Pope Benedict forgoes waiting period, begins John Paul II beatification process


Catholics around the world are rejoicing today with Pope Benedict XVI’s announcement that he would open the cause for the beatification of his predecessor, John Paul II, who died April 2nd.

Deciding to waive the normal waiting period of five years after a person’s death, the Holy Father made the announcement during a meeting with the Roman clergy in the basilica of St. John Lateran.

The Church usually does not start the process of canonization until at least five years after the person's death. But Pope Benedict told clergy in Rome today that he is waiving the traditional five-year waiting period.

Pope Benedict’s decision answers the requests of many of Catholic faithful, who say Pope John Paul II demonstrated clear evidence of his holiness during his 26-year pontificate.

Hundreds of thousands of them expressed their desire to see John Paul quickly canonized during the late pontiff’s April 8 funeral, spontaneously chanting "Santo subito!"

John Paul was the first to waive the five-year rule in 1999, when he put Mother Teresa on the fast track to sainthood only two years after her death.

Proof of one miracle is needed for beatification, and two for canonization.

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