As Barcelona marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of visionary architect Antoni Gaudi, his many admirers are hoping that his consideration for beatification will come sooner rather than later. The Vatican authorised the commencement of the diocesan process that may lead to Gaudi's sanctification two years ago, a mere two and a half months after the Cardinal Archbishop of Barcelona Ricard M Carles formally requested that the Holy See open the case. Now the archibishopric has arranged the inauguration of the diocesan beatification process, and has set up a tribunal that will investigate the architect's reputation for holiness, a process that can take years. Representations have already been made by people old enough to remember the young man who died suddenly when he was hit by a tram in 1926. But not everyone in the city is convinced that sainthood would be good for the man recognised not only as a universal artist but also as a high octane individual of obsessive energy and quirky lifestyle. One worker at Gaudi's Sagrada Familia, which is still a work in progress almost a century after it began, felt it better that the architect belonged to the world of art rather than the world of religious beliefs. It could still take another 100 years to complete the Sagrada Familia as Gaudi intended, and perhaps his impatient admirers could be looking at a similar wait before they even know whether the architect's history fulfils all requirements of sainthood.
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