Pope John Paul II set for beatification this year, say media reports


ACCORDING TO media speculation, Pope John Paul II may well be beatified in a major showcase ceremony in St Peter’s Square in Rome in 2011.

Writing in yesterday’s Milan-based daily Il Giornale, senior Vatican reporter Andrea Tornielli claims doubts linked to an alleged miracle brought about thanks to the intervention of John Paul II have now been resolved, thus leaving the way clear for his beatification sometime this year.

As part of the Catholic Church’s beatification and subsequent canonisation process, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Cause of Saints examines “the reality of the virtues and miracles” ascribed to a candidate. The congregation has been examining the case of 49-year-old French nun Marie Simon-Pierre who, in June 2005, two months after the pope’s death, made a remarkable recovery from Parkinson’s disease following prayers to the late John Paul II.

Reportedly, after writing the pope’s name on a piece of paper one night in June 2005, Sr Marie awoke next morning to find herself cured of a condition diagnosed in 2001. She was able to resume her work as a maternity nurse in a hospital in Arles, southern France.

Last year, media speculation claimed John Paul’s beatification process had been blocked because of doubts about both the nun’s original illness and her “miraculous” cure. According to Tornielli, the congregation’s medical panel has now resolved those doubts.

Normally, the Catholic Church insists on a five-year waiting period following the death of a “candidate” before his or her case can be considered for canonisation. In June 2005, however, in the wake of emotion prompted by John Paul II’s death, Pope Benedict XVI waived this requirement.

While many Catholics have always seen John Paul II as an obvious candidate for sainthood, others see his 27-year-long pontificate as irrevocably sullied by his manifest failure to comprehend and effectively handle the church’s burgeoning sex abuse crisis.

Conservative, uninspired appointments and a tendency to overrely on advisers, especially in his later years, arguably saw John Paul II leave the church ill-prepared for its sex abuse crisis.