Pope John Paul II Approved for Sainthood
Pope Francis on Friday cleared Pope John Paul
II for sainthood, approving a miracle
attributed to his intercession and setting up a
remarkable dual canonization along with
another beloved pope, John XXIII.
In a major demonstration of his papal
authority, Francis decided to make John XXIII
a saint even though the Vatican hasn't
confirmed a second miracle attributed to his
intercession. The Vatican said Francis had the
power to "dispense" with the normal saint-
making procedures to canonize him on his
own merit, without a miracle.
The ceremonies are expected before the end
of the year. The date of Dec. 8 has been
floated as one possibility, given it's the feast
of the Immaculate Conception, a major feast
day for the church. Polish media continued to
report that October was likely, to mark the
anniversary of John Paul's election, but
Vatican officials have said that's too soon to
organize such a massive event.
The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico
Lombardi, confirmed that the miracle that
brought John Paul to the ranks of sainthood
concerned a Costa Rican woman.
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The Spanish Catholic newspaper La Razon
has identified her as Floribeth Mora, and said
she suffered from a cerebral aneurism that
was inexplicably cured on May 1, 2011 -- the
day of John Paul's beatification, when 1.5
million people filled St. Peter's Square to
honor the beloved Polish pontiff.
In a series of reports late last month, La
Razon reported that Mora awoke with
debilitating head pain on April 8 and went to
the hospital, where her condition worsened
to the point that she was sent home with
only a month to live.
Her family prayed to John Paul, and the
La Razon quoted her doctor, Dr. Alejandro
Vargas, who said: "It surprised me a lot that
the aneurism disappeared, I can't explain it
based on science."
The Associated Press has traveled to Mora's
home in Costa Rica but has been told that
she is bound by secrecy and cannot discuss
Then-Pope Benedict XVI put John Paul, who
became pope in 1978, on the fast-track for
possible sainthood when he dispensed with
the traditional five-year waiting period and
allowed the beatification process to begin
weeks after his April 2, 2005, death. Benedict
was responding to chants of "Santo Subito!"
or "Sainthood Immediately" which erupted
during John Paul's funeral.
But there remains some concern that the
process has been too quick. Some of the Holy
See's deep-seated problems -- clerical sex
abuse, dysfunctional governance and more
recently the financial scandals at the Vatican
bank -- essentially date from shortcomings of
As a result, the decision to canonize John
Paul along with John XXIII can be seen as
trying to balance out those concerns, by
beatifying one pope along with another.
Such was the case in 2000, when John Paul
beatified John XXIII (1958-1963) , dubbed the
"good pope," alongside Pope Pius IX, who
was criticized by Jews for condoning the
seizure of a Jewish boy and allegedly
referring to Jews as dogs.
By canonizing John Paul II along with John
XXIII, the Vatican could be seeking to
assuage concerns about John Paul's fast-
track sainthood case by tying it together with
the 50-year wait since the death of John