Joan of Arc - Maid of Heaven

Joan of Arc Appendix D


IN 1869 Mgr. Dupanloup, bishop of Orleans, delivered the annual sermon on Joan of Arc, and expressed the hope that she might be canonized. Immediately afterwards, twelve French bishops, who had been present at the sermon, addressed a letter to Pope Pius IX., praying that, after proper investigation, canonization might be granted. Bishop Dupanloup was thereupon requested to make preliminary inquiry in the usual form; but the Franco-German war intervened, and the inquiry was postponed until 1874-76, when the depositions of many witnesses were taken, principally regarding the reputation for holiness enjoyed by Joan in various parts of France for centuries. The result of this inquiry was forwarded to Rome, and was referred by the pope to Cardinal Bilio. Further explanation was asked of Bishop Dupanloup, but, before he could reply, he died, October 11, 1878. His successor, Bishop Coulliť, continued Bishop Dupanloup's efforts and made many visits to Rome. He also directed a second preliminary inquiry, in which the testimony taken at Joan's two trials and other historical evidence were formally authenticated. Pope Leo XIII. seems to have inter- ested himself somewhat more in the matter than did Pius IX., and the proper Roman tribunal proceeded with its usual deliberation to the further investigation of the case.

On January 27, 1894, the congregation of Sacred Rites, on the report of Cardinal Parocchi, voted to recommend that the commission for the introduction of the case, so called, should be signed, which was immediately done by the pope. This action is the first step toward canonization, and confers upon Joan the title of "Venerable."

The desire for Joan's canonization in France has become national, at least among devout Catholics; and, even among those ordinarily indifferent to the Catholic church, patriotism has largely taken the place of a religious motive, and has led some to make of Joan's canonization almost a national political question. This feeling, of course, will insure a reasonably speedy and a sympathetic consideration of the question by the Roman tribunal. What will be the final decision is quite another matter.


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