Pope Frances opens a new pathway to sainthood

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has added a fourth pathway to possible sainthood.

Until now, gaining consideration for sainthood in the Catholic Church required martyrdom, living a life of heroic values or — less frequently invoked — having a clear saintly reputation.

The Vatican announced Tuesday that the pope has issued a new law outlining a new route: people who lived a good Catholic life and who freely accepted a certain and premature death for the good of others.

This is the first change to the main sainthood requirements in centuries.

Under the new category, a miracle must be attributed to the candidate’s intercession prior to beatification, the first step toward canonization as a saint. Martyrdom, which stipulates being killed out of hatred for the faith, does not require a miracle.

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