John Paul II’s sainthood could take some time, cautions Vatican official

.- When Pope Benedict XVI announced Friday that he would waive the traditional five-year waiting period before starting the beatification process for the late John Paul II, clergy in Rome’s St. John Lateran Basilica greeted the news with an uproarious standing ovation. Although faithful around the globe are rejoicing at the news, a Vatican official cautioned Saturday that the process would likely still take some time.

Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, head of the Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints, told the Italian La Stampa, that while "It's a wonderful gesture”, steps to sainthood still include a review of John Paul’s writings, interviews with those who knew him, and confirmation of a miracle attributed to the late Pope’s intercession.

A second miracle would be required after beatification to declare John Paul a saint.

The Church teaches that the canonization process simply confirms the fact that a person is in heaven; that the faithful can call someone a saint because they already are.

Cardinal Martins said that despite the possible time constraints, he has “no doubt” that this fact will be confirmed for John Paul II.

He also noted that while the canonization process is typically more complex for popes, given their large amount of activity and body of writings, that "virtually all of his (John Paul's) works are known."

This fact, he concluded should help to speed the process as well.

John Paul himself waived the five-year waiting period for Mother Theresa, who died in 1997 and became a saint in 2003.

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