, Kenneth Woodward shows how saint-makers decide who is worthy of the church's highest honor. He describes the investigations into lives of candidates, explains how claims for miracles are approved or rejected, and reveals the role politics -- papal and secular -- plays in the ultimate decision. From his examination of such controversial candidates as Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador and Edith Stein, a Jewish philosopher who became a nun and was gassed at Auschwitz, to his insights into the changes Pope John Paul II has instituted, Woodward opens the door on a 2,000-year-old tradition.
Citations And Professional Reviews Making Saints: How The Catholic Church Determines Who Becomes A Saint, Who Doesn'T, And Why by Kenneth L. Woodward has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Wilson Public Library Catalog - 12/31/2008 page 119
Wilson Public Library Catalog - 01/01/1998 page 88
Wilson Public Library Catalog - 01/01/2004 page 91
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.72" Width: 5.6" Height: 1.24" Weight: 1.41 lbs.
Release Date Jul 23, 1996
ISBN 0684815303 ISBN13 9780684815305
Availability 0 units.
More About Kenneth L. Woodward
Kenneth L. Woodward has been Religion Editor at Newsweek for thirty-six years. His articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Smithsonian, Commonweal, The Nation, and America, among other publications. He is also the winner of a National Magazine Award and the author of Making Saints.
Kenneth L. Woodward currently resides in Westchester County, in the state of New York.
Reviews - What do customers think about Making Saints: How The Catholic Church Determines Who Becomes A Saint, Who Doesn'T, And Why?
A marvel of unbiased reporting Feb 20, 2008
I'm an orthodox Catholic who teaches high school theology. As such, I frequently cringe at biased reporting that seeks either to portray the Church as either absolutely unblemished or as unrelentingly evil. Hats off to Kenneth Woodward for what strikes me as a completely even-handed look at the little-understood process of canonizing saints in the Catholic Church. This, coupled with the unparalleled access he was given by Vatican officials, makes this THE book for those interested in finding out more about what he calls "the saint-makers." I was fascinated from beginning to end.
The human side of a divine undertaking Sep 3, 2004
In "Making Saints," Kenneth Woodward lifts the veil on what to many is the mysterious process of determining who will (and who will not) be declared a saint of the Roman Catholic Church. For the extremely pious, the idea of human meddling in the saint-making process is sacrilegious. But Woodward explores the touchy area where devoted laborers for the Church, through their human work, manage to operate hand in hand with Divinity. "Making Saints" is not an exposé of the Vatican's machinery for canonization, but it does show how the Church's current institutional needs and prejudices strongly shape the choices of the causes under consideration.
Who will become a saint? In short, it is the person of great sanctity whose example happens to be deemed important by the reigning Pope and other high leaders of the Church. If the Church needs to highlight the sanctity of married life, it searches for married couples whose sanctity could inspire the faithful. Sometimes, this effort is comic, as the Church, trying to move forward, trips over its own past priorities. For instance, the married couple chosen by the Church as an exemplar of sanctified married life are Louis and Azélie Martin, all of whose surviving children entered convents, and one of whom, Thérèse of Lisieux, became a saint. In choosing the Martins as candidates for sainthood, the Church did not stray far from its discomfort with sex, except perhaps as a means of producing priests and nuns.
Obvious candidates like Archbishop Oscar Romero -- whose opposition to rightwing government-sanctioned death squads in El Salvador earned him a rifle bullet in the chest -- is not likely to be considered a saint soon. His gospel-like opposition to temporal power, his siding with the poor, his martyr's death, the devotion to him by ordinary people and even indications of physical incorruption ought to make him a shoo-in for sainthood. But to the saint makers, Romero is still too "political" to be canonized or even beatified. The upper levels of the Church are still nervous about those whose activities affect the lives of masses of people, opening the Church to charges of being in league with activists, communists and other undesirables. And so Romero awaits official notice of his canonization, regardless of his actual status in the heavenly court.
"Making Saints" is a book that opened my eyes to the truth that there are still saints among us, people whose devotion to God and neighbor is heroic, extraordinary and exemplary. The book also made it clear that the Church (probably rightly) moves very carefully when declaring sainthood for all but the most innocuous of the holy. The Church has many constituencies and cannot afford to win some while losing others. So for every John XXIII pushed forward by liberalizers, there is a Pius XII put forward by conservatives. "Making Saints" gives fascinating insights into how the ecclesiastical, scientific and political arms of the Vatican work together to determine the who, why and when of canonization and beatification--incredibly, doing the work of God in the process.
Between the lines Oct 5, 2000
One thought kept going through my mind while reading this book. Throughout the centuries, God continues to reach out to us, even physically. The four Gospels tell us that Jesus is not simply a God-teacher. He is a God of words and works. He physically fed people and raised the dead and healed the sick. He got his hands dirty, literally, to cure the blind. The miracles of the saints are simply God working through His people to reach out and touch the rest of us. The saints are pointing us to God and leading us to God and connecting us to God and to each other. Mr. Woodward has done a deeply personal job pointing out that there are necessary procedures to determine the validity of claims of miracles. To merely accept all claims of miracles would be a disservice to the candidate (I love the formal term used in the candidacy procedure, Servant of God) and to the Church at large. One point which I wish Mr. Woodward had covered is the process (if any) by which it is determined that the intercession of a particular saint is responsible for a particular miracle. For example, one family may be praying for the intercession of Padre Pio for a particular cause, and another person may be praying for the intercession of St. Katherine Drexel for the same cause, and so on. How is it determined which saint's intercession is responsible in the event of a cure? If the mark of a good writer is to leave the reader wanting more, Mr. Woodward has succeeded.
Some intriguing information, much misunderstanding Sep 29, 2000
Especially in the current climate, where more people are canonised in a year than were in the previous century, the interesting background of the process, and how it has changed in recent decades, is quite interesting.
Unfortunately, the writer has far more understanding of the "legal process" in this area than any of either popular devotion or very obvious reasons why one candidate may be favoured over another. For example, devotion to saints, amongst the general population, often is not at all based on identifying with the total circumstances of the saint's life, but with a particular aspect. The author devotes much time to the lack of being "uninhibited" in bed which would supposedly keep married couples from identifying with Louis and Zelie Martin (whose marriage began rather oddly largely because both had longed for religious life). Aside from that one wonders how he would have known such details, that such are seldom mentioned in polite company much less in archives, and that a couple who had nine children must have not spent all of their time in chapel, it would be ridiculous to think that those devoted to the pair would have sexual inhibitions or a negative attitude as a result. The people I've encountered who wish to see Louis and Zelie canonised are generally those who envy that the Martins had five children who gave their lives to the Church... rather than two who want no part of church at all.
Part of what marks one for beatification is a continued devotion. Heavens, if two women, both saintly, lived in the same period, and one was the foundress of a religious order, the other a local parent, the fact that the cause of the former would be more likely to endure is simply practical. Mother Foundress would have been well known, because her Sisters would have told her story to all whom they served for generations afterward, would have published books about her life, and would have scattered descriptive holy cards far and wide. (Not to mention that the Order later would have financed the canonisation research.) The mother of a family would have been unlikely to be well known, and her kids may have found the stress of living with a saint rather strong ... her memory may die out with her grandchildren. It is not an indication that marriage is not holy.
Read with discretion. The political correctness and catering to popular misconceptions can obscure much. The political and legal aspects are nonetheless interesting reading.
an excellent resource for any student of hagiography Oct 13, 1999
Basically, this book is totally rad. It not only provides a solid historical basis for understanding the evolution of hagiography, but also details Woodward's in-depth conversations with the movers and shakers in the Saint-Making World today. This really helps to make a connection between the past and present in this fascinating book.