The Venerable is used as a style or epithet in several Christian churches.
In the Roman Catholic Church's Latin rite, The Venerable is the style used for a person who has been posthumously declared "heroic in virtue" during the investigation and process leading to possible canonization as a saint. Before a person is considered to be venerable he or she must be declared as such by a proclamation, approved by the pope, of having lived a life that was "heroic in virtue" -- the virtues being the Theological Virtues of faith, hope and charity and the Cardinal Virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance. The next step is beatification, at which point the person is referred to as The Blessed, and then finally canonization, at which point the person is referred to as Saint. Two modern and well-known examples of those who have been declared venerable are Popes John Paul II and Pius XII, who were both declared venerable by Pope Benedict XVI in December 2009 and who are likely to be beatified soon.
The 7th century English monk St. Bede was referred to as being venerable soon after his death and, by tradition, is therefore often referred to as "The Venerable Bede" despite his also having been canonized. St Bede was the first person to be recorded as The Venerable.
|Stages of Canonization in the Roman Catholic Church|
|Servant of God → Venerable → Blessed → Saint|
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