BEATIFICATION: An intermediate stage in
the process of canonization. It is in modern usage
itself the result of a lengthy course of inquiry into
the life of the person under consideration, and is
solemnly declared in St. Peter's at Rome. By
it the title of "Blessed" is attributed to the subject, and a limited and partial cultus of him permitted, as in a certain country or order. See CANONIZATION.
BEATIFIC VISION: The direct and unhindered
vision of God, which is part of the reserved blessedness of the redeemed (I Cor. xiii, 12; I John iii, 2; Rev. xxii, 3, 4). The conception of its nature
must necessarily be very vague, but belief in its
existence is said to be founded upon Scripture and
reason. The only question concerns its time.
This has been much disputed. The Greek Church
and many Protestants, especially Lutherans and
Calvinists, put the vision after the judgment day
(so Dr. Hodge, Systematic Theology, iii, 860). According to the view
prevalent among Roman Catholic theologians, the vision, though essentially complete before the resurrection, is not integrally so until the soul is reunited to the glorified body (consult H. Hurter,
Theologi dogmatic compendium, vol. iii, De Deo consummatore,
chap. v, 10th ed., Innsbruck, 1900).
BEATON, bî'ten (BETHUNE), be-thün' or
be-tün', DAVID: Cardinal-archbishop of St.
Andrews; b. 1494; assassinated at St. Andrews
May 29,1546. He was the third son of John Beacon
of Auchmuty, Fifeshire; studied at the universities
of St. Andrews and Glasgow, and at the age of
fifteen went to Paris and studied law; became abbot
of Arbroath in 1523; bishop of Mirepoix in Languedoc 1537; cardinal Dec., 1538. He was made
lord privy seal in 1528; succeeded his uncle, James
Beaton, as archbishop of St. Andrews in 1539;
was consecrated archbishop of Glasgow at Rome in
1552; became chancellor and prothonotary apostolic and legate
a latere in 1543. He served his country in many important diplomatic missions.
In the bitter political contests of the time between
the French and English parties he sided with the
former, and fought with energy and courage for
the independence of Scotland against the plans of
Henry VIII. In the religious contests between
Romanists and Reformers he took as decidedly the
part of the hierarchy and did not scruple to use
intrigue and force when argument and persuasion
failed. His memory has been darkened by his
severity against heretics and his immoral life.
The case of George Wishart
is adduced as a
particularly flagrant piece of religious persecution;
but it must be remembered that he lived in a rude
country in turbulent times, and the Reformers were
implicated in political intrigues and treasonable
plots. The execution of Wishart was the immediate cause of a conspiracy to put Beaton out of
the way, and certain members of the Reform
party murdered him in his bedchamber.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: R. Chambers, Lives of Illustrious Scotchmen,
ed. T. Thomson, 5 vols., Edinburgh, 1835; C. R. Rogers,
Life of George Wishart, ib. 1876; DNB, iv, 17-18; J. Herkless, Cardinal Beaton, Priest and
Politician, London, 1891.