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Delay in progress toward beatification of John Paul II?

March 05, 2010

Progress toward the beatification of Pope John Paul II may be delayed, a Polish newspaper reports, because doctors examining a reported miracle have been unable to reach a consensus.

A Vatican official told the ANSA news agency that the team of doctors examining the reported miracle had not yet reached a finding, and their report is not expected until after Easter. However the Warsaw daily Rzeczpospolita said that the doctors were split on the case.

The miracle under discussion is the sudden healing of a French nun, Sister Marie Simon-Pierre, who had been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease-- coincidentally, the same disease that Pope John Paul II battled for years. At least some of the doctors examining the case are not convinced that the disease was actually Parkinson's, Rzeczpospolita reports. Other diseases of the nervous system produce similar symptoms. To complicate matters, there are reports-- as yet unconfirmed-- that Sister Simon-Pierre has experienced a recurrence of the symptoms that she had shown in 2005 prior to her remarkable recovery.

If doctors are unable to reach unanimous agreement that the cure was miraculous, their report would probably cause only a temporary setback in the progress toward beatification of the late Pope. There are well over 200 reports of miracles attributed to his intervention, and Vatican officials could turn their attention to another case. However, such a setback would probably eliminate any possibility that the beatification of John Paul II could take place this year.

Vatican officials have cautioned against attaching too much significance to the report in Rzeczpospolita. The doctors who examine a reported miracle are asked to subject the case to rigorous scrutiny, they point out, and the case of Sister Marie Simon-Pierre remains the lead possibility that the Congregation for the Causes of Saints is examining.

Last December Pope Benedict XVI approved a decree testifying to the "heroic virtue" practiced by Pope John Paul II, thus qualifying him for the title "venerable." The approval of a miracle would now fulfill the requirements for his beatification.


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  • Posted by: - Mar. 06, 2010 7:20 PM ET USA

    JP2 was undoubtedly a man of heroic virtue but I totally oppose any push to have him canonized. The fact is that he left the Church with a legacy of abominable episcopal appointments that have wrought untold devastation on the Catholic faith and whose effects will continue to afflict the Church for generations to come.