Pope John Paul II could be beatified in 2011, Vatican expert Andrea Tornielli is reporting.
In the Jan. 4 edition of the Italian newspaper Il Giornale, he reports that medical advisers of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints have ruled favorably on a miracle attributed to John Paul II’s intercession. The documentation has also passed the scrutiny of theologians.
The case involves the healing of a French religious sister from Parkinson’s disease. Sr. Marie Simon-Pierre was diagnosed with an aggressive form of the disease in 2001. Her order prayed to John Paul II after his death for help. After writing the Pope’s name on a piece of paper one night in June 2005, she reportedly awoke the next morning cured and was able to resume her work as a maternity nurse.
Vatican expert John Allen Jr., writing in the National Catholic Reporter, said that media reports have implied that the French sister had become ill again and at least one physician questioned her original diagnosis. The outcome of the medical consultants’ examination suggests that those doubts have been resolved.
The cause for beatification will now advance to the bishops heading the congregation. They will vote on the matter in several weeks.
In theory, it is possible that Pope John Paul II could be beatified on April 2, 2011, the sixth anniversary of his death. Other possible dates are the late pontiff’s birthday, May 18, or the Oct. 16 anniversary of his 1978 election to the papacy.
A beatification Mass would draw huge crowds and would require significant preparation. This makes a later date more likely.
Pope John Paul II was declared “venerable” in December 2009. If he is beatified, another recognized miracle would be required to declare him a saint.