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)
  1. Veritas

    Saints, miracles, angels, heaven, hell...it is so hard to believe that catholics are adult people. Such nonsense.

    July 3, 2013 at 8:46 am |
    • delenn

      Hard to imagine that you think you know better than 1+ billion people.

      July 3, 2013 at 8:50 am |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care


      That is called an argument from popularity. It doesn’t matter how many believe in your fairy tales, it doesn’t make it true.

      July 3, 2013 at 8:52 am |
    • Pablo

      There is actually a lot to it. Ever study in depth? I can't believe the angry people who bash the views of others and constantly think they've got the universe all figured out are adult people.

      July 3, 2013 at 8:52 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      At one time almost no one believed in Christ. Do you find it hard to believe that almost everyone was wrong then, delenn?

      July 3, 2013 at 8:54 am |
    • joe


      You mean the 1+ billion Muslims???

      July 3, 2013 at 9:15 am |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Most people are sheep... and as bright... 1+billion sounds like a low-ball number

      July 3, 2013 at 9:15 am |
    • Jon

      Delenn, your saying that Catholics "know better" than the 1 billion+ Muslims in the world, right?

      That is where your argument breaks down.

      July 3, 2013 at 9:15 am |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care


      A lot to what? God claims? You might be surprised to find that most atheists know more about your religion than the people who practice that religion.

      July 3, 2013 at 9:20 am |
    • ME II

      Once upon a time there were probably a billion people that believed in Zeus.

      July 3, 2013 at 9:56 am |
    • .

      Sorry Honey but there is no evidence that Veritas here knows better than the group.

      July 3, 2013 at 11:24 am |
    • .

      Me, you might want to a do a little bit of research into the history of human population.

      July 3, 2013 at 11:25 am |
    • tallulah13

      Zeus was worshiped for thousands of years in one of the most populous areas on the planet (at that time), so I don't think a billion is out of the question, especially when you consider that Jupiter was just Zeus repackaged for the Romans.

      And since there has never been any proof that Zeus, or the christian god, or any other god has actually existed, Veritas' comment certainly has credence.

      July 3, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
  2. epoch1

    Perverts everywhere will look upon the children's confirmation days like a fat guy looks at a free buffet lunch. With the priests at the head of the line

    July 3, 2013 at 8:46 am |
  3. epoch1

    The greatest miracle he can claim is how many pedophiles he manged to keep out of jail and free to molest children over the length of his papacy.

    July 3, 2013 at 8:45 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      How many?

      July 3, 2013 at 9:02 am |
    • a reasonable atheist

      I know of at least two who wrecked the lives of several of my classmates at my local parish in the early 90's. One was simply shuffled away once rumors started to surface, and the other was forced to resign, but no criminal charges were filed (he's now the CFO of a church-run charity). Given how prolific the first's abuse was (he of course targeted at-risk kids who had no other advocates looking out for them), I would not doubt he simply picked up where he left off at the next parish he was sent to. And while the other left the ministry, being handed a cushy job isn't exactly a just desert for repeated incidents involving, quoting our Bishop's remarks regarding the priest's resignation, "inappropriate contact with a minor."

      July 3, 2013 at 9:23 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Do you know how many public school teachers during the same time frame and region were involved in "inappropriate contact with a minor"? I'm not trying to skew the conversation, just trying to get a perspective.

      July 3, 2013 at 9:42 am |
    • Alias

      @Bill the moron

      The difference is the schools call the police and hold adults responsible and get help for the children.
      You are just a liar if you say you don't know why one is far worse than the other.

      July 3, 2013 at 10:10 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Bill: bishopaccountability.org lists numerous offenders

      July 3, 2013 at 10:22 am |
    • a reasonable atheist

      As Alias stated above, the frequency has nothing to do with it. You asked for "how many," and I informed you you of two specific individuals who were involved in multiple instances of abuse from my small parish alone during a narrow time window of 5 years. A quick google search found an article detailing the horrendous acts of five more abusive priests active in my diocese alone during the same time period. Given how prolific this scandal has become on a worldwide scale, your query of "how many" borders on the inane. The answer to it is "many."

      The lack of consequences, and the church willingly participating in cover-ups and slandering the defenseless victims in order to protect the abusers is what is reprehensible. If you want to make an apt comparison, I know of three teachers in my county who were involved in similar scandals over the same time period. All three of them were immediately dismissed from their positions, prosecuted, and convicted. That's the difference between justice for bad teachers and justice for bad priests. Bad teachers are subject to the law while bad priests are protected by the church and allowed to continue their abuse and/or even receive rewards after their abuse comes to light.

      Returning to the point of the post, the instances I cited at my parish & diocese are certainly not abnormalities as similar instances have been reported worldwide on a massive scale. JPII was the head of the church during the height of the abuse, and he did nothing except to support efforts to sweep it under the rug. Protecting child ra.pists and aiding in efforts to slander victims is hardly "saintly" behavior.

      July 3, 2013 at 10:32 am |
    • midwest rail

      " I'm not trying to skew the conversation, "
      Bullspit. You've been using this tactic since day 1. When your best defense is "Hey look at those guys and how bad they are", you've abdicated the moral high ground for good. You did that long ago.

      July 3, 2013 at 10:37 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      Bill Deacon has tap danced, deflected and made excuses left and right for one of the most corrupt organizations known to man. He is a prime example of the environment that hid the molesters on the first place, and as far as I'm concerned he has indicated that if he were in charge, he would have gone along with all of it.
      Bill is a fine example of an upstanding catholic, and shows why the whole lot of them need some serious prison time, and the organization as a whle disbanded. That is what you do with criminal organizations.

      July 3, 2013 at 10:49 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      All I've ever asked for is comparative data so that the extent of the problem can be put into perspective in relation to the wider issues of child seex abuse in society. No one ever seems able or willing to put those numbers on the table even though they are willing to contest the data that I have posted. Given the obvious bigotry of the allegations and the refusal to delineate them statistically, i will probably continue to ask for the information as long as people continue to make blanket accusations. I think the entire scope of the issue is relevant is more important than to be used as fuel for anti Catholic rants.

      July 3, 2013 at 10:53 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      From that great Catholic apologist paper the Washington Post:

      Students in America's schools are groped. They're ra ped. They're pursued, seduced and think they're in love.

      An Associated Press investigation found more than 2,500 cases over five years in which educators were punished for actions from bizarre to sadistic.

      There are 3 million public school teachers nationwide, most devoted to their work. Yet the number of abusive educators _ nearly three for every school day _ speaks to a much larger problem in a system that is stacked against victims.

      Most of the abuse never gets reported. Those cases reported often end with no action. Cases investigated sometimes can't be proven, and many abusers have several victims.

      And no one _ not the schools, not the courts, not the state or federal governments _ has found a surefire way to keep molesting teachers out of classrooms.

      Those are the findings of an AP investigation in which reporters sought disciplinary records in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The result is an unprecedented national look at the scope of seex offenses by educators _ the very definition of breach of trust.

      The seven-month investigation found 2,570 educators whose teaching credentials were revoked, denied, surrendered or sanctioned from 2001 through 2005 following allegations of seexual misconduct.

      That is one fourth the total number of cases in a five year period as the John Jay report shows against the Church over a sixty year period. While even one case of child abuse is too many, I'm a lot more comfortable sending my child to a Catholic school than I am a public, just on the basis of safety from adults. In other terms, Catholic schools leave the public system in the dark ages.

      July 3, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      Not a rant Bill. They hid child molesters, did not report it to the authorities as they are required to do, moved the molesters around and generally avoided any responsibility.

      Finally they admitted it, but still have not admitted all of it and have not assisted in the prosecution of the offenders, nor help for the victims.
      Go on Bill, try to make it look like I'm the bad guy. It will not work.

      July 3, 2013 at 11:04 am |
    • Alias


      It is not a minor point that they only admitted it because they got caught too many times to keep covering it up.
      They never voluntarily did the right thing.

      July 3, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • Alias

      @ Bill Deacon

      How convenient of you to pick a time period when the church was under heavy scrutiny.

      July 3, 2013 at 11:15 am |
    • ss

      A few points on pedaphilia:

      1) Bringing up the subject of pedaphilia everytime that a Catholic subject is brought up is not appropriate. It is like going to a job interview and having the employer mentioning that a background check revealed that your cousin had a DUI. What relevance does pedaphilia have to the cause of JPII's sainthood? Two different subjects.

      2) Pedaphilia is not restricted to the Catholic Church. However, the church is organized and keeps good records so decades-old cases can be investigated and collectively sued unlike the "here today, gone tomorrow" non-Catholic churches where a similar amount of this crime occurred. Evidence is the number of Protestant churches that are participating in Catholic programs to create safe environments for kids in their own churches. Due to poor Protestant church record keeping, no one knows. People are misled into thinking that this is a Catholic problem.

      3) Many of the pedaphilia cases are decades old from a time when this crime was not treated by the law enforcement, but shuffled around since the problem wasn't clearly defined. It was considered a social embarrassment not a crime until the late 90s.

      4) Due to good Catholic record keeping, the percentage of priests who have molested children is 1.8%.The other godly 98.2% suffer.

      5) Those who use pedaphilia to justify why they aren't in any church should realize that they are not justified.

      July 3, 2013 at 11:37 am |
  4. epoch1

    He will be known as the patron saint of pedophiles and deviates

    July 3, 2013 at 8:44 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      I think Benedict will have that distinction.
      As head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he literally wrote the book (the Crimen Solliciatationis) on hiding pedo priests.

      July 3, 2013 at 9:23 am |
    • .

      Doc, I don't think you know what you are talking about.

      July 3, 2013 at 11:27 am |
    • Colin

      Dot, please point out what he got wrong.

      July 3, 2013 at 11:30 am |
  5. epoch1

    I guess criticizing this pervert isn't allowed on these boards. So much for free speech.

    July 3, 2013 at 8:43 am |
    • Pablo

      I feel bad for ou. Ou obviously know nothing about this mn, yet you feel it necessary to spew suh venom. Grow up.

      July 3, 2013 at 8:54 am |
    • Helpful Hints





      If you are having trouble posting – this may be the problem:

      Bad letter combinations / words to avoid if you want to get past the CNN Belief Blog/WordPress automatic filter:
      Many, if not most, are buried within other words, so use your imagination.
      You can use dashes, spaces, or other characters or some html tricks to modify the "offending" letter combinations.

      July 3, 2013 at 11:15 am |
  6. epoch1

    Testing... is this mic on?

    July 3, 2013 at 8:34 am |
  7. realbuckyball

    Anything to distract from the monseigneur from the Vatican bank who was arrested for attempting to smuggle millions of Euro this week, and jolly Timmy Cardinal Dolan's efforts to shield 57 million dollars from pedophile law suits, and then lie about it.

    July 3, 2013 at 8:23 am |
  8. Reality

    Only for the new readers of this thread.

    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 7:58 am |
    • JJ

      This sainthood scam isn't for rational skeptics but for those gullible, ring kissing, mackerel snapping koolaide drinkers who are already members and supporters of the pedophile infested cult. It's a marketing ploy to keep the deceived coming back to the well and bringing their children to the slaughter as well as their cash.

      July 3, 2013 at 8:14 am |
    • ME II

      "Only for the new readers of this thread."


      July 3, 2013 at 10:00 am |
  9. demovsemperor

    If any Catholic is a saint then I'm an angel.

    July 3, 2013 at 5:57 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Never heard of Charles Lwanga?

      July 3, 2013 at 9:01 am |
  10. o

    Mat 6:8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

    July 3, 2013 at 5:34 am |
    • lionlylamb


      A little brevity can go a long way,,,

      July 3, 2013 at 5:59 am |
    • o

      Existence and life are gifts from God

      July 3, 2013 at 6:34 am |
    • Reality

      Matt 6:8 is a single attestation found no where else in scripture and there historically nil.

      See http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb399.html and Professor Gerd Ludemann's analysis in his book Jesus After 2000 Years.

      July 3, 2013 at 8:07 am |
    • Reality

      Oops, make that "therefore historically nil".

      July 3, 2013 at 8:08 am |
  11. GO_GOP

    Wow. He has always been my hero. He is one of the greatest souls to walk this planet. He performed so many miracles and still continues to do so. He also showed most events in the Bible did actually happen. Our pastor had the good fortune of meeting him once and he talks till this day of the goodness he radiated. He cannot talk of the great man without tears in his eyes. A blessed soul indeed.

    July 3, 2013 at 4:10 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      JP II didn't put much stock in a Fundamentalist, literal interpretation of scripture.
      The Bible is not meant to be an exact historical record.

      "Fundamentalism places undue stress upon the inerrancy of certain details in the biblical texts, especially in what concerns historical events or supposedly scientific truth. It often historicizes material which from the start never claimed to be historical. It considers historical everything that is reported or recounted with verbs in the past tense, failing to take the necessary account of the possibility of symbolic or figurative meaning. "
      The fundamentalist approach is dangerous, for it is attractive to people who look to the Bible for ready answers to the problems of life. It can deceive these people, offering them interpretations that are pious but illusory, instead of telling them that the Bible does not necessarily contain an immediate answer to each and every problem. Without saying as much in so many words, fundamentalism actually invites people to a kind of intellectual suicide. It injects into life a false certi.tude, for it unwittingly confuses the divine substance of the biblical message with what are in fact its human limitations."

      – "The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church", Presented by the Pontifical Biblical Commission to Pope John Paul II on April 23, 1993

      July 3, 2013 at 9:18 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      glad to see you agree with Go GOP Doc. Too often fundamentalist Christians are caught in that intellectual suicide and too often atheist commit the same suicide in their arguments against the Church. JPII was, indeed a great man and one of the greatest popes. Personally, I think the rush to sainthood is premature but I admire him immensly

      July 3, 2013 at 9:46 am |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      LET's Religiosity Law #4 – If a bible verse furthers the cause, it is to be taken literally. If a bible verse is detrimental to the cause, it is either: taken out of context; is allegorical; refers to another verse somewhere else; is an ancient cultural anomaly; is a translation or copyist's error; means something other than what it actually says; Is a mystery of god or not discernible by humans; or is just plain magic.

      July 3, 2013 at 9:49 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Deacon's Bushido Allegory:

      You're no samurai and never were

      July 3, 2013 at 9:57 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Bill Deacon
      I'd rather discuss the Bible with a literate Catholic than a fervent fundamentalist.
      At least Catholics recognize that the books were written for people in a vastly different socio-political climate than the modern one, nor do they pretend that the texts have remained unaltered throughout history.

      I think that a lot of atheists who "attack the Bible" do so as a reaction to literalists.
      It boggles my mind that there are people who believe Genesis to be factual!
      As for the Vatican as a political/social enti/ty, I'd have to say that there is plenty to critisize, both historical and modern.

      July 3, 2013 at 10:13 am |
    • ME II

      "I think that a lot of atheists who "attack the Bible" do so as a reaction to literalists."

      Believe what you want, but claiming a literal interpretation is true is wrong, i.e. incorrect.

      July 3, 2013 at 10:21 am |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      “It is difficult to understand the universe if you only study one planet”

      July 3, 2013 at 10:43 am |
  12. VladBudapest

    Absurd!..how could he had been a saint and not have disqualified the antichrist who became pope after him?

    July 3, 2013 at 2:47 am |
  13. I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

    I found this on another website but had to post it as I found it hilarious.

    He died of a urinary tract infection – basically, he had less magical powers than cranberry juice.

    July 3, 2013 at 1:51 am |
    • derp

      God is powerless against satan's vile urinary bacteria.

      July 3, 2013 at 9:51 am |
  14. Mickey1313

    Are christians really that gulable? Magic is not had never been our ever will be real. Thesaint myth shows how ignorant people are. Abs we are supposed to respect these peoples openions?

    July 3, 2013 at 1:40 am |
    • scott

      You may want to learn to spell BEFORE you start criticizing others genius.

      July 3, 2013 at 6:51 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Christianity is all about gullibility and weakness. However, I do have to agree with scott, you need to learn to use spell check and perhaps take a basic English course.

      July 3, 2013 at 7:06 am |
    • ss

      Why do you call saint veneration gullible, magic, and mythical? Saints are historically confirmed people and the miracles are verified by skeptical scientific and medical teams.

      You just wanted to make a "cheap shot" at the church because you feel so lost after leaving it.

      July 3, 2013 at 11:46 am |
    • HotAirAce

      ss, where can one go, in person or online, to see the complete details of each investigation of miracles and saints? Want to bet the RCC does not publish that? Just as they continue to refuse to turn over their records about child abuse by priests and the subsequent cover up of criminal activities.

      July 3, 2013 at 11:54 am |
  15. Doug

    Who is kidding who here... On one hand they say the pope did these wonderful miracles.. No mention of god of course.. and then we have a man who protected pedophiles, did they think god turn the other cheek on that one ? How absurd !

    July 3, 2013 at 1:34 am |
    • Owl96

      Just because the artical never mentioned God, does not mean that God was not involved. The prayers for healing specificly ask Pope John Paul II to seek the intersession of Christ to heal the patient. The healing come from Chirst. By Christ's healing, at the intersession of Pope John Paul II, we come to believe that the Pope has made it to Heaven, thus he then is a Saint. BTW, this is free country, and you are free to profess (or not profess) whatever religious beliefs you hold. So are we.

      July 3, 2013 at 7:53 am |
    • derp

      If there were actually a hell, John Paul II would be burning in it right now.

      Fortunately for him, he's just dead.

      July 3, 2013 at 9:53 am |
  16. I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

    The way he kept the child abuse scandal covered up for so long is surely one of his miracles.

    July 3, 2013 at 1:27 am |
  17. Gavin Ford

    "Saint Paedo".

    July 3, 2013 at 1:13 am |
  18. Bootyfunk

    bestow an honor on a protector of pedophiles? really?

    July 3, 2013 at 12:40 am |
  19. Maria Carvalho

    Absurd. I'm a Roman Catholic but he is no saint.

    July 3, 2013 at 12:26 am |
  20. MS

    Was he a saint when he was protecting Pedophiles?

    July 3, 2013 at 12:22 am |
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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.