John Paul II even closer to sainthood

2011-01-14 12:35

Vatican City - Evidence is mounting that the pope will soon approve the miracle needed to beatify Pope John Paul II, setting the stage for a major celebration this year for a Catholic Church trying to recover from the clerical sex abuse scandal.

Italian news media have been reporting that in recent weeks Vatican-sponsored panels confirmed that a young French nun was miraculously cured of Parkinson's disease after praying to the Polish-born John Paul.

Pope Benedict XVI now must sign off on the miracle and set a date for the beatification, the first major step to possible sainthood.

Polish Bishop Tadeusz Pieronek, former No. 2 of the Polish Bishops' Conference and an old friend of the late pope, said on Thursday that he understood an announcement could come on Friday, though he stressed he didn't have independent confirmation.

He said the beatification date could be as early as May 1, though other reports have said it would be later in the year given the enormous preparations that will be necessary to host the influx of pilgrims for the event.

On Thursday, workers began restoring a mosaic in a chapel near the entrance of St Peter's Basilica, where John Paul's remains presumably would be moved for better public access once beatified.

His tomb is currently in the grottoes underneath the basilica, where a short line of tourists waited on Thursday to pay their respects.

'Santo Subito'

The Vatican will not publicly discuss the possibility of such a move ahead of a formal announcement by Benedict, said the Vatican spokesperson, the Reverend Federico Lombardi.

Benedict put John Paul on the fast track to possible sainthood just weeks after he died in 2005, responding to the chants of "Santo Subito!" or "Sainthood immediately!" that erupted during his funeral Mass.

Benedict waived the typical five-year waiting period before the process could begin, but he insisted that the investigation into John Paul's life be thorough so as to not leave any doubts about his virtues.

The last remaining hurdle concerned the approval by Vatican-appointed panels of doctors and theologians, cardinals and bishops that the cure of French nun, Sister Marie-Simon-Pierre, was a miracle due to the intercession of John Paul.

The nun has said she felt reborn when she woke up two months after John Paul died, cured of the disease that had made walking, writing and driving a car nearly impossible. She and her fellow sisters had prayed to John Paul, who also suffered from Parkinson's.

Last year, there were some questions about whether the nun's original diagnosis was correct. But those doubts were apparently put to rest after more doctors examined her case.

Il Giornale, a conservative newspaper which covers the Vatican closely, reported earlier this week that the nun's case had cleared the panels and that all that remained was Benedict's approval.

Second miracle must be confirmed

"The pope still needs to pronounce himself but it has not happened before that he would not accept such an opinion (confirming a miracle)," Pieronek said.

A second miracle, occurring after beatification, must be confirmed for John Paul to be declared a saint.

Since John Paul was such a universally beloved figure, his beatification is expected to be a major boost for a church reeling from the fallout of the clerical sexual abuse scandal, which saw thousands of new cases in Europe and beyond come to light last year.

John Paul, though, did not escape scrutiny, since many of the cases concerned crimes or cover-ups that occurred under his watch.

Vatican officials have said there was nothing in John Paul's record that called into question his path to beatification.

Cardinal Jose Saraiva-Martins, the former head of the Vatican's saint-making office, said the beatification would be a "moment of joy" for the church which has been grieved not only by the abuse scandal but the persecution of Christians around the world.

"Something so joyful is certainly very important for the church," he said.

  • Lunga - 2011-01-14 12:47

    It's a miracle that he went to the grave with the secret of who killed his predecessor. Miracle done. Beatify him.

      The-truth - 2011-01-14 14:37

      All organized religion must be banned. This is so rediculous, it is absurd. How do I explain this to any sane peron?

      richard.stokes10 - 2011-01-14 14:50

      really? and who the hell would have the authority to ban religion?

  • fishyian - 2011-01-14 13:15

    Are there any catholics out there who can tell me where in the bible I can find more info relating to this saint, intercession, miracle confirmation business, am really interested in reading more

      Darwin365 - 2011-01-14 14:27

      It's in the chapter that covers worshiping the tooth-fairy.

  • Fat Rucker - 2011-01-14 13:17

    what's the miracle in question? That he managed to keep the lid on rampant paedophilia in the catholic church for so long?

      shogun - 2011-01-14 14:33

      Mmmm you seem to have touched a nerve on old Warren here. Old wounds maybe?Were you an alter boy once, Warren?

  • k1dbl4ck - 2011-01-14 13:34

    religion is bliss while the world falls apart around us.

      Proffie - 2011-01-14 14:00

      Religion is the opium of the masses. Voltaire.

      Pete OJ - 2011-01-14 14:30

      Proffie: you should ask your money back. Lenin said that. hehehehe

  • navarac - 2011-01-14 13:36

    This crowd is worse than the Mafia.

      multicon - 2011-01-14 14:24

      Maybe they inspired the mafia?

      Pete OJ - 2011-01-14 19:36

      They are the Mafia!

  • richard.stokes10 - 2011-01-14 13:40

    He was truly a great man

  • AndV - 2011-01-14 13:43

    Only God can heal people. The deceased Pope John II is a sinner just like me and you. This is clearly not a Biblical teaching and deceive followers of the truth. Be aware of this false teaching!

      multicon - 2011-01-14 14:23

      Relevant to the teachings you believe in, the Catholic theory differs. It is not false teachings, as religion is pure theory. If you state that Catholic teachings is false, then all religion is false teachings

  • baas-julius - 2011-01-14 13:55

    you have got to be kidding me that in 2011 crap like this still happens in the world, people move the hell on this is just another con from the biggest, scandelous and most absurd money making cartel in the whole of human history. It’s bad enough the nutters drink “blood” and eat “flesh” once a week of a dude that is in effect a zombie!!

      richard.stokes10 - 2011-01-14 14:03

      And i presume you frequent the NG Kerk?

      Thor - 2011-01-14 14:27

      Your day will come, may there be mercy on your soul... Have a little respect.

      NS - 2011-01-14 14:44

      Classic. Scary part is, more so than ever.

  • multicon - 2011-01-14 14:17

    I don't believe in miracles. Like James Randi, I would love to see a miracle, by the way the 1 million dollar reward is still up for grabs by anyone that can prove the paranormal.

  • Cupcake - 2011-01-14 14:21

    What an absolute freaking joke. This is what the pope spends his time on?!? I seem to recall a little matter regarding the continuous sexual abuse of thousands of children at the hands of this organisation. But oh well, I can see how being the "miracle decider" is much more pressing at the moment. The catholic church disgusts me.

  • Pete OJ - 2011-01-14 14:32

    My cat is should receive beatification. He helped me find my car keys that were missing for three weeks! A real miracle - where do I apply?

      Christopher - 2011-01-14 14:40

      Cool! :) well only if you prayed to the cat first.

      Pete OJ - 2011-01-14 19:31

      Darn thing would never sit still long enough to be taken seriously!

  • Christopher - 2011-01-14 14:35

    There must be an error here! The nun prayed to a he should be a saint?! He is a man... In Catholicism, do you pray to the pope? Is he God?! I think the nun should be told she should pray to God. Wow! There is only 1 true God and we should worship no one but Him.

      JB - 2011-01-14 15:09

      This is so true! All praises to the one true Flying Spaghetti Monster! Only through his noodly appendages can we hope to achieve eternal redemption.

  • partykarate87 - 2011-01-14 14:38

    Where did Pete Tong go?

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