As though most Catholics … especially of the reactionary sort … don’t already view the late Pope John Paul II as a saint, it seems he’s on target for formal recognition as one. The (UK) Telegraph reports on his pending beatification:

The mayor of Rome, who would play a pivotal role in organizing the event, said the beatification of John Paul is expected to take place “at the latest” by 2010.

Speaking on a visit to Krakow, in the former Pope’s native Poland, Gianni Alemmano said: “These are internal decisions (for the Vatican) but it is expected to take place at the latest by next year.”

Vatican observers say the most likely date for the beatification would be April next year, on the fifth anniversary of the popular Pontiff’s death.

The article mentions that beatification is the next step for John Paul II in his rise to sainthood. It requires — among other things — a verified miracle associated with him.

In John Paul’s case, the miracle under consideration is said to have taken place when a French nun was cured of Parkinson’s disease.

And of course, we all know it’s not possible for a nun, or the Catholic hospitals that no doubt treated her, to be swayed to exaggerate her experience and her miraculous recovery. Oh no. That could never happen. (OK, enough sarcasm.) The Telegraph points out that John Paul II’s canonization case is being handled with what is — for the Vatican — unusual (if not unprecedented) speed:

The process leading to sainthood usually takes decades, but Pope Benedict XVI launched the beatification process for John Paul just two months after his predecessor’s death on April 5, 2005.

I suspect — but cannot prove — that the current Pope, Benedict XVI, would like to be able to canonize his mentor and guide, the man who essentially set him up as his successor, in the same way that John Paul II himself famously wanted to — and eventually did — canonize one of his own favorites, Mother Teresa. If this is the case — and again I don’t know it for sure, I can only guess it’s the case — then we have two Popes accelerating the canonization process to suit their own whims.

Hat tip: Holy Post blog (at Canada’s National Post)

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