Faith and Justice: A martyr is someone killed because of hatred of the faith. The problem with this approach is a martyr depends on the motivation of the killer, not the victim.
Listing all of the open causes for sainthood in the U.S. is an almost impossible task. There are dozens in all four stages of canonization.
A seven-member team of medical experts convoked by the Vatican reported there is no natural explanation for the survival of a child delivered stillborn and whose heart did not start beating until 61 minutes after his birth.
Pope Francis recognized the martyrdom of 124 Catholics who were killed during widespread persecution in Korea in the 18th through 19th centuries.
He also approved a decree recognizing the martyrdom of Conventual Franciscan Fr. Francesco Zirano, an Italian priest killed in Algeria in 1603.
The pope's approval of the martyrdom decrees Friday opened the way for the martyrs' beatifications on a date yet to be announced. A miracle is required before any blessed may be canonized.
Three key figures in the establishment of the Catholic church in Canada and in Brazil are likely to be declared saints before the end of the year, said a Jesuit who is helping prepare the material needed for their canonizations.
The three speeding their way toward sainthood are: Blessed Jose Anchieta, known as the Apostle of Brazil; Blessed Marie de l'Incarnation, known as the Mother of the Canadian Church; and Blessed Francois de Laval, the first bishop of Quebec.