Pope Is "Happy" about John Paul II Beatification

Cardinal: Pontiff Was Loved by Non-Believers Too

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 16, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Regarding the upcoming beatification of John Paul II, Benedict XVI is affirming, «We are happy!»

The Pope expressed this today in an address before praying the midday Angelus together with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

«As you know,» he said, «on May 1 I will have the joy of beatifying Venerable Pope John Paul II, my beloved predecessor.»

The forthcoming beatification was announced by the Vatican on Friday, when the Pontiff authorized the promulgation of a decree regarding the miracle attributed to the intercession of Venerable Servant of God John Paul II (Karol Wojtyla).

Benedict XVI explained that the date that has been chosen for the beatification «is very significant.»

«It will be the Second Sunday of Easter,» the Pope stated, which John Paul II entitled «Divine Mercy Sunday» and «on the eve of which his earthly life ended.»

<p>The Pontiff concluded, «Those who knew him, those who esteemed and loved him, cannot but rejoice with the Church for this event.»

Joyful event

The former prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, told ZENIT that «Karol Wojtyla’s beatification will be a greatly joyful event because he was a much loved man, by believers but also by non-believers.»

He explained that the recognition of the miracle «is a seal» that «God gives respect to the work of a man or a woman who has demonstrated with heroic virtue fidelity to the Gospel.»

For some, the cardinal said, «heroism goes to the point of martyrdom because of the faith; for the majority it is responding to the end to one’s humanity, in whatever condition of life.»

In other words, he explained, it is «to live the ordinary in an extraordinary way.»

«If a miracle occurs thanks to the intercession of someone who is invoked,» the cardinal said, «this means that he and God are in communion and this is sanctity.»

The prelate had many memories of Pope John Paul II, who he described as «a man with traits of generous humanity to whom the people felt very close.»

More than anything, however, it was «his strong faith» that impressed people, the cardinal said.

Cardinal Martins recalled, «It happened that for reasons of work one was invited to dine with the Pope who, before sitting down at table, would go to his private chapel together with his guests.»

There, the prelate said, «he was capable of immersing himself in prayer in such a profound way, totally taken up in his relationship with God even if only for the space of a few minutes, which was in itself an evident testimony of his sanctity.»

[With the contribution of Chiara Santomiero]

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On ZENIT’s Web page:

Papal address: http://zenit.org/article-31474?l=english

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