News

Inside John Paul II's Beatification Process

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
27 Apr 2011

To declare John Paul II a blessed, the pope has not taken the easy road. Those in charge of  investigating the "Life and Miracles" had to meticulously document the facts showing that he was a saint. The process included the questioning of 114 people, those who were both for and against the beatification.

The group was made up of 35 cardinals, 20 bishops, 11 priests, 5 religious, 3 nuns and 36 lay Catholics, 3 non-Catholics and one Jew. Each one answered 129 questions. Among them were several heads of state and politicians, 2 Orthodox patriarchs, the Anglican primate and a representative from the Jewish community.

There was also a team of six historians that spent 16 months carefully recreating his life as a priest and pope. Conclusions were drawn up in three volumes of text that Vatican experts revised before proposing the beatification of Pope John Paul II.

Card. Angelo Amato
Prefect, Congregation for the Causes of Saints
"The beatification process consists of studying the life of a person and examining their heroic virtues, especially the three theological virtues: faith, hope and charity; as well as the ethics and morals of prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance."

John Paul II rose to the altars only 6 years and one month after his death. Despite the speed of the process, the Vatican says they have carefully followed every step.

Card. Angelo Amato
Prefect, Congregation for the Causes of Saints
"The privilege for the cause of beatification of John Paul II was not having to be on the waiting list because we have hundreds and hundreds of causes pending."

The Polish priest Slawomir Oder is the other person most closely associated with this process because he was responsible for leading the research.

Fr. Slawomir Oder
Postulator, Cause of beatification of John Paul II
"John Paul II said that it was not possible to understand him from outside but only from within. So the key to interpreting this character is his faith. He was a man of God. This is what best defines him. He was truly a man of God, a man who truly believed, he was in love with Christ and the Church."

The postulator also investigated the miracle needed to celebrate the beatification. It was the instant and unexplainable healing of a French nun, Marie Simon-Pierre, who suffered from a severe case of Parkinson's. The disease forced her to leave her job as a nurse in the maternity hospital in Arles, France. In June 2005, after asking John Paul II to help her, the Parkinson's totally disappeared.

Fr. Slawomir Oder
Postulator, Cause of Beatification of John Paul II
"The fame of holiness is a constant in the life of John Paul II. When he was alive people considered him a saint. Many say they have received special graces from God when they asked the pope to pray for them."

Of the 263 popes, only 81 are saints and 9 are blessed. The last pope to be beatified was Pope John XXIII. Now John Paul II will join them. To be declared a saint, a new miracle has to be proven after beatification. Because of this, none of the extraordinary cures that have been brought forth have been considered yet.