Pope Francis has opened the process for the beatification of Robert Schuman, considered one of the founding fathers of the European Union (EU), by authorizing the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to promulgate the decree that recognizes his “heroic virtues,” reported today The Vatican.

Pope Francis received this Saturday Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, and in the audience, he authorized the same to promulgate the decree on “the heroic virtues of the Servant of God Robert Schuman, faithful layman.”

Born on June 29, 1886 in Clausen (Luxembourg) and died in Scy-Chazelles (France) on September 4, 1963, Schuman is considered one of the founding fathers of the EU in 1950.

Europe Day is celebrated every May 9 in memory of the so-called Schuman Declaration, in which the French Foreign Minister took the first step towards the creation of a European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), the germ of the current EU, after the devastation left by World War II.

The path to holiness has several stages: the first is to be declared venerable servant of God, the second blessed and the third saint.

Venerable Servant of God is the title given to a dead person who is recognized as “having lived the virtues in a heroic way.”

For a venerable person to be beatified it is necessary that a miracle has occurred due to his intercession and for him to be canonized, made a saint, a second miracle performed “by intercession” is required after being proclaimed blessed.

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