Pope John Paul II Approved By Vatican For Sainthood; Pope Francis Must Sign Decree

Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II to be canonized by the Vatican. AP Images

Pope John Paul II has made it through almost all of the steps required for sainthood including posthumously performing two recognized miracles. Now all that is left is for Pope Francis to officially declare Pope John Paul II a saint and set a date for canonization.

The Associated Press suggests that the date Pope Paul II is canonized might be December 8, which is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. This feast day is celebrated by Catholics as the day when the Virgin Mary, mother of Christ was conceived.

In order to become a saint the candidate must go through a lengthy process before the official decree is placed before the Pope.

First a candidate for sainthood has to have been dead for five years. Pope John Paul II bypassed that rule when Mother Theresa was nominated for sainthood. After the nomination, an investigation into the life of the candidate is launched. Following the Vatican's approval there must be a recognized and recorded miracle that cannot be explained away. This is known as Beatification.

During the process of Beatification catholiceducation.org says "A martyr may be beatified and declared blessed by virtue of martyrdom itself. Otherwise, the candidate must be credited with a miracle. In verifying the miracle the church looks at whether God truly performed a miracle and whether the miracle was in response to the intercession of the candidate saint."

Following Beatification, the candidate saint must be associated with a second miracle before the man or woman can be approved and canonized by the Pope.

In the case of Pope John Paul II, the Vatican recognizes two miracles relating to the healing of two women, one in 2005 the other in 2011.

In 2005, a French nun by the name of Sister Marie Simon-Pierre was suffering from Parkinson's Disease, a debilitating illness for which there is no cure. The story goes that the afflicted nun prayed for help from the Pope, who interceded on her behalf. There is no medical explanation as to how the nun recovered.

In 2010, the night the late Pope was being Beatified, a Costa Rican woman was also inexplicably healed from a brain injury when the woman's family prayed to the memory of the Pope.  

Pope John Paul II's path to sainthood has been criticized by some as moving too fast, because the pontiff's time on the chair of Saint Peter was filled with corruption in the Church and accusations of child molestation among priests.

If approved by the Pope, John Paul II will be canonized with another late Pope, John XXIII who has been waiting 50-years for canonization.

Once named a saint, both late popes will be given a feast day, a specific prayer and a location or something specific that they will represent to the Catholic world. For example Saint Anne, the mother of the Virgin Mary, is the patron saint of equestrians, St. Florian is the patron saint of firefighters and St. Francis of Assisi is the patron saint of animals.

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Amanda Schiavo holds a B.A in History from Pace University and has been a member of the Latin Times team since May 2013. She is an amateur historian, an aficionado of all things Disney, is an animal enthusiast and an accomplished equestrian. Schiavo enjoys writing human-interest pieces and stories related to helping animals and animal rights. Schiavo has been a journalist for four years and has written for Brooklyn Today as well as several other publications.