'Saint Factory' Slows Down Production

New Vatican rules will make getting a halo a little harder
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 19, 2008 11:57 AM CST
Pope Benedict XVI listens to Portuguese Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins during a solemn ceremony in which the pontiff named four new saints from France, Malta, the Netherlands and Poland in St. Peter's...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The Vatican is moving to slow traffic on the road to sainthood, the BBC reports. Critics accused the Vatican of becoming a "saint factory" under the late Pope John Paul II, who created more saints than all his predecessors combined. The new, more rigorous guidelines under Benedict XVI require candidates to have "a true reputation for holiness."

A document made public yesterday asks bishops to use ''greater sobriety and rigour'' in handling requests. An official concedes that some past candidates for sainthood weren't investigated properly, and applications from countries that lacked a saint or were about to be visited by the pope were occasionally fast-tracked. But even Benedict has put a few a candidates in the passing lane—including his predecessor.