(November 8, 2013) In November 2009, Archbishop Hans-Josef Becker opened the Procedure for the Beatification of Abbe Franz Stock, a priest from the archdiocese of Paderborn (1904-1948). During the last four years, in the course of the “diocesan informative process”, documents and statements have been compiled about the life, virtues, reputation and holiness of Franz Stock, a servant of God. Finalizing the first instance of the Procedure of Beatification, Archbishop Hans-Josef Becker submitted the documents to the Roman attorney Andrea Ambrosi who, as postulator of the procedure, will pass these documents on to the Congregation for Beatification and Sanctification in Rome. These documents, consisting of 16,180 pages, include the statements of some 200 witnesses, two-thirds of whom met Franz Stock in person. For these people, Franz Stock was “their” Abbe and “their” Seminary Director.
In addition, personal documents and homilies of Franz Stock, as well as reports about him (written within the Archdiocese of Paderborn) were sent to the Vatican. In total, some 300 pounds of paper were sent – which is equivalent, more or less, to 1 sheet of paper per day of Franz Stock’s entire lifespan.
The handover of these documents by Archbishop Hans-Josef Becker to Dr. Andrea Ambrosi was celebrated in Paderborn in the presence of members of the “Commission for the Execution of the Canonical Informative Process”, members of the Spiritual Council of the Archdiocese of Paderborn, board members of the Franz-Stock-Committee in Germany, as well as Jean Peynichou of the French Franz-Stock-Committee.
Franz-Stock followed his vocation tirelessly and fearlessly in the imitation of Jesus Christ. As a doctor of souls, he was a true pastoral caregiver, one who disregarded his own needs as he completely devoted himself to others, as Archbishop Hans-Josef Becker stated four years ago on the occasion of the opening of the Process of Beatification of Franz Stock. The priest from the Archdiocese of Paderborn was a pastor of war prisoners in occupied Paris during World War II. After the war he became the Seminary Director of the so-called “Barbed Wire Seminary” in Chartres. As a courageous and brave witness of the Gospel, he became a shining symbol of hope and consolation for hundreds of death-sentence prisoners and their relatives in their darkest hours. During the past decades, believers and France and Germany have asked on numerous occasions for the beatification of Abbe Franz Stock.
The Archbishop's seal was affixed to the box containing the results of the Diocesan Informative Process.
More than 16,000 pages of documentation, all in accordance with the scientific criteria, will allow a judgment from the so-called “Roman Procedure”. A presentation of Franz Stock’s life, with all relevant evidences, will be established. Thereafter, a commission of theologians from the Congregation will decide on the continuation of the procedure. Should they reach a positive decision, the case will be discussed further within the Cardinal’s Assembly of the Congregation, followed by a possible decree to recommend the beatification to the Holy Father. Should the Holy Father also decide in favor, he will then sign a decree ordering the beatification.
Such a procedure may take quite a long time – the procedure for Mother Maria Theresia Bonzel OSF (who was beatified November 10, 2013 in the High Dome of Paderborn) took almost 50 years. Regarding this process, it is becomes evident how relatively speedy the Informative Process for the Beatification of Abbe Franz Stock was handled. Dr. Andrea Ambrosi praised the work of the commission for all they had achieved in the past four years. He was very optimistic that the Congregation For the Beatification would recognize this procedure and bring it smoothly to it’s conclusion.
Archbishop Hans-Becker thanked the commission for this important achievement, the result of which has been handed over to the Roman instances, in expectation of a positive outcome.