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Home English Pope Francis 'could make John Paul his first saint'

Pope Francis 'could make John Paul his first saint'


Rome, March 19 - The first saint Pope Francis is
likely to make is his predecessor John Paul II, sources close to
the late Polish pope's former secretary told ANSA Tuesday.
Francis reportedly "reassured" Stanisław Dziwisz, the
Archbishop of Krakow, about the long-awaited canonisation "in
the very first days after his election", the sources said.
John Paul, who was beatified on May 1, 2011, will probably
take the last step to sainthood on Sunday October 20, two days
before the Feast of Blessed John Paul, on October 22, the
anniversary of the day in 1978 when his pontificate was
The Catholic Church has been keenly awaiting the
canonisation of the charismatic John Paul, one of the most
popular popes in history, since he died in 2005 aged 84.
In January a cardinal and close confidant to the late
pope said he might be named a saint sometime this year.
"If not this year, it will be 2014," said Cardinal Giovanni
Battista Re. "Since John Paul II performed more than one
miracle, his canonization will surely be recognized".
John Paul's successor Pope Benedict XVI, who abdicated last
month, sanctioned the beatification after a Vatican commission
officially attributed a miracle to John Paul - the inexplicable
recovery of a French nun, Sister Marie Simon-Pierre, from
Parkinson's Disease through the intervention of the late pope.
John Paul will have to be attributed with another miracle
before he can be canonized.
"I don't have enough information to say for certain he will
become a saint by the end of the year," said Cardinal Re, "but
I know that recently three or four of his miracles were being
examined to see which were the most 'solid'".
Benedict put his predecessor's beatification cause on a
fast track, waiving a rule requiring a five-year wait before the
start of the process, after crowds called on him to be made a
'Santo Subito!' (Saint Now!) at his funeral.
The Vatican, however, has insisted this did not mean the
process had been any less rigorous than otherwise would have
been the case.
Some Vatican watchers have suggested John Paul's
canonisation may have been held up by his friendship with
Legionaries of Christ founder, Mexican priest Marcial Maciel
Degollado, who died in 2008 in disgrace after decades of sex
abuse in which he also fathered several children.
John Paul allegedly ignored reports about the charismatic
Maciel, who was removed by Benedict in 2006.

photo: John Paul in 1996

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