January 14th, 2011
08:09 PM ET

Cardinal Wuerl on John Paul II's reported miracles

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Catholics around the world celebrated Friday's announcement of the coming beatification of Pope John Paul II. The former pope was fast-tracked for sainthood by Pope Benedict, who waived the normal five-year waiting period after a person's death to begin the beatification process. Pope Benedict will make the beatification pronouncement at a mass on May 1, 2011.

Washington Archbishop Cardinal Donald Wuerl will be among those at the mass.

As a young priest, Wuerl was the assistant to the American Cardinal John Wright at the time John Paul I's death in 1978.  Because Cardinal Wright was in a wheelchair, Wuerl wheeled him into the secret conclave at the Sistine Chapel and was there when John Paul II was elected.

I spoke with Wuerl today in Washington, DC inside the Cathedral of of St. Matthew, just a few blocks from the White House. Pope John Paul II celebrated mass at the cathedral in 1979.

Wuerl told me there was a rigorous process for the former pope to get to beatification. The church had to certify the recovery of Sister Marie-Simon-Pierre from Parkinson's disease as miraculous.

“One of the reasons the miracle process is such a demanding and rigorous one is you actually have to have scientific proof," Wuerl said. "In the case of the miracle that was just approved you have to have a board of doctors and scientists saying there is no explanation for what happened. There is no physical, scientific, medical explanation for what happened. And the church then declares this an intervention of God."

John Paul II still needs another certified miracle for canonization.

"I don’t know which miracles, or proposed miracles, have been presented to Rome, but my understanding is they’re looking at a number of them,” Wuerl said.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Bishops • Catholic Church • Pope Benedict XVI • Pope John Paul II • Vatican

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  3. Muneef

    A man of a live conscience is in the straight path of righteous and the straight path of righteous is the path of men of God who love and fear their God most in every decision or action or words been said and committed ....!!
    Man of God and God fearing is what is counted for a man to represent a mixed culture and beliefs nation for which he has to be aware of those cultures and beliefs of those other nations in order to be able to plant respects to become between those mixed cultures and beliefs as such gives the assurance of mutual understanding between the nation with other overseas nations or even with those within the country of mixed cultures and beliefs...!
    Some how it's felt that values,morals,virtues are not there in a secular world only faceless solid lifeless laws of men rather than what has been relayed by Holy books that calls for good deeds and reject bad deeds and to build a faithful societies,communities,nations since communications among nations or even among the nations of mixed cultures and beliefs... Laws or God and universe are to be prepared by some thing that is equivalent to UN but built on nations beliefs to achieve the code of understanding among nations but as can see now it is build on groundless bases if not of words of God to faiths...in addition to those non spiritual secular beliefs to make decisions of faith but at the moment the secular world make and take the decisions while the beliefs and faiths has to pay for it when it becomes a war between all faiths or religions outside your world ,it would become back into your inside among the mixed culture and beliefs of the nation or nations under one country flag...!
    Today's world man has become with no value other than his organs if sold or stolen....so what is happening only proves that we are imposing marketing the wrongs against the rights....cultures and beliefs are going down the drain with all those values, morals,virtues some how turning into commotion among cultures and beliefs turning against each other misunderstanding each other or unaware of cultures way of living and beliefs to ease communication mutual understanding as a nation of mankind and a nation of faiths. As i believe we should not bleach wash cultures and faiths in to one but am with keeping all cultures and faiths which make a colorful painting rather than one blank single colored...!?
    Wa Salam,Peace,Shalom...  

    January 17, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  4. Muneef

    Birds : A Lesson For You And Me
    by Asma bint Shameem

    January 17, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
  5. Muneef


    January 17, 2011 at 6:26 am |
  6. doctore0

    The year is 2011, not 11. This is nothing but scam to keep the sheep in the fold
    This is embarrassing for all involved.

    January 17, 2011 at 4:41 am |
  7. HotAirAce

    It the rcc's process is valid then the should have no problem releasing the medical records of the allegedly curred nun and the detailed records of the medical invetigators. I bet we never see them.

    I think this whole thing is an effort to blow the stink off jpii that he acquired by allowing the abuse of children.

    January 15, 2011 at 10:09 pm |
    • Know What


      The declaration of 'Sainthood' by the Catholic Church is really a non-issue for anyone but Catholics. One must be a member to be declared as such; and only members are affected by it. It would be sort of like if they passed an edict to start genuflecting with the other knee or something.

      I know that their superst!tion is annoying to non-believers, but they are free to have it.... and non-believers are certainly free to point out the irrationality of it; but considering all the other affronts that the Church needs to be called on the carpet for, this is small potatoes.

      January 15, 2011 at 10:25 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Know What

      While I somewhat agree with you, I think that it (the process of declaring sainsts) is phony and another example of the church being wrong. If they're wrong about this, what else are they wrong about? I hope to see the demise of religion but don't expect to see it anytime soon. I think it will be a slow process of exposing one (perhaps small) falsehood after another that will eventually lead to billions of deluded people waking up.

      January 15, 2011 at 10:32 pm |
    • Know What


      I'm with you on that.

      January 15, 2011 at 10:41 pm |
    • NL

      Saints have always been selected for political reasons, and due to lobbying efforts by their followers. Mother Teresa and JPII being 'fast tracked' really probably is intended to brighten Catholic spirits, just as the recent royal wedding will brighten the spirits of Britons.

      January 17, 2011 at 9:27 am |
  8. Woody

    Can someone explain what the deal is with becoming a saint? For the sake of the discussion, say a place called Heaven actually exists somewhere in the upper atmosphere. According to believers, people who lead good lives and obey all the rules get a one way ticket to there. Are the regular residents of Heaven not considered saints? Does being an official saint get you special privileges and better housing? Is being an official saint similar to belonging to a snooty Country Club. Do official saints look at the ordinary heavenly people as second class? Is being a saint sort of like belonging to the Mayflower Society or the DAR? I'm really confused about this. We need a saint expert to chime in.

    January 15, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
    • NL

      Generally speaking, a saint is identified as someone so holy as to be able to perform miracles, and the belief is that surely anyone who could perform miracles must be in heaven and somehow 'closer' to God than ordinary folks. So, instead of asking just any dead person to pray for you, you ask the people who you think might be in a better position, or just more willing to, I suppose? In a way it's like calling on one of God's personal as.sistants to help you out instead of somebody stuck in the mail room.

      January 17, 2011 at 1:13 am |
  9. chief

    the real miracle is that catholics call themselves Christian and believe a person was healed by praying to a dead pedaphile protecting pope.... and also to you ....

    January 15, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
    • Gary

      @ chief the real miracle is that in 2011 we still have religious numbskulls

      January 15, 2011 at 6:43 pm |
  10. NL

    For non-Catholics trying to understand saints as Catholics do, just imagine that you are in the habit of 'talking' to the spirits of the dead, like some people do at graveyards etc... Now imagine that you have a problem in your life that you'd like everyone you know to pray to God for you on your behalf. This is pretty common, right? Someone is sick and the call goes out for everyone in the church to pray for them.

    Catholics just imagine that the dead, including your dead parents, friends, spouses and everyone else, can also pray to God while in heaven. It's not a big leap to imagine that if uncle Charlie would pray for you while he was living he'd do it again after he passed, if you asked him to, right? Just because you are in heaven doesn't mean that you've stopped caring about people, or that you've lost your compassion, right? Besides, you're supposed to be worshipping God 24/7 anyway, and prayer of any sort is still worship, so why not continue to do 'good' by trying to help others?

    Technically speaking, Catholics are just 'asking' saints to pray to God for them. The problem lies in that this implies that some folks are closer to God and have more influence with him than others, which suggests a kind of hierarchy amongst the 'saved'. For non-Catholics, you have to ask yourselves if you think the prayers of your religious leaders or the prayers of the 'better' Christians you know have more effect than the prayers of other individuals?

    January 15, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
    • slw

      I used to have imaginary friends too. Then something happened. I graduated from kindergarten. See: godisimaginary dot com.

      January 15, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
  11. Gary

    4 years of pookie B.O for prez is purgatory

    January 15, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
  12. slw

    I think it's great that CNN presents these ridiculous pronouncements without comment. It really shows these people for what they are – the cynical preying on the ignorant. The Cardinal who speaks of a "rigorous" process and "scientific" proof obviously knows nothing about intellectual rigor or science. It is logically flawed to say that because doctors can't explain something, a miracle occurred. As each natural phenomenon becomes understood by science, their God will have fewer and fewer opportunities for miracles, until eventually he will disappear altogether.

    Even if people prayed for a sick person and she got better, the Church's reasoning is laughable. What about all the people who prayed to John Paul and did not get better? What about all the Haitians who prayed? Hundreds of thousands were wiped out by an earthquake. God couldn't do anything about that but he cured one nun of Parkinson's? Please.

    Actual science shows that prayer for others is ineffective. See: Benson H, et al. Study of the Thera-peutic Effects of Intercessory Prayer (STEP) in cardiac bypass patients: a multicenter randomized trial of uncertainty and certainty of receiving intercessory prayer. Am Heart J. 2006 Apr;151(4):934-42.

    Prayer for yourself has an equally bad record. If prayer worked, everyone would win the lottery and all children would get an A on their math tests. The Vatican "investigates", as if there is a phenomenon to investigate, and the Pope "confirms" the "results". With methods like these you can reach any result you want. And don't tell me about "faith". Faith is belief without evidence. It is not a virtue. One might as well say ignorance is a virtue. There is no difference between faith and wishful thinking.

    January 15, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
  13. Bill Henry

    The word Saint does appear in some Bible translations.

    What doesn't appear in the Bible is the idea that a collective outfit like the catholic church can invent a process by which someone long dead (or newly buried, for that matter) is suddenly appointed to some sort of lofty heavenly position that can be prayed to for some level of intercession.

    At issue are the following:

    1) Peter (apparent 1st pope) was never ever in Rome. The Bible doesn't support the idea of a papacy, for that matter.

    2) The steps for canonization are not found in the Bible – anywhere. Period. Neither are the ceremonies connected with it.

    3) The Bible states categorically that only God is to be prayed to – not saints.

    4) Praying for dead people is an odd undertaking. If you believe in life after death, then you may believe that the following has occurred: They are either in heaven (therefore pray for what?) or hell (at which point they are beyond help, anyway). The teaching of purgatory is not found in the Bible (neither the idea or the word itself), so that of itself is irrelevant.

    5) Why would God be bound by the ideals of man? Shouldn't he decide who does what as far as heaven goes? Wouldn't this be like a kindergarten kid telling the administrator of a school system that the curriculum is in need of adjustment to suit his future needs?

    Again and again the catholic church demonstrates that hypocrisy is alive and well – out of one side of its mouth it states that it created the Bible and gave it to people, and out of the other side it does as it sees fit – ignores its counsel, ignores the very doctrines that define Christianity, behaves incredibly immorally, and teaches the ideals and philosophies of godless Greeks in the place of what Jesus taught.

    And yet, it carries on...

    January 15, 2011 at 8:37 am |
    • Kim

      Good assessment, Bill. Even if you did believe in this, why do we have to wait 5 years? No miracles can be "performed" for 5 years after someone dies?! 🙂 Miracle Purgatory?

      January 15, 2011 at 9:07 am |
    • Bhush

      Bill, the Catholic Church has certainly lost track of the teachings of Jesus Christ, but if you are suggesting that the modern fundamentalist Christians are any more on track then I will respectfully disagree. These fundamentalist, with their hateful politics are an abhorent aberration, and far, far from the teachings of Jesus Christ.

      January 16, 2011 at 12:55 am |
  14. And the winner is...

    If the Catholic church has any one that can perform miracles then perhaps they should get to it. Maybe they should solve some of the devastating and horrible crimes and atrocities around the world. "Curing" a sister is not miraculous even if it was spontaneous and the result John Paul's actions and faith, it is only self-gratifying. It has done nothing to help people in dire need, people who actually need miracles.
    A selfish church with selfish people and a selfish faith. Their only interest is in their selves and and money. I think the net worth of the Catholic Church could go a long way towards feeding the starving children in the world, now that would be a miracle.

    January 15, 2011 at 1:13 am |
  15. Gary

    No proof of any miracles...just a few and far between coincidences

    January 14, 2011 at 11:52 pm |
  16. ijreilly

    It's somewhat shocking that people on here can actually find this "miracle" to be a good thing. To think that the former pope would select one person to cure a disease and he chose an old nun. REALLY!?!?!... If anybody had the power to cure one person, who here would choose a nun over somene's dying child?.... How do you not feel, as a Catholic, like you're being slapped in the face when God openly shows everyone he's able to cure disease, but only for a one person and through somone else so he can take earthly credit for it? BUT it's all part of the plan right? I don't find the goodness in setting up a situation where you plan to jump in and save the day (In this case, through the former pope) and think that that somehow justifies being thanked for it and a big spectacle made over it. It's atrocious and mortifying. If a king were to feed one person out of a sea of hungry people, should the rest praise the king for his graciousness? You know what would have been a miracle...saving that 9 year old in AZ. Maybe she should have prayed to John Paul.

    January 14, 2011 at 10:11 pm |
  17. Muneef

    Will not be surprised to learn that even popes at the Vatican or some where else has to be nominated by Jews before Christians as it does happen in the white house and else where...!?!

    January 14, 2011 at 8:40 pm |
    • Reality


      Your yammering is very, very strange!!!

      January 14, 2011 at 11:38 pm |
    • Muneef

      Not sure what you meant by very very strange...and which part of it that was ?

      January 15, 2011 at 5:32 am |
    • Muneef

      What ever it is do you research and prove me wrong...!?

      January 15, 2011 at 7:28 am |
    • Reality


      It is impossible to research the yammering of someone lost in the quagmire of koranic drivel.

      January 15, 2011 at 8:30 am |
    • chief

      and the muslems have a corner on righteousness.... shut up and crawl back in your hole

      January 15, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
    • Muneef

      May I ask who you were referring to with your post?

      January 15, 2011 at 7:50 pm |
    • Muneef

      Sorry to say I found you real mean and not just acting mean as I thought of you....! Thanks any way for your kind assistance....

      January 15, 2011 at 8:03 pm |
    • Muneef


      Am sure you meant me being Muslim well let me say that you are not fooling me,you can not be Red Indians as we learnt that they are wise men and not junky as you are so you must be a chief cook or washing dishes in some junky restaurant just like you...so hope you would not try your luck again and keep your distance from me when am having a private conversation with some one here...ok

      January 15, 2011 at 9:17 pm |
  18. Muneef

    This above man of God deserves respects even from Muslims although felt sorry for him at old age when was made to go Israel and kneel there and ask forgiveness from the Jews for some historical ill treatment by Christians...am sure if he was younger and stronger he would have not done what they have made him do to strengthen there political position among nations and do not know if made him acknowledge the happening of the gas chambers thing?! Not that I deny that happening but think that they were not only Jews who suffered from it but all those who were considered weak or unfit as for the perfect race that Hitler was intending to bring up so who ever did not meet those specifications criteria had to end in the gas chambers and that what I have heard of from a long time ago,although agree that most of those victims would have been Jews since Hitler had some thing against them in particular ....!?

    After all the new pope might face the same pressure for being from Germany which it the country that has drove them Jews to gas chambers and so on the story would go unending black mail. And if any stoped that then he is anti-Semitic and has to vanish either from the position he is holding or from life as a whole...!? And that is all what life is about, as we become to learn through history....!?

    January 14, 2011 at 8:37 pm |
  19. Muneef

    You will ask me why I will say it is true Religions can not be taken or depended on as rulers! Again you will ask why that is?
    I will say seeing who Religions became very very Rich from it's followers but will not support the living of other poor branches of their faith! We see here that the rich Christian branches are not supporting for example this Coptic branch in Egypt working as Rubbish collectors and junk yards? Say have Christians helped it to have a decent life or at least develop what they know best with equipment's at least towards recycling as green move this way they would have helped them needy for decent living and conserved environment and nature? But instead of that they would ignore of compel them to become into their path before they give a lending hand or assistance....?!? Well am not saying Christians among them selves only but even for Islam and Judos are no different from that and that's why you have uneven wealth and growth distribution !?
    We have a saying that says "To cut mans living is like cutting his head and those who depend on him for support"!? This is called Poverty and Hunger which makes Man Angry and who becomes Angry Rebels against all if no justice or mercy found in to undertaking terrorist acts against the di-scrim-inating systems on basis of Faith or Path or Race !? Any statistics how many poor and rich from the branches of each faith of at least the three Abrahamic faiths or Religions ?!? Only then we will know how cruel they are to each other when God says in his scriptures that we are all descended from one nation..the nation that were saved by Noah's Ark PBUH...! We are one nation being on the Faith of Abraham and derived from him and his followers!? But still Brother to Brother or Faith to Faith or Path to Path or Branch to branch are being stingy to each other and Greed drive them against each other, the living being means nothing to them as being just a Mankind a Human Being a creation among creations...!? So it is either with us or against us thing...!?
    We have to drive those branches to share love,charity and respect of belief among them selves and then driving those three Religions to have the same among them selves only then we will see peace and prosperity on people of earth and only then you will find disbelievers believe that there is God because there is love of sharing and caring among all otherwise sorry to say Religions are no different than Gangsters who have no love for God Creations believers or not...!?
    Peace to you Reality and Guys for helping me to realize why you dispute religions and not for disbelieving but for knowing that this is not what is reflected on earth towards each other as you saw more hate among them than it is love and more wars among them than it is peace...?!?
    But surely what we are doing is not the right solution to correct this and to make them do what they should for good deeds causes and not co-nspir-acy causes..nor for ra-ci-al causes....!? The Charity is to help them to make a decent living and not to feed them only doing nothing,but are to get them to help and support them selves making a living...!? And such as those could be become the driving force for nature conservation and green recycling projects and so on....?!                           

    January 14, 2011 at 8:32 pm |
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.