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Last Updated: Monday, 2 April 2007, 17:53 GMT 18:53 UK
John Paul sainthood plan boosted
Sealing of black metal chests containing John Paul II dossier
Black metal chests containing the John Paul II dossier were sealed
Roman Catholic officials have completed the first phase of a campaign to make the late Pope John Paul II a saint.

On the second anniversary of his death, they gave the Vatican a dossier detailing his saintly qualities.

Central to the case is the testimony of a nun, Sister Marie Simon-Pierre, who says she was cured of Parkinson's Disease after praying to the Pope.

A medically-supported miracle is one of the proofs needed for beatification, the step before sainthood.

The final decision rests with Pope Benedict XVI, the late pope's former protector of doctrine.

The beatification process is "advancing rapidly", Pope Benedict said as he celebrated mass in Saint Peter's Square to commemorate the second anniversary of the death of John Paul II.

John Paul II spread "the aroma of faith, hope and charity in the Church and the entire world", Benedict said.

If deemed genuine, a second miracle would still be needed before sainthood.

BEATIFICATION PROCESS
Beatification requires that a miracle has occurred
Group approaches local bishop
After Rome's approval an investigation is launched
Findings are sent to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints
Case is presented to the Pope
Blessed may be accorded a feast day
Relics of the candidate may be venerated in local diocese
Canonisation (actual sainthood) requires proof of a second miracle

Information for the dossier was gathered on the former Pope's life and teachings, including all private writings from the period before he became Pope, and checked for orthodoxy to ensure that he expressed no heretical views.

A commission of historians then gathered the documents together to be examined by panels of theologians, cardinals and bishops.

Proof of miracle

The Catholic Church demands proof of a medically unexplained healing before a candidate can be beatified - the last step before sainthood. The miracle must take place after the candidate's death.

Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa
John Paul abandoned custom when he beatified Mother Teresa
Beatification allows public veneration of the person and for them to be known as "Blessed".

The documentation on John Paul was prepared by the Rome and Krakow dioceses. It will be examined by the Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

In normal circumstances five years must pass between the death of the person proposed for beatification and the start of the procedure, to avoid emotion playing a part.

However, Pope Benedict put John Paul on a fast track for possible sainthood just weeks after his death on 2 April 2005, allowing an investigation into his virtues to begin immediately.

John Paul II dispensed with this rule himself when in 2003 he beatified Mother Teresa of Calcutta. The entire process was completed just six years after her death.

The late Pope created more saints and blesseds than any of his predecessors.


SEE ALSO
Pope Benedict names four saints
15 Oct 06 |  Europe
Pope canonises pro-life heroine
16 May 04 |  Europe

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