Still officially waiting for a John Paul miracle

VATICAN CITY — Regarding the beatification of Pope John Paul II, one thing is certain: no date will be set until the pope formally approves a miracle attributed to his intercession.

Many people were expecting Pope Benedict XVI to approve a miracle in December when he issued the decree recognizing that Pope John Paul had heroically lived the Christian virtues. And there was widespread expectation that the beatification would take place Oct. 17, the Sunday after the anniversary of Pope John Paul’s election in 1979.

When the miracle wasn’t recognized and the Oct. 17 date was set aside for a canonization ceremony for six saints instead, stories started circulating about Pope John Paul’s cause being derailed.

Sister Marie-Simon-Pierre (CNS/Reuters)

The story that has received the most attention so far was a Polish newspaper report Wednesday saying Pope John Paul’s beatification would be delayed, potentially for years, because a Vatican-appointed board of physicians cast doubt on the proposed miracle they were asked to study. The case involved the healing of a French nun who believed she had been healed of Parkinson’s disease, the same disease that afflicted Pope John Paul. The paper said the doctors were not convinced that the nun, Sister Marie-Simon-Pierre, had had Parkinson’s, but that she may have been cured medically of another nervous system disorder.

But a Vatican official told ANSA, the Italian news agency, that the Polish newspaper report was “absolutely without foundation” and that the physicians’ board was not expected to meet until April.

At the same time, the Vatican is not saying that approval of the miracle is automatic. Far from it. It is one thing for symptoms to disappear and another to be cured.

The church also insists that the cure be unexpected and instantaneous, as well as complete and lasting. If Sister Marie-Simon-Pierre is still symptom-free, the physicians will have to determine whether the five years that have passed since she experienced healing are enough to certify the cure as lasting.

Then a panel of theologians must certify that the healing was related to prayers for Pope John Paul’s intercession. Then members of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes must vote to recommend that Pope Benedict recognize the miracle. In other words, it may be a while longer.

8 Responses

  1. Seems to me as if Pope Benedict seems very relcutant about beatifying JPII. Then we have the likes of Cardinal Sodano and Cardinal Sandri, two of JP II’s closest collaborators, who weren’t willing to testify. I get the feeling there are plenty in the Vatican who will do everything to ensure that JPII does not get raised to the altars of the saints.

  2. Bring on the miracles!

  3. Bring them miracles on!

  4. William, don’t you think it’s more likely that they want his beatification to be above reproach? Have you forgotten the days when deciding sainthood took centuries? Our John Paul the Great may have fast-tracked many during his pontificate but that doesn’t set a precedence that Benedict is required to follow.

  5. What is the status of the canonization of Blessed Luigi Guanella, born 9 December 1842 and died 24 October 1915? I understood he would be named a saint in 2010. Is there a chance he could be added to the list and named a saint on October 17, 2010, with the six names that were announced?

  6. I loved this Pope and it is how I imagine God to look. I also shared the same birthday date and felt a true sense of loss at his death. I ask him favours and am still asking him, I guess he is busy.

  7. Truly Pope John Paul11 is a Saint. I had a surprise blessing from him when I was in Rome in June 1989, the group tour to Medjugorje visited him; as he approached the front line where our group was, as he passed by I looked at him and said. May the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary,love you.! Be with you. He stopped, stepped back, and looked at me, and gave me, Loretta God’s blessing!” In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit; Truly this man is Alive in Christ Jesus. That experience of the Holy Spirit strengthened me as I journeyed on, and am presently getting ready to run the race set before me. Yes I seek Pope John Paul’s intercession, especially in these times! to be ready when He Jesus comes again. God healed me in December 1996; I had been in hospitable for 8weeks and was discharged on Christmas day. Glory! “No cancer” said the doctor. Amen! thanks for the opportunity to share this. Loretta

  8. Does Pope Benedict have a date set for naming the saints for 2011? Is the canonization ceremony always in October? I am praying that my 5th cousin, Blessed Luigi Guanella will be canonized as a saint in 2011, in honor of devoting his life to caring for and educating children. If he is named a saint, we want to attend the canonization ceremony. How would we find out the schedule and details for that day?

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