Perhaps the royal wedding inspired this piece on saints among the 1%. I don’t begrudge the aristocracy their occasional saint.
I observe that saints can be one of two things: mentor or celebrity. The greatest saints are something of both. John Paul II might be a mentor to clergy, but to most Catholics, he was a celebrity–in the best sense of that term. Mary of Nazareth, certainly both. Women and even men have followed her as a Biblical celebrity, but also on a personal level.
Aleteia gives four examples of royal couples. I’d say we need at least 396 ordinary married couples who have lived saintly lives under various conditions: as refugees, adoptive parents, founders (not necessarily religious orders), community builders, activists, artists, etc.. You know: ordinary people who can be models of accessible behavior. And saintly royalty can inspire the aristocracy of the new world.
Well, plebian couples who are not martyred will lack for an organization and resources to help sustain the necessary cultus. (And that’s putting to one side the long, baleful legacy and residue of Augustinian thought that married couples necessarily engaged in a some level of sin (at best venial) – rather than sustaining heroic virtue – in coitus.)
While the institutionalization of the beatification and canonization process leads to that result, the lack of an institutionalized process would also come with its own problems (think of how many more saints/beati we’d have about whom we might now be mortified or at least embarrassed*).
* Which makes me think of a tangential flip-side. The pastor of my parish of choice – which has become a very gilt-edged parish as luxury apartment towers rise nearby recently – has a habit of getting the children together at the beginning of the homily to preach to them, often hearkening in a variety of ways on how God’s love is like their parents’ love for them. And I cannot but help to wonder if there are any children there for whom that is an ambivalent or, worse, terrifying message; while it’s not something I dwell on, I am very aware there are children for whom that kind of message leaves the child wondering what kind of monstrous world he/she was born into. We make assumptions…that can be well-meaning, but not necessarily with the best effect.
On your first paragraph, yes. Perhaps it could be a priority of bishops. At the very least, perhaps someone might assert that the relative lack of lay saints contributes to people looking instead to deceased loved ones (“angels” or revered elders) or to pop music, film & tv, sports, or politics for role models. Reasonably logical choices and policies (like the cost of promoting saints-to-be) have natural consequences that may not support the Gospel message.
I do not disagree (btw, to be clear, my first paragraph was NOT an *endorsement* of the current situation, but a gloss on why inertia has maintained it). And of course, as we see, popular role models (particularly those who’ve had power to create a cone of silence around their less saintly history) can be shunned rather suddenly.