From Mr Malcolm Pullan SIR – When the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales were canonised in 1970 they were ostensibly chosen as representatives of the hundreds of Catholic martyrs who similarly suffered. I rejoiced at their canonisation but I believe that a grave injustice is being perpetrated upon the 240-plus beatified martyrs of England and Wales, especially those who were actually the companions in martyrdom of some of the Forty Martyrs.
In what way was the quality of their martyrdom, the extent of their sufferings, and the glory of their witness to the Catholic Faith in any degree less than their canonised companions? The answer surely is that there is no difference. Therefore I would contend that they are equally worthy of canonisation and the demands of justice require that they ought to be canonised.
Pope John Paul II beatified the final group of 85 of our martyrs in 1987. He also canonised collectively great numbers of martyrs, among them the martyrs of Korea, Japan, Vietnam, China, Spain and Mexico. This happened because the hierarchies of these countries instituted procedures and requested the Holy See to canonise their martyrs.
I have been in communication with the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in Rome which informs me that all that is required for the canonisation of our beatified martyrs is one miracle attested to have been granted by God through their intercession. So why is the hierarchy of England and Wales being so dilatory in the matter? I call on the bishops to institute a campaign of prayer to the Blessed Martyrs for the necessary miracle to be granted. I have no doubt it will be forthcoming, paving the way for their canonisation and then we shall have repaid the debt of honour we owe to our martyrs.
Yours faithfully, MALCOLM PULLAN Luton, Beds