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BY TRACY PFEIFFER
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Just five years after his death, Pope John Paul II -- one of the most beloved and controversial pontiffs in modern history -- is set for beatification by the Catholic Church.
Beatification is the final step before sainthood, and requires a miracle be attributed to the person in question. While Catholic law states the canonization process cannot begin until five years after a person’s death, Pope Benedict XVI waived the waiting period for John Paul II in light of widespread public support to do so. (Video: Rome Reports)
A Vatican expert describes John Paul’s miracle to Detroit’s WJBK.
“You have the curing of a nun who had the exact same thing John Paul did -- Parkinson’s. ... Her sisters -- you know, the other nuns -- were praying for her recovery. One night she got up, she had a dream of John Paul, and she wrote his name down on a piece of paper. The next morning she woke up, and the symptoms were gone."
And as expected, there are disagreements over whether this particular incident qualifies. A correspondent for CNN explains.
“Earlier this year there were media reports out of France suggesting that maybe she actually wasn't cured, maybe this actually wasn’t Parkinson’s disease. But the Vatican obviously feels they’ve resolved those doubts. I mean, this was looked at by a bank of doctors, then by a bank of theologians, then by a group of cardinals and bishops and finally by the pope himself. So at least as far as they’re concerned, this was the real deal.”
Reports indicate there’s also been some concern over the fast-tracking of John Paul to sainthood -- and whether it makes his canonization less legitimate. But in Catholic Culture, one cardinal says absolutely no corners were cut.
“On the contrary, if I may speak further to one of my first observations: precisely in order to honor the dignity and the memory of this great Pope, to avoid any doubt and overcome any difficulties, the case was subjected to particularly careful scrutiny.”
Finally, a post on Associated Content says, though the announcement may not seem like a big deal for non-Catholics, it is huge -- and hopefully good -- news for the Church.
“The beatification and potential canonization of Pope John Paul II makes sainthood real for many Catholics. Instead of something that we teach children about in Sunday School, saints are real people, living among us today. It reinforces the faith Catholics have.”
Pope John Paul II’s funeral was the most-attended event in human history, with more than 5 million in attendance. His beatification ceremony is set for May 1st.
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