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, Theologiœ dogmaticœ 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.


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