The Pope put on Saturday 20th century statesman Robert Schuman on the path to sainthood in the Roman Catholic Church.
A statement issued by the Vatican announced that Pope Francis approved a decree recognizing the “heroic virtues” of Schuman, one of the founders of modern Europe, who died in 1963. The recognition is one of the earliest stages of the long process that can lead to canonization.
Schuman served as French premier and foreign minister in the immediate post-World War II period. He also played a role in the founding of NATO and his work was instrumental in the founding of today’s European institutions, such as the European Union.
Along with Germany’s Konrad Adenauer, Italy’s Alcide de Gasperi and France’s Jean Monnet, he is considered to be one of the “Fathers of Europe” for promoting democratic, supranational principles to thwart the possibility of another war on the continent.
Schuman’s role in trying to break the cycle of wars in Europe has been lauded by many popes.
Pope Francis’ approval of the decree means Schuman now has the title “venerable”.
One miracle would have to be attributed to Schuman for him to be beatified and then another for him to be made a saint.