I agree with Eamonn Keane (Letters, December-January) that the late Bob Santamaria is a worthy candidate for beatification.
What is required is that individuals and organisations, who are convinced he displayed the heroic virtues and sanctity worthy of beatification, should according to the Apostolic Constitution Divinus Perfectionis Magister send a submission to the Archbishop of Melbourne and request him to appoint a postulator of his cause.
Submissions should contain well documented material such as the address made by Archbishop Romolo Carboni, the Apostolic Nuncio to Australia, New Zealand and Oceania, on 14 April 1959 in Albury, NSW. (All the following emphases are mine).
The Archbishop said: "In your Secretary, Mr Santamaria, you have been blessed with a genuine Christian man of unbelievable apostolic exuberance and outstanding intellectual brilliance, a genius for organisation and a leader able to elicit the fullness of dedication and loyalty from his followers, even though he has been unable to promise that they would receive any repayment than that which the men of the first century repaid the Divine Master and his apostles: misunderstanding, opposition, contempt, even death.
"Looking at things the way the world does, one might have prophesied for Mr Santamaria in his student days a most resplendent future. His university record would have ensured for him a monetary remuneration and mundane success far beyond the hopes of his fellows. It could have offered him acclaim, possessions, temporal prestige. Yet when an invitation of his Archbishop to dedicate himself and his remarkable talents totally to the lay apostolate, to the [activating] of the Catholic laity, was received, this truly great Christian man responded immediately. He knew that his choice would mean forgoing legitable riches, of worldly praise, even of understanding and friendship from many of his fellow Catholics, yet he unhesitatingly accepted.
"You know his achievements: a united Christian family of eight magnificent children, joyfully imbued with the spirit of Christ, an unsurpassed record of loyalty to his Archbishop who, expectably in his turn, nominated Mr Santamaria as his own special representative to the second World Congress of the Lay Apostolate, a long list of published writings, reaching from the magazine article to the full length book, each manifesting an almost unique grasp of the import and moment of contemporary issues.
"He has impressed me as a genuinely Christian and apostolic man. I am sure that even those, who at times disagree with his views, could not doubt his competence and sincerity, his readiness to discuss his own attitudes with others in complete understanding and charity.
"In his Christian dedication and generosity, I would propose him as a model for every Christian man, woman, boy and girl."
That Bob Santamaria endeavoured to constrain publication of the statement reflects the virtue of humility.
BRIAN A. PEACHEY