Obituary | Father Paolo Molinari, SJ

Paul Haring | Catholic News Service

ROME -- Italian Jesuit Father Paolo Molinari, official promoter of sainthood causes great and small, died at the age of 90 on May 2 at the Jesuit headquarters in Rome.

From 1957 to 2010, the Turin-born priest was the official postulator of Jesuit sainthood causes and of many others. He conducted research and prepared all the paperwork for the canonizations of the Martyrs of England and Wales, St. Kateri Tekakwitha and St. Philippine Duchesne, for example.

Jesuit Father Giuseppe Bellucci, spokesman for the order, said that by the Jesuits' calculations, Father Molinari brought 39 causes to beatification or canonization. Those causes often included large groups of martyrs, so the 39 causes involved more than 150 individuals now honored as blessed or saints.

For years, Father Molinari served simultaneously as president of the Vatican's College of Postulators, professor of theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, patient explainer of the canonization process to journalists and adviser to the popes on procedures and causes to promote.

In an interview with Catholic News Service in 1999, he described the saints as "ordinary people living in a way that ordinary people don't; doing good beyond what good people do."

He loved Blessed Francisco and Jacinta Marto, the two youngest of the three children who saw Mary at Fatima in 1917. He prepared their causes for beatification so that "all the children of the world can look to them for inspiration."

Forced to retire when he turned 80, Father Molinari said, "thank God, they let me keep Kateri," the Native American whose cause he began working on in 1957 and who was canonized in 2012.

"Kateri lived 300 years ago and yet she is widely remembered with love and admiration to the point that people believe she is certainly with God because of the way in which, as an Indian woman, she opened herself to the grace of God, became a Christian and lived as a Christian," he said a few months before her canonization.

He believed that the devotion of the faithful to a holy man or woman was the most important indication that the person was a saint. "If the simple people are drawn to someone, this is a sign of God for us," he said, adding saints "are attractive because God is working in them and telling us something through them."

Born Jan. 17, 1924, he entered the Jesuits in 1942 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1953.

-- Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

No votes yet