Pope Francis has decreed a new path to sainthood:
The Letter creates a new category – a facti species in technical language – called, oblatio vitae, and distinguishes it from the facti species of martyrdom, by five (5) criteria:
a) The free and voluntary offering of one’s life, and heroic acceptance propter caritatem of a certain and soon-to-come death;
b) A nexus – i.e. close relation – between the offering of one’s life and the premature death of the one who offers it;
c) The exercise, at least in ordinary degree, of the Christian virtues before the subject’s offering of his or her life and, afterward, perseverance in those virtues unto death;
d) The existence of fama sanctitatis – i.e. the reputation for holiness – on the part of the subject, and of signs [in confirmation thereof], at least after death;
e) The necessity, for beatification, of a miracle, one that occurred after the death of the Servant of God, and by said Servant’s intercession.
The oblatio vitae of the Servant of God, in order that it be valid and efficacious for beatification, must respond to all of the aforementioned criteria.
Go here to read the rest. This strikes PopeWatch as the religious equivalent of Medals of Honor awarded to men who sacrifice their own lives to save others by hurling themselves on grenades. With the caveats noted by the Pope, this does not seem to be a distortion of the criteria that should be used in judging sainthood. We will see how this works out in practice.