VATICAN CITY- Pope Francis has included a 19th century English Catholic priest who was a far relative of Britain’s Prince William on the road to sainthood.
Main while the Vatican said on Saturday that the pope had signed a decree recognizing the “heroic virtues” of George Spencer, a priest of the Passionist religious order who stays from 1799 to 1864.
Spencer, who left the Anglican Church, took the name “Ignatius of St. Paul” after he became a Catholic priest.
Prince William and his brother Prince Harry are related to Spencer through their mother Diana Spencer, the late Princess of Wales, who died in 1997.
Spencer was Diana’s great-great-great-uncle, and also a great-uncle of Britain’s wartime leader Winston Churchill, as recorded by the website of the Roman Catholic diocese of Shrewsbury.
Stliusong gathered that he grew up on the Spencer ancestral estate in Althorp where Diana was buried. Main while after his coronation in Rome, he returned to England and ministered to poor Irish migrants in the West Midlands.
The religious order in Britain has been working on his sainthood cause for decades, searching for facts about his life and writings.
The pope’s approval of the decree means Spencer now has the title “venerable”.
His sainthood cause is still at the early stages. One miracle would have to be attributed to Spencer for him to be beatified and another for him to be made a saint.
The Roman Catholic Church teaches that only God performs miracles, but that saints who are believed to be with God in heaven intercede on behalf of people who pray to them. A miracle is usually the medically inexplicable healing of a person.