„Santo Subito“ is Italian and translated into German means „immediate saint“. The term is used in the Catholic Church to refer to immediate canonization after death. Normally, there is a five-year waiting period before a person can be canonized. In most cases, the process to canonization takes decades.
Where does the term „Santo Subito“ come from? What does it mean? Explanation
The term „Santo Subito“ gained notoriety during the funeral of former Pope John Paul II. At that time, many of the Catholics present wished that the deceased pope would be canonized immediately and made this known through posters and shouts of „Santo Subito!“. At that time, the future Pope Benedict XVI, who at that time was still known as Cardinal Ratzinger, dealt with the demand.
John Paul II’s canonization took place early because of permission to depart from the 1983 papal bull „Novæ leges pro causis sanctorum.“ He was beatified in 2011, just six years after his death. The canonization followed just three years later. Since then, Santo Subito has become an established term that supporters use to call for the swift beatification or canonization of a deceased member of the Church. Whether the Catholic Church accedes to this request must be decided on an individual basis in each case.
Since the year 1234, canonization has been done in a liturgical act only for popes.
Actually, the waiting period for a canonization process was 50 years. So 50 years had to pass before canonization could be implemented. John Paul II shortened the waiting period to five years. For Mother Teresa of Calcutta, he even suspended the shortened waiting period. She died in 1997 and already in 1999 the beatification process was opened. (Actually, it should not have started until 2002.) Mother Teresa was then beatified in 2003. Then in 2016, she was canonized by Pope Francis.
What is beatification?
If the Church, through the pope, determines that a deceased person „lived an exemplary life of faith“ and „followed Jesus Christ in a special way,“ the person can first be beatified. Here, there is usually a five-year bar from the person’s death.
Just as a saint or holy person is not „worshipped,“ so is a beatified person. Rather, he or she is to serve as an example to the faithful of the Catholic community and also acts as an intercessor before God. According to the teachings of the Catholic Church, in order to be beatified and subsequently pronounced blessed, it must be proven that the person has performed at least one miracle in each case. This can include, for example, spontaneous healings. In this case, a suffering person is relieved of his or her suffering through prayer or blessing by the person to be beatified.
What is the difference between saint and blessed?
There are some small but subtle differences between saints and blessed. Saints are venerated by the entire Catholic Church worldwide. Blessed, on the other hand, are venerated „only“ in dioceses, local churches or religious congregations. Before canonization, beatification must have taken place. In order to be canonized, at least one miracle must be proven again after the beatification and in lengthy procedures.
Which persons have been canonized „subito“?
Most recently, the Catholic Church met the demand for „Santo Subito“ with John Paul II. The latter was beatified back in 2011, just six years after his death by Benedict XVI. His canonization followed three years later, making him the fastest canonized pope in modern times.
Mother Teresa, a nun who died in 1997, was also beatified just six years later in 2003. Her beatification was one of the fastest in church history. In 2016, Mother Teresa of Calcutta was canonized.
John Paul I, who was pope for 33 days until his death in 1978, was beatified by Francis on Sept. 4, 2022. His canonization is currently underway. (As of January 2023)
Santo Subito for Benedict XVI.
German Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI died on Dec. 31, 2022, and calls for his canonization were made shortly after his death.
Other meaning of „Santo Subito“
„Santo Subito“ is a bicycle made by the bicycle manufacturer „BELLA CIAO“. (You can find out what „Bella ciao“ means here).
„Santo Subito“ is a 2019 Italian documentary film.