Saints in the pipeline?

L’Osservatore Romano has turned into a real newspaper, and that means its delivery every afternoon is no longer a nonevent. One huge change is that the paper is actually interviewing Vatican officials.

Portuguese Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, head of the Congregation for Saints' Causes, is shown at at a Rome press conference in 2006. (CNS/Nancy Wiechec)The latest was Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins (left), who leaked word Tuesday of an upcoming document that will set stricter rules for dioceses in opening sainthood causes.

We love it when Vatican media come up with Vatican scoops.

Cardinal Saraiva Martins also offered some hints about potential beatifications and canonizations in coming months.

For those wondering about the status of Pope John Paul II’s cause, the cardinal said all the documentation was in the hands of his Congregation for Saints’ Causes after the Diocese of Rome concluded its work last April.

At the moment, he said, the congregation is pulling together the “positio,” the report that systematically presents the most relevant testimony about the “heroic virtues” of the late pope. When it’s printed, it will be examined by various levels of the congregation, the cardinal said.

He offered no target date or timeline.

Cardinal Saraiva Martins also mentioned the sainthood cause of Cardinal John Henry Newman, the 19th-century English philosopher, theologian and spiritual writer.

In 2006, the Vatican began studying evidence of an alleged miraculous cure in the Archdiocese of Boston attributed to Cardinal Newman’s intercession. That raised expectations, but to date there’s been no news.

Cardinal Saraiva Martins didn’t make any promises, but he said: “Personally, I hope this beatification can occur within a short time because it would be very important at this moment for the path of ecumenism.”

Cardinal Saraiva Martins also indicated that the Vatican was close to finishing the beatification process for Louis Martin and Azelie Guerin Martin, the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux, “The Little Flower.” They are among the very few Catholic married couples being considered for sainthood.

UPDATE: Contrary to some other stories floating around on the Internet, Cardinal Saraiva Martins never said the beatification of Cardinal Newman was “imminent.”

PHOTO: Portuguese Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, head of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, is shown at at a Rome press conference in 2006. (CNS/Nancy Wiechec)

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