"Equipollent Canonization"

Q. On April 24, Pope Francis canonized Margaret Castello (1287-1320), an Italian Third-Order Dominican who is patron saint of the disabled. Hers was a case of “equipollent canonization.” What does that mean?


A. Through the act of “equipollent canonization,” a pope can choose to forego the judicial processes, formal attribution of miracles, and scientific examinations that are typically involved in the canonization of a saint. Declaring that Margaret’s life exemplifies heroic virtue, Pope Francis formally confirmed the centuries-old devotion to her and added her feast to the Church’s calendar.

Margaret is the sixth saint that this pontiff has canonized in this way. Some other saints in this category are Cyril and Methodius, Albert the Great, Thomas More, Hildegard of Bingen, and Bede the Venerable.