January 13th, 2011
08:35 AM ET

John Paul beatification news could come Friday, reports say

By Richard Allen Greene and Hada Messia, CNN

The Vatican could announce as soon as Friday that the late Pope John Paul II is to be beatified, putting him on the verge of sainthood,  several Italian newspapers reported this week.

Catholic Church officials have credited him with a miracle, Il Giornale  reported Thursday, and all that remains is for the pope to confirm it. The  newspaper La Repubblica carried a similar report. Neither story named its  sources.

Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi refused to confirm the news,  but said it was "reasonable to expect it" if the Catholic cardinal in charge of  the beatification process had an audience with Pope Benedict XVI on Friday.

The pope's daily audiences are normally announced at noon on the day they  take place.

A secretary for the official in question, Cardinal Angelo Amato, would  not say if he has an audience with the pope Friday.

Longtime Vatican journalist Andrea Tornielli of Il Giornale reported last  week that John Paul could be beatified in a service led by the pope by the end  of this year.

A beatification - which would make the late pope "the Blessed John Paul  II" - would be certain to draw hundreds of thousands of faithful.

Medical and theological experts have credited John Paul II with the  healing of a nun whose order prayed to him after he died in 2005. Sister  Marie-Simon-Pierre says she was cured of Parkinson's disease.

If the pope confirms it was a miracle, John Paul will be eligible to be  beatified, the last step before sainthood. Stepping from beatification to  sainthood requires a second miracle.

The Vatican office studying the case for John Paul's sainthood refused to  comment when questioned by CNN last week.

But if the miracle is confirmed by the Catholic Church, John Paul II  could be beatified as soon as April 2, the sixth anniversary of his death,  Tornielli said.

That would be very fast in Vatican terms.

Other possible dates are May 18, John Paul's birthday, or October 16, the  anniversary of the date he was elected pope in 1978, Tornielli said, suggesting  the last date is most likely, to give the church time to prepare what will be  an enormous event, even by the Vatican's standards.

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Belief • Bishops • Catholic Church • Christianity • Pope Benedict XVI • Uncategorized • Vatican

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