Beatifying John Paul II? Maybe

But No Date Yet

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By Jesús Colina

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 19, 2009 («>»> Bloggers are abuzz lately about a date for the beatification of Pope John Paul II.

But the truth is less exciting than their posts: So far any proposed date is just a guess, or at best, an expert’s calculation.
The Polish Pope’s longtime secretary, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, archbishop of Krakow, said Wednesday while in Argentina, «It all depends on the Pope.»

There was a meeting Nov. 16 at the Congregation for Saints’ Causes on the possibly heroic virtue of Pope Wojtyla.

But given that the participants’ vote is subject to papal secrecy, to ask about or publish the result means to collaborate in the violation of this secret.
According to the process for beatification and canonization, in case the result was positive, it now corresponds to the Pope to sign the decree of heroic virtues. If everything has stayed on schedule, according to the calendar, the decree could be published in December.
If this were to be the case, John Paul II would receive the title «Venerable.» This would be an important step, but not decisive for his being raised to the altar. Next, a miracle would have to be analyzed and attributed to the intercession of Karol Wojtyla after his death, by a medical commission, a commission of theologians and a commission of cardinals.
Only after the positive verdict of these three commissions would Benedict XVI be able to sign the decree recognizing the miracle, which would open the doors to John Paul II’s beatification.
According to press reports, which could only be confirmed later on, the postulator of the cause is proposing as a miracle the healing from Parkinson’s disease of a French nun. (John Paul II also suffered from Parkinson’s.)

God’s work
How much time can each of these steps take? No one knows exactly. Vatican insiders can make calculations comparing other cases, but they are only guesses.
In fact, the process is following the ordinary schedule, as Benedict XVI only exempted it from the five-year waiting period before opening the cause, as also happened in the case of Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
Cardinal Dziwisz stressed that neither he nor his brother bishops are exerting pressure. «We don’t want the Pope to be hurried; he must study it well because he is also linked to the figure of John Paul II,» the cardinal specified in a press conference in the art gallery of the apostolic nunciature in Buenos Aires.
Asked if John Paul II performed any miracles while he was alive (which are not analyzed in the process as a condition for beatification), the Polish cardinal replied: «We couldn’t speak of this, we were prohibited, but now that he is dead, there are many things recorded and documented.»
The archbishop of Krakow gave the example of a bishop who was cured of cancer, which some attributed to be a miracle of John Paul II.

John Paul II, however, said, «It’s not the work of man, it’s the work of God.»

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