Martyr of charity
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In the Catholic Church, a martyr of charity is someone who dies as a result of a charitable act or of administering Christian charity. While a martyr of the faith, which is what is usually meant by the word "martyr" (both in canon law and in lay terms), dies through being persecuted for being a Catholic or for being a Christian, a martyr of charity dies through practicing charity motivated by Christianity. This is an unofficial form of martyrdom; when Pope Paul VI beatified Maximilian Kolbe he gave him that honorary title (in 1982, when Kolbe was canonized by Pope John Paul II that title was still not given official canonical recognition; instead, John Paul II overruled his advisory commission, which had said Kolbe was a Confessor, not a Martyr, ruling that the systematic hatred of the Nazis as a group toward the rest of humanity was in itself a form of hatred of the faith). Earlier martyrs of charity who were canonized were recognized as "Confessor of the Faith" (meaning someone who suffered in some recognized way- usually by some form of persecution, ostracization, exile, etc.- for the Catholic faith, but who did not have to be killed for it) rather than martyrs.
List of martyrs of charity
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- Lawrence of Rome, executed in the Diocletianic persecution after distributing church valuables among the poor instead of to the Emperor.
- Father Damien, contracted leprosy from his patients at Kalaupapa; canonized in 2009
- Maximilian Kolbe, volunteered for fatal collective punishment in Auschwitz; canonized in 1982
- Everard Mercurian, died ministering in an influenza epidemic in 1580.
- Edward Metcalfe, died ministering in an epidemic in Leeds in 1847.
- Benjamin Petit, died travelling as a missionary to the Potawatomi in 1839
- Bernardo Tolomei, died ministering in a plague epidemic in 1348; canonized in 2009
- Sára Salkaházi, executed for sheltering Jews from the Holocaust; beatified in 2006
- Aloysius Gonzaga, died while ministering to victims of a plague in Rome in 1591. Canonized in 1726.
- Ezechiele Ramin, died in 1985 while defending the rights of the farmers and the Paiter people of the Rondônia area (Brazil).
- Cassandra Martyrs of Charity, a group of religious nuns and priests who died in 1983 while saving victims in a shipwreck in the Philippines.
- Weigel, George (30 May 2008). "Navy SEAL, "Martyr of Charity?"". The Catholic Difference. Ethics and Public Policy Center. Retrieved 12 October 2009.
- Peterson, Anna Lisa (1997). Martyrdom and the politics of religion: progressive Catholicism in El Salvador's civil war. SUNY Press. p. 94. ISBN 0-7914-3181-9.
- González Nieves, Roberto O. (19 February 2000). "The Permanent Diaconate: its Identity, Functions, and Prospects". Vatican. Retrieved 12 October 2009.
- John Paul II (15 August 2001). "Angelus: Solemnity of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary". Vatican. Retrieved 12 October 2009.
- MacErlean, A. (1911). "Edward Metcalfe". The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved 11 October 2009.
- "Bernardo Tolomei (1272–1348)". Vatican. Retrieved 12 October 2009.