VATICAN CITY, MAY 18, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI spontaneously commemorated John Paul II on the day he would have celebrated his 85th birthday, reiterating his belief that his predecessor is in heaven.
“I would like to remind you that today is the birthday of our beloved John Paul II,” he said today in Italian before he read his prepared text for the weekly general audience.
“He would have been 85 years old, and we are certain that he sees us from on high and is with us,” he said amid the applause of more than 25,000 pilgrims.
“On this occasion we wish to say a profound thank you to the Lord for the gift of this Pope, and we wish to say thank you to the Pope himself for all that he did and suffered,” added the Holy Father.
It was not the first time that Benedict XVI publicly expressed the conviction that Karol Wojtyla is in heaven.
As dean of the College of Cardinals, he said during the April 8 funeral Mass: “We can be sure that our beloved Pope is standing today at the window of the Father’s house, that he sees us and blesses us. Yes, bless us, Holy Father.”
On May 13, Benedict XVI announced his decision to dispense with the five-year waiting period, established by Canon Law, to begin John Paul II’s cause of beatification.