Hasty Ruminations

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Saturday, May 14, 2005

Saint John Paul II

Since the new Pope waived the five year waiting period to start the sainthood process for Pope John Paul II, lots of folks have said, "Cool! Maybe he will be a saint before the Fourth of July."

Not so fast, says the Cardinal in charge of it. "It's a wonderful gesture," said Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, who heads the Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints. He is the bureaucrat in charge of the rigorous procedures which, he noted, include reviewing writings of the late pope and interviewing those who knew him. Then, for beatification, a miracle, attributed to John Paul's intercession after his death, must then be declared authentic after a Vatican-appointed panel of medical experts rule out any worldly explanation for the healing. A second miracle, attributed to John Paul's intercession after his beatification, would then be required to qualify for canonization, or conferring of sainthood. "Each cause has a history of its own," the cardinal sighed, declining to say how long it would take. Years and years, I guess.

Monsignor Gianfranco Bella, the official who is responsible for starting John Paul's beatification cause, said Friday that gathering documents and contacting witnesses hadn't yet begun but he hoped to start it "as soon as possible." Maybe in a year, I guess

But don't be surprised if you hear that the new Pope suddenly wants the Church to reach out to one of the tiny islands in Micronesia, and he bought two plane tickets for his first envoys on their six-year mission: Martins and Bella.


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