Pope Francis Clears Sainthood For Italian Teenager. How Someone Becomes A Saint

By granting sainthood, the Roman Catholic Church recognises that the saint is in heaven.

Image of 15 year old Carlo Acutis in beatification ceremony in 2020 | Photo: AP

Pope Francis has attributed a second miracle to Carlo Acutis, an Italian teenager who used his computer skills to spread the Catholic faith before his death from leukaemia in 2006 aged 15.

The attribution of a second miracle clears the way for Acutis to become the first saint of the millennial generation. He was beatified in 2020 after one miracle was attributed to him. By granting sainthood, the Roman Catholic Church recognises that the saint is in heaven.

Acutis, born in London and raised in Milan, was known for his work on his parish website and a Vatican-based academy. He was informally known as "God's influencer".

The Vatican's saint-making department, led by Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, made the decision on Thursday. The Roman Catholic Church teaches that only God performs miracles, but that saints who are believed to be with God in heaven intercede on behalf of people who pray to them.

Some individuals have to wait a long time before they reach Catholic sainthood. Saint Bede, the theologian, died in 735 but had to wait 1,164 years before he was declared a saint.

How Does Someone Become A Saint?

The process to make someone a saint normally starts at least five years after their death. However the pope can make exceptions to this rule, as in the case of Mother Teresa, who became a candidate only two years after her death.

Then the bishop of the diocese where the person died can open an investigation into their life to see if they lived with sufficient holiness and virtue to be considered for sainthood.

If the evidence is sufficient, the case is passed to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, which scrutinises the evidence and passes it to the Pope. If the Pope decides the person lived a life of "heroic virtue", they can be called "venerable".

To reach beatification, a miracle needs to be attributed to prayers made to the individual after their death. Canonisation, the final step in declaring a deceased person a saint, normally requires a second verified miracle.