II. History of the On-Going Cause of Beatification

Ordinary Diocesan Process of Valladolid

In the first half of this century with the progress of historical research many authorized voices were heard in congresses, reviews and newspapers demanding a process of holiness for our Servant of God. The Archbishop of Valladolid, Most Rev. Jose Garcia Goldaraz, commended the task to the Canon in charge of archives of the diocese and professor of history, Don Vicente Rodriguez Vancia, to organize the previous investigation necessary to every formal process because, in reality, there were some obscure points in the life of the Queen. For this purpose a commission of three best possible periti in the matter were named. These, helped with the collaboration of another 14 investigators, archivists, etc., studied more than 100,000 documents in the more important archives of Spain, the Vatican, etc.. They selected and analyzed critically about 3,500 compiling 27 volumes of the Cause. Fourteen of them have been printed.

Fundamentally, in this documentation the members of the historical commission presented an ample report ("Relacion") of 252 pages to the Archbishop of Valladolid concluding that a canonical process could be undertaken with a sense of security since there was not found one single act, public or private, of Queen Isabel that was not inspired by Christian and evangelical criteria; moreover there was a "reputation of sanctity" uninterrupted for five centuries and as the investigation was progressing, it was more accentuated. This work lasted twelve years from 1958 to 1970. With this commission the Archbishop was able to form the correspondent regular Tribunal which during one year, 1971-1972, celebrated 80 sessions in which 39 witnesses were heard and examined together with another nine in the "procesos rogatoriales" of Philadelphia (USA), Mexico, Peru, Equador, Argentina (Buenos Aires, La Plata, Salta) and the Philippine Islands. The acts of the diocesan tribunal form two thick volumes of 750 and 284 legal-size pages respectively.

Apostolic Process in Rome (1972-1990)

These are its phases:

  1. Submission of the Process of Valladolid with the documentation collected in the above-mentioned 27 volumes and the opening of the same in the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints (Nov. 18, 1972).

  2. Approval of the diocesan process.

  3. Process "super scriptis" (upon the writings) of the Servant of God, approved by decree of the Sacred Congregation (Mar. 30, 1974).

  4. Composition of the "Positio historica super vita, virtutibus et fama sanctitatis" (Historical Position upon the life, virtues and fame of sanctity), commended by the said Congregation for the Causes of the Saints to D. Vicente Rodriguez Valencia, soul of all this enterprise. He could not finish it because he died in May of 1982 leaving much material to complete and organize properly. The Postulator of the Cause, Fr. Anastasio Gutierrez took charge of it with the help of Fr. Jose Maria Gil, who together finished the work in 1986 under the direction of the "Relator ad casum," Monsignor Justo Fernandez Alonso, Rector of the Church of Montserrat for the Spaniards in Rome. The printing of the "Positio" was finished in Valladolid, April 22, 1990. It is composed of:

    1. A "Presentation" of the Relator (pp. IX-X), an "Information" of the Postulator (pp. XI-CXXXIX) and of the Decree of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints upon the validity of the Processes, signed in Rome March 23, 1990 (p. CXL). To all these follows the critical elaboration with scientific rigor of the "Life of the Servant of God" in 24 chapters (pp. 1-876). Chapter 25 contemplates "Fame of Sanctity" of the Queen, supported by 150 qualified witnesses: university professors, biographers of history, politicians, Churchmen, etc. from XV-XX Century (pp.877-978). Finally, the "Positio" is enriched with four indexes: bibliographical (pp. 981-1005) which puts together the names of 472 authors quoted in the text; the analytical (pp. 1007-1036) with the principal themes developed in the work; the index of names (pp. 1037-1-65) with more than 2490 names which related in some way to Isabel; and an index of places (pp. 1057-1-66), with the name of all the geographical places directly related with the Catholic Queen. Furthermore, followed 21 illustrative pictures and the work is closed with the general index (pp. 1067-1074).

  5. The study of the "Historical Positio" is done officially in three successive stages: Historical Commission, Theological Commission, Congregation of Prelates and Cardinals.

    1. Historical Commission: Under the direction of the Relator General of the Congregation, 6 consultors have given their opinion upon the historical aspects of the "Positio". They have discussed and approved them in the meeting of November 6, 1990, and considered the "Positio" as an authentic, complete and good foundation to judge the virtues and fame of sanctity. The printed proceedings of this Commission will pass to the Theological Commission.

    1. Theological Commission: This Commission is to judge the merits of the Cause. If its judgment is favorable it will pass to the following Commission.

    1. Congregation of Prelates and Cardinals which will give its own opinion to the Pope to whom is reserved the decision upon the degree of heroic Virtues and the official declaration of Venerable.

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