In his recently released book “Santo Subito” (Immediate Saint), Vatican journalist and author Andrea Tornielli makes a compelling case for the beatification of Pope John Paul II. Using anecdotes and witness' accounts of moments in the Pope's life, he relates the profound imprint left by Karol Wojtyla on humanity, in his living and through his death.
The content of Tornielli's stories is at times rather unexpected, as in the account of a religious sister who often heard the Pope practicing corporal mortification from her nearby room in Castel Gandolfo. She tells of having heard the sounds of the Pope whipping himself during the night. “He did this while he was still able to move on his own,” she says in the interview.
Pope Paul VI was also known by his secretaries to have participated in the same actions, to “remind himself better of the cross Christ bore for the redemption of the world.”
The book also recounts the emotional moment when Pope John Paul II struggled to make a final appearance at his apartment window at St. Peter's Square, coming twice to the window without being able to say a word. Multitudes traveled to visit in the days before and after his death.
Two days after he died, many called aloud for his immediate sainthood - that he become a “santo subito.”
The book, currently only available in Italian, was released on the heels of a recent post on Tornielli's blog at Il Giornale, an Italian newspaper, that reported last week that the “way has been cleared” by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints for the next step in the beatification of Pope John Paul II. According to the report, his case needs only Pope Benedict's signature to give JPII “venerable” status
Once made venerable, a miracle will then need to be attributed to the intercession of John Paul II.
The new book from Tornielli is the latest installment in an impressive catalog of Vatican-themed books from the Italian author. His collection also includes biographies of Popes Pius XII and Paul VI.