Blesseds and Saints: Clarification

Last week in our review of 39 New Saints You Should Know, I stated that I found the title slightly misleading, since those beautified are not officially Saints. Over the weekend, the author, Brian O’Neel, graciously emailed us to clarify this very common misconception. We have his permission to share the clarification:

“There is no difference between blesseds and saints as such, as if one is before the Beatific Vision and the other not. Both are and are thus “saints” in that technical sense. It’s just that saints qua saints are proposed for universal veneration, whereas the veneration of blesseds is usually reserved to a particular region or nation. (Or it has been this way traditionally; with the explosion of communications and the media, blesseds are increasingly universal.) This is why Pope Benedict has directed that beatification ceremonies no longer take place in Rome but in the blessed’s native area. But in terms of their place in heaven, much less their being in heaven, there is no “saintly” difference between the saints and blesseds in the book.”


Shelly Henley Kelly