A step toward sainthood for John Paul II?

Pope John Paul II at World Youth Day in Denver in 1993. (CNS photo/Joe Rimkus Jr.)

VATICAN CITY — For more than a week, Vatican sources have been predicting that on Saturday Pope Benedict would sign the decree declaring that Pope John Paul II heroically lived the Christian virtues — a major step toward eventual beatification of the late pope.

The decree declaring Pope John Paul “venerable” would confirm a recommendation made by the Congregation for Saints’ Causes after years of study. We reported in November on the congregation’s action here.

It’s premature, but already Vatican officials — and the Roman patrons of my local coffee bar — are talking about a likely beatification ceremony in October of 2010, perhaps on the Oct. 16 anniversary of the late pope’s election in 1978.

Before beatification occurs, however, the Vatican must approve a miracle attributed to Pope John Paul’s intercession.  Church experts are already studying a possible miracle, the cure of a French nun from Parkinson’s disease, the same disease from which Pope John Paul suffered.

In 2005, Pope Benedict set Pope John Paul on the fast track to beatification by waiving the normal five-year waiting period for the introduction of his sainthood cause. That seemed to respond to the “Santo subito!” (“Sainthood now!”) banners that were held aloft at Pope John Paul’s funeral. In April, the church will mark the fifth anniversary of Pope John Paul’s death.

The initial diocesan phase of his sainthood cause was completed in April 2007. In November of 2008, a team of theological consultors to the Congregation for Saints’ Causes began studying the 2,000-page “positio,” the document that made the case for beatification. After their favorable judgment, the cardinal and bishop members of the sainthood congregation met last month and gave their go-ahead for the decree of heroic virtues.

The presumed miracle, meanwhile, is being studied in a five-step process that involves medical experts, a medical board, theological consultors, the members of the congregation and, finally, Pope Benedict.

There’s some speculation that Pope Benedict might be ready to approve the miracle along with the heroic virtues. That happens rarely, but it does happen: in December of 2002, Pope John Paul II signed decrees on the same day affirming the heroic virtues of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta and a miraculous cure attributed to her intercession. She was beatified the following October.

Pope Benedict on Saturday is also expected to  formally recognize the miracle needed for the canonization of Blessed Mary MacKillop, the Australian founder of a religious order dedicated to educating the children of the poor.

5 Responses

  1. I love pope johnpaulI he is my man. Saint pope JohnpaulI pray for me, it is a welcome development if johnpaulI is beatified

  2. JohnPaul2 did not OBEY Mary Immaculate, Queen of Heaven and earth. He did not consecrate RUSSIA to Her Immaculate Heart. Millions and millions of people have died in war since Mary appeared at Fatima and told us how to avoid war and suffering. HE CHOSE TO IGNORE HER. What She asked for and what he did cannot change. The popes disobey and the world suffers. Sorry, thats not a saint.

  3. Ven karol wojtyla is a holy man. His beatification is to official declare his veneration but since his death millions of people acknowledge him as a saint. Please i want him to be declared Johnpaul the great on his beatification day for he made the whole world to be catholic,united the world & brought million protestants and other denomination to Rome at his death.

  4. “JP2 – Millions of people have acknowledged hin as a saint” says Irika Jude. JP2 is part of the problem why the Church is is such a mess these days, he is repsonsible for the Church being reduced to the ridicule it now has to take. I firmly beleive this “beatification” is a justification of Vatican II. I personally cannot be convinced that he is in Heaven or purgatory for that matter. The Church leaders of the last 40 years have a lot to answer for, so this talk of sainthood is utter nonsense.

  5. Just because someone “likes” JohnPaul2 does not make him a saint. All the Popes since Mary appeared at Fatima in 1917 have disobeyed Mother Mary, Queen of Heaven and earth, and caused the world much suffering. The one thing saints have in common is the courage to obey divine inspiration. I hope the meeting in Rome that is being held this month will bring about the Consecration of Russia that must be done to bring peace to the world.

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