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July 2nd, 2013
02:55 PM ET

Vatican: Pope John Paul II close to sainthood

By Hada Messia and Brian Todd, CNN

Rome (CNN) - The Catholic Church is on the verge of declaring late Pope John Paul II a saint, a Vatican source familiar with the process told CNN on Tuesday.

The committee that considers candidates for sainthood voted Tuesday to credit the late pope with a second miracle, the source said, asking not to be named discussing internal Vatican deliberations.

It is not clear which of several miracles under consideration would be credited to the late pope. Pope Francis must now sign off on the decision before it is official.

John Paul was pope from 1978 until his death in 2005, and was essentially the first rock star pontiff – drawing vast crowds as he criss-crossed the globe.

At his funeral, thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square chanted "Santo Subito" - Sainthood Now!

The Polish-born pope was fast-tracked to beatification when he died in 2005, and became "the blessed" John Paul II barely six years after his death - the fastest beatification in centuries.

"For an institution that typically thinks in centuries, this is remarkably quick," said CNN Vatican analyst John Allen.

There are essentially three steps to becoming a Catholic saint after death.

First, the title "venerable" is formally given by the pope to someone judged to have exhibited "heroic virtues." Secondly, a miracle must be attributed to the deceased person's intervention. Canonization – or sainthood – requires a second attributed miracle.

In 2010, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI approved John Paul's first reported miracle: a French nun cured of Parkinson's disease.

Sister Marie-Simon-Pierre, a nun whose order prayed to the pope after he died, said she was cured of the disease, an ailment that also afflicted John Paul.

The second miracle reportedly occurred in Costa Rica, where a woman said she recovered from a severe brain injury thanks to the intervention of John Paul, Vatican sources told Allen.

Patrick Kelly, executive director of the Blessed John Paul II Shrine in Washington, explained the church's process for investigating reported miracles.

"A team of doctors first examine the miracle. Secondly, the team of theologians look at the miracles and then they discuss amongst themselves the legitimacy and all the facts surrounding the miracles," he said.

The record for the fastest canonization is modern times is St. Jose-Maria Escriva, the Spanish-born founder of Opus Dei, a Catholic order of laypeople and saints dedicated to finding God in daily life. Escriva was made a saint 27 years after his death.

John Paul could shatter that record.

But there are critics who say, not so fast on canonization.

Despite being beloved, John Paul didn't live up to expectations at a crucial moment in the church's history, as sexual abuse scandals involving thousands of Catholic priests erupted across the world, critics say.

In the United States alone, nearly 17,000 people have come forward with abuse claims and the church has paid $2.6 billion in settlements, therapy bills, lawyers fees and expenses related to removing priests from ministry, according to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Eight American dioceses have declared bankruptcy as a result of sexual abuse claims against its priests.

"The rap against John Paul in terms of the sex abuse scandals is basically that this stuff metasticized during his papacy - and he didn't respond adequately to it," said Allen.

Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl defended the late pope, saying "his ministry was so clearly a ministry for everyone."

"Now when you're presiding over a worldwide church with over a billion members, surely there are going to be things that happen over which you don't have a lot of control - or maybe no control," Wuerl said.

In any case, the cardinal and other Catholic leaders say the measure of a saint is not the list of accomplishments or setbacks – but how holy the person was.

CNN's Daniel Burke contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Christianity • Opinion

soundoff (685 Responses)
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  6. Phaerisee

    Any word on the DNA results on the bones found in the Opus Dei Crypt last May?

    July 14, 2013 at 11:57 pm |
  7. PRISM 1234

    The Catholics are just like the rest of the world's crowd.... They think that if they can unite their votes, it's official!
    But not so with God
    If he wasn't saint at his arrival to the Other Side, and needed the cheering crowd to be proclaimed one, he wasn't one in the first place!

    July 11, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
  8. mario

    No way this man should be sainted.....in fact the whole Catholic system is a joke, has been since day one, these guys are still living in medieval times...back-woods country still

    July 11, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
    • EX catholic

      A joke it is certainly!! Worst yet it is a mockery of the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ the Son of God as he was and is proclaimed to the world, not as the son of Mary.

      July 11, 2013 at 7:44 pm |
  9. Phaerisee

    John Paul 2's motto "Totus Tuus" or "Totally Yours" comes from the works of Saint Louis de Montfort. This man taught that the best way to get close to God is to cultivate Humility and Purity in a Christ-centered manner, using the example of The Virgin Mary. When the Holy Spirit finds a soul that is humble and pure like Mary, It finds that soul irresistible and comes and dwells with that person.

    July 10, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
  10. EX catholic

    Really! An IDOLATER being declared a "saint" :-D :-D IDOLATRY is a very grave and serious SIN is NOT Religion.

    July 9, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      @ Ex-Catholic

      AMEN
      (Ex-Catholic)

      July 11, 2013 at 7:53 pm |
  11. Let me get this straight

    So the pedophile priests and the popes (that continued to let the priests mollest children) will go to heaven and potentially become saints because they believe in John 3:16 right?

    July 8, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
    • EX catholic

      No, neither them or you will go to Heaven without Faith in Jesus Christ the Son of God. IDOLATRY is NOT Religion.

      July 9, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
    • Dippy

      They, not them.

      July 11, 2013 at 8:10 pm |
  12. EX catholic

    Totally ridiculous!! IDOLATRY is not Religion, IDOLATRY is a SIN a very grave and serious SIN.

    July 7, 2013 at 8:46 pm |
    • MimiLaRue

      What the heck does this have to do with idolatry??? Please educate yourself

      July 7, 2013 at 11:55 pm |
    • EX catholic

      Mimi,

      If you have to ask, don't understand, are clueless, can't comprehend etc; then it is you who DESPERATELY needs "education" in the subject matter I mentioned. IDOLATRY is a Very Serious SIN it is NOT Religion. Move out of your ignorance about this, Read the Scriptures.

      July 9, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
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  14. tallulah13

    Sainthood is pretty cheap these days. You don't have to be martyred or convert pagans or drive snakes off your island or anything too splashy, anymore. Just be really, really popular and someone will make up a couple of miracles for you. Boom - your a saint.

    July 5, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
    • Saraswati

      This sainthood is up there with Obama's Nobel Prize. Don't get me wrong, I voted for Obama, but Nobel Prize worthy he was not. This is the same made up political silliness.

      July 5, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I think that the whole Nobel thing was more about hating Bush than rewarding Obama. And yeah, I voted for President Obama (twice now), and I think he's done rather well considering the blatant obstruction from the opposing party. But Nobel-worthy? Nah.

      July 5, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
    • MimiLaRue

      I'm so sorry you feel that way. I'll pray for you!

      July 7, 2013 at 11:57 pm |
  15. Leon Bernotas

    (cf. 1:3-4, 10; 5:21, 26; cf. Michaels 1989:195).

    July 4, 2013 at 11:40 am |
  16. tony

    I wonder what having saints is good for, if no-one comes back from the dead? Perhaps they have a use in heaven?

    July 4, 2013 at 11:03 am |
  17. Angel Moronic

    All Christians are equal, except that some are more than others.

    July 4, 2013 at 1:14 am |
    • MimiLaRue

      As a superior Catholic, I say AMEN SISTA !!!

      July 7, 2013 at 11:58 pm |
  18. Reality

    Only for the new readers of this blog:

    The path to sainthood is so corrupted by the required "miracles" that no rational human considers sainthood to be anything but another way to sell trips to Rome, T-shirts, hats, rosaries, relics, pictures and statues. Time to get rid of this practice.

    Actually, it is time to rid our minds of religion all together!

    July 3, 2013 at 11:32 pm |
    • jboom

      "no rational human considers sainthood to be anything but another way"

      well, we heard it here !

      July 4, 2013 at 12:40 am |
    • jboom

      listen to the music, reality

      July 4, 2013 at 12:40 am |
    • Reality

      The music of thorough reviews, rational thinking and the final conclusions :

      Putting the kibosh on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

      • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

      • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

      • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

      • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

      • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

      • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

      • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

      • A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached and belief that various beings (angels?, tinkerbells? etc) exist that we, as mortals, cannot comprehend makes for a no on Sikhism.

      Added details available upon written request.

      A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

      e.g. Taoism

      "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

      Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "

      July 4, 2013 at 7:15 am |
    • Reality

      John's Gospel is of questionable historic value.

      To wit:

      From Professor Bruce Chilton in his book, Rabbi Jesus,

      "Conventionally, scholarship has accorded priority to the first three gospels in historical work on Jesus, putting progressively less credence in works of late date. John's Gospel for example is routinely dismissed as a source......

      From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_John#Authorship
      "Since "the higher criticism" of the 19th century, some historians have largely rejected the gospel of John as a reliable source of information about the historical Jesus.[3][4] "[M]ost commentators regard the work as anonymous,"[5] and date it to 90-100."

      "The authorship has been disputed since at least the second century, with mainstream Christianity believing that the author is John the Apostle, son of Zebedee. Modern experts usually consider the author to be an unknown non-eyewitness, though many apologetic Christian scholars still hold to the conservative Johannine view that ascribes authorship to John the Apostle."

      And from Professor Gerd Ludemann, in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 416,

      "Anyone looking for the historical Jesus will not find him in the Gospel of John. "

      See also http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/john.html

      July 4, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
    • Reality

      Ditto for 1 John.

      July 4, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
    • Reality

      AND THE INFAMOUS ANGELIC CONS CONTINUE TO WREAK STUPIDITY UPON THE WORLD

      Joe Smith had his Moroni. (As does M. Romney)

      "Latter-day Saints like M. Romney also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."

      Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

      Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).

      Jesus and his family had/has Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day demon of the demented. (As does BO and his family)(As do Biden and Ryan)

      The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

      Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie/horn-blowing thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.

      July 4, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
    • Abby M

      It's not just corrupted, its completely retarded.

      July 5, 2013 at 8:35 am |
    • MimiLaRue

      If you have too much time in your hands, please educate yourself! What a moron

      July 8, 2013 at 12:01 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.