Vatican officials have concluded that a miraculous healing credited to the intercession of Pope John Paul II is authentic.
The decision clears the way for the Church to declare the late Pope “blessed,” the final stage on the road to sainthood. The Pope’s beatification could take place as early as April 2, the sixth anniversary of his death, according to veteran Vatican analyst Andrea Tornielli, who broke the news in the Jan. 12 edition of the Italian newspaper, Il Giornale.
Tornielli reported that cardinals and bishops from the Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints had convened Jan. 11 and "examined and approved the miracle attributed to the intercession of John Paul II.”
The case involves the healing of a French religious sister from Parkinson's disease. Doctors had diagnosed Sister Marie Simon-Pierre with the condition in 2001. Her fellow sisters had prayed for the late Pope's intercession, however it was not until Sister Simon-Pierre wrote the pontiff’s name on a paper one night in June 2005 that the miracle occurred.
She was cured by the next morning and immediately took up her work as a nurse in a maternity ward.
As part of the investigation into John Paul II's sainthood, her healing was placed before a team of doctors. According to an earlier report by Tornielli, the team had declared her healing to be "scientifically unexplainable."
The Vatican sainthood congregation has already concluded that the Pope’s writings and teachings are consistent with Catholic teaching — another requirement for beatification and sainthood.
The approval a miracle attributable to the Pope was the final hurdle. And, with "no votes against," the cardinals and bishops gave their consent, Tornielli reported.
The Vatican has made no official announcement of the decision. However, Tornielli has proven in the past to have advance, insider information. In 2009 he reported more than a month before the official announcement that the sainthood congregation had declared John Paul to be “venerable,” the preliminary step in the beatification process.
If the current report proves true, all that is needed for beatification is Pope Benedict XVI’s approval of the congregation’s findings. That would leave only the question of a date for beatification ceremony.
Tornielli suggested this could be either "this spring or next October.” Oct. 16 would mark the anniversary of his election to the pontificate in 1978.
In any case, Tornielli added, the pace of the process suggests that the late Pope's cause is in a state of "acceleration."