An architect of European unity moves ahead on sainthood path

VATICAN CITY (AP) — A French statesman whose efforts helped pave the way for what eventually became the European Union has moved ahead on the Catholic church’s path toward possible sainthood. The Vatican said Pope Francis on Saturday approved a decree declaring the “heroic virtues” of Roberto Schuman, who, as a French foreign minister in 1950, developed a plan to promote European economic in hopes of furthering peace. Schuman died in 1963 after serving as the first president of the forerunner of the European Parliament. The decree means Schuman can be called ”venerable” by Catholic faithful. It is one of several steps in a long church process that could result in sainthood.