Gaudí's lay status and worldwide renown accelerate the beatification process
In the coming days, a jury will be constituted which, under oath of secrecy, will study the architect's actions and determine if, after his death, any miracle has taken place which may be attributed to his intercession
BARCELONA. Yesterday, the Cardinal Archbishop of Barcelona, Ricard M. Carles, attributed the speed with which the Vatican has given the "nihil obstat" for initiation of the canonization process of architect Antoni Gaudí to his status as layman and his world-wide renown.
"Gaudí is known throughout the world, and I also understand that the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints is interested in having lay saints," the Cardinal added in a press conference held yesterday with an unusually large representation of the media.
After authorization from the Vatican, a tribunal will be constituted immediately, including a delegate judge, the promoter of justice -previously called the devil's advocate- and the principal and auxiliary notaries, who will find out whether Gaudí "practiced, to a heroic degree, the theological (faith, hope and charity) and cardinal (prudence, righteousness, strength and temperance) virtues, as well as his condition as servant of God (humility, poverty, serving his neighbor, the spiritual transcendence of beauty and art." This process involves one commission of theologians and another of historians, and covers the testimonies presented by the vice-postulator, Lluís Bonet, the priest. The jury, which will work under oath and maintain secrecy, could finish its task in a year and will then submit the documentation to Rome.
Proving the heroic nature of the virtues is, in theory, sufficient for beatification; however, according to the "Manual for instructing canonization processes," the current praxis indicates that it is necessary for a miracle to have been performed by the servant of God after his or her death. In order to proceed to canonization, another miracle must occur after beatification. Because of this, some ecclesiastical sources believe that the canonization process of Bishop Torras i Bages is paralyzed because no miracle has been found.
Bonet denied Gaudí's alleged association with masonry and said that five witnesses who knew him described him as a "pious man, Catalonian, and submitted to the things of God."
Josep Playŕ Maset
Saturday, March 11, 2000