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Last Updated: Monday, 30 May, 2005, 19:48 GMT 20:48 UK
Vatican seeks papal miracle proof
Pope John Paul II
John Paul II first waived the rules for Mother Teresa
The Catholic Church has invited people to submit evidence "in favour or against" the late Pope John Paul II's suitability to be a saint.

The Church needs signs of two miracles committed by John Paul II since his death in order to award him sainthood.

An edict inviting testimony was published over the weekend by the vicar for Rome, Cardinal Camillo Ruini.

Pope Benedict XVI has already waived a five-year waiting period before the sainthood process can begin.

Earlier this month, he said he would set the wheels in motion for his predecessor to be beatified with unprecedented speed.

'Sensational calls'

Cardinal Ruini's edict referred to the late Pope's "saintly fame" and "intense life of prayer".

It will be posted both in Rome and Krakow, in Poland, where Karol Wojtyla worked before he became Pope John Paul II.

Cardinal Ruini said he was responding to "sensational" calls for John Paul's sainthood.

Crowds holding a banner calling for the beatification of Pope John Paul II
Funeral mourners demanded John Paul's sainthood

At his funeral, pilgrims chanted "Santo subito!" or "Make him a saint now!" The edict said people could submit any private writings made by the previous Pope, including diary entries and manuscripts.

It is expected to take some time - possibly years - for the Church to gather all the relevant testimony.

It will also be looking for evidence that John Paul II has committed a miracle since his death, by interceding in response to a prayer.

Miracles attributed to saints often involve the unexplained healing of a medical condition.

If the miracle is verified by the Church, the candidate can be beatified. A second miracle is required after beatification for him or her to reach full sainthood.


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