Pope John Paul to be beatified
ROME – Pope Benedict XVI has formally approved a miracle attributed to his late predecessor, paving the way to John Paul II’s beatification on May 1.
The process of beatification, or declaring the late pontiff to be “blessed”, is a crucial step towards making him a saint.
John Paul II died in 2005 after a papacy of nearly 27 years.
The Vatican credits him with the miraculous cure of a nun said to have had Parkinson’s Disease.
Church officials believe that the Polish pope, who himself suffered from the condition, interceded for the miraculous cure of Sister Marie Simon-Pierre, a Frenchwoman in her late forties.
She has said her illness inexplicably disappeared two months after John Paul II’s death, after she and her fellow nuns had prayed to him.
Church-appointed doctors agreed that there was no medical explanation for the curing of the nun, although last year there were some doubts about the validity of the miracle.
A Polish newspaper said that a doctor who scrutinised the nun’s case had concluded that she might have been suffering not from Parkinson’s,
but from a nervous disorder from which temporary recovery is medically possible.
Up to a million people are expected to gather in Rome for the beatification.
Mourners at John Paul II’s funeral on April 8, 2005 chanted: “Santo subito!” – or “Make him a saint right now!”
The following month, Pope Benedict put him on a fast track to sainthood by dispensing with church rules that normally impose a five-year waiting period after a candidate’s death before the beatification procedure can start. (BBC)