Monday, February 26, 2007

John Paul II miracles bring him closer to sainthood

This story was reported by the Sunday Times from the UK:

John Paul miracles hasten sainthood
Christopher Morgan
THE VATICAN is close to making the late pope John Paul II a saint after investigating three "miracles" attributed to him.

John Paul had already been credited with curing a nun of Parkinson's disease and now it has emerged he has been credited with two other cures, proof of which will confer on him beatification and then canonisation.
This weekend the cardinal in charge of the process said he expected the checks performed by the local dioceses on all three miracles to be complete by April. A formal announcement is expected on April 2, the second anniversary of John Paul's death, and senior Vatican sources expect him to be declared a saint within 18 months.

Pope Benedict XVI has put his predecessor on a fast-track to canonisation, waiving a rule under which the Vatican normally waits five years after the candidate's death before launching the process. A similar waiver led to the rapid elevation of Mother Teresa in 2003.

However, Benedict made it clear in a document released last year that he will not emulate John Paul, who was said to run a "saint factory" after announcing 120 new names in one day. His foreign journeys were often marked by canonisations or beatifications of people from the countries he visited. Altogether, he created 482 saints, more than the total in the previous 500 years.

The French nun, who is not named, was suffering from the advanced stages of Parkinson's disease when members of her convent prayed to the spirit of John Paul to ask God for her recovery in May 2005. The late pope himself suffered from Parkinson's.

Several hours after the prayers began, the nun said that she could write without difficulty and within two weeks she rose from her bed, reporting "no more pain, no rigidity".

Candidates being considered for sainthood must not only have led a virtuous life but also to have been responsible for a medically inexplicable cure after their death by responding to prayers from the afterlife.

Cardinal JosŽ Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, said in an interview to be broadcast tomorrow by Rome Reports, a television news agency, that the diocesan phase of assessing the cure was almost complete. "Cardinal Ruini, in charge of causes for the diocese of Rome, believes that this phase will be complete by April," said Martins.
Monsignor Slawomir Oder, who is leading the process for the beatification, told The Sunday Times last week that he was examining three miracles altogether. There is a second elsewhere in Europe and a third in South America. However, he said he could not be drawn on whether they had been authenticated.

John Paul is likely to be declared "venerable" in the coming months, and, pending a satisfactory outcome of the investigation, Benedict is likely to beatify John Paul in the autumn.

The summer of 2008 is believed to be the most likely time for Benedict to canonise John Paul in an open air mass in St Peter's Square. At his funeral in the square huge crowds roared: "Santo subito [sainthood now]!"

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