Sainthood beckons Pope John

2005-12-01 15:00
Rome - A French miracle may take the late Pope John Paul II to beatification, a step towards sainthood, his former secretary archbishop of the Polish city of Krakow Stanislaw Dziwisz said, the Italian news agency Ansa reported.

Accounts by witnesses of miracles attributed to the former pontiff, after his death on April 2, have been flooding in from many countries to the commission examining these events for the process of beatification, Dziwisz said on Tuesday.

According to Dziwisz "France was chosen, perhaps because it is a country from which we didn't expect" a miracle, although it has yet to be fully investigated.

During his 26-year papacy, Pope Jean Paul II visited France eight times, attempting to awaken the religious spirit in a country which was formerly deeply Catholic and now fundamentally secular.

The discovery of convincing evidence of a miracle - usually a medical cure with no scientific explanation - is a key part of the beatification process. A second miracle must be found for the process of canonisation as a saint.

Dziwisz refused to reveal any further details but I-media, a new agency specialising in the Vatican, reported the miracle involved a nun with terminal cancer who was cured when her fellow nuns prayed at her bedside to the late John Paul II in October 2005.

The name and the diocese where the miracle occurred have not been revealed to allow doctors to undertake an investigation of the case, I-media said.

Dziwisz said the process of beatification was progressing very well and the case could be finished "in March".

However the investigations of the miracles is only one part of the process which is followed by a court-like procedure undertaken by the Vatican and a final decision by Pope Benedict XVI.

The whole process could take several years although this is relatively fast compared to previous cases.

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