Pope John Paul II has proclaimed an unprecedented number of new saints and blesseds in the 25 years of his pontificate and shows few signs of slowing the process, despite the criticism from at least one cardinal that the altars are getting 'a little crowded'. The proclamations have been made in a large number of countries, from which the new saints and blesseds have come. This reflects a deliberate policy of strengthening the faith of local churches against the threats from totalitarianism, secularism, Pentecostalism, etc. (the Vatican tends to see most of the 'outside' world as a threat). There has also been a deliberate policy to seek more examples of holiness from outside the ranks of clergy and religious. The twentieth century has been seen as the century of martyrs, largely those of Nazism and Communism, and they feature prominently - those of nominally Catholic military regimes are less favoured. The Introduction will make such points. This volume proposes to cover a four-year period in the Butler's style.
Blesseds appearing in the 1995-2000 volumes who have since been canonized will have their entries updated and expanded as necessary; new blesseds will be featured with the information that is available - which in the case of some Third-World figures is not very much. Entries will therefore range from around 3,000 words to 200, with an average of some 800. The number of entries will be approximately 80.