The Pope has responded to demands from environmentalists to stop what they call the “runaway canonisation spree” that has characterised Vatican policy in recent years. He has promised to limit production to one saint per year by 2021.
A Vatican spokesman acknowledged that the Church needed to show more awareness of of the world's disappearing relic deposits, with the new saints increasing the demand for a dwindling supply of old bones and locks of hair.
Campaigners for sustainable sainthood have been pointing out for years that the products of this practice are non-biodegradable. “We've still got the saints the Church made 1000 years ago”, says Adam Ferguson of Friends of the Earth, “with a spin-off statue and medal industry depleting the world's gypsum and metal resources”. He also called on dead holy people to cut down on miracles, which he says are fuelling the canonisation frenzy.