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Mother Teresa, seen March 30, 1966, the superior-general of the Roman Catholic Missionaries of Charity, runs the Home for the Dying Destitutes in Calcutta, India.  Since the home opened in 1952, some 18,000 ill persons have entered, with 8,500 dying.  The rest amazingly gained strength and walked out.  (AP Photo)

Remember how Mother Teresa was fast-tracked to be a saint? The Pope made that less likely.

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Mother Teresa became St. Teresa much more quickly than the Catholic Church usually allows. Pope Francis, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, just made it harder for the next potential saint.

Typically, candidates for sainthood need evidence of at least two miracles, according to Catholic.org. That's still the case. But the process for determining whether or not a miracle occurred has grown more restrictive. It now requires six experts to approve a miracle, and a two-thirds majority vote from the Vatican's Congregation for Saints.

Why make the change?

St. Teresa's canonization was widely criticized, since the two alleged miracles attributed to her were called into question. The hospital she ran for the destitute in India was criticized by some for doing more harm than good.  

Journalist Christopher Hitchens called her "fraudulent", and Ruchir Joshi told Quartz her canonization was a "massive PR exercise."

There's no definitive number of Christian saints. The process of declaring a saint was formally set down in the 10th century and has changed little since then.

The purpose of the regulation is for the good of the [saints'] causes, which can never be separated from the historical and scientific truth...
Archbishop Marcello Bartolucci

Also, it usually takes much longer for a saint to be named. St. Teresa died in 1997 and was put on the track to sainthood just six years later, the Los Angeles Times reports.  

Pope Francis.jpg
Pope Francis asperses incense as he celebrates a Jubilee Mass for catechists, at the Vatican, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

Pope Francis has earned a reputation for casting aside some church traditions and focusing more on serving the poor and promoting equality, making the decision to tighten the rules for sainthood appear somewhat surprising.


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