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Case nears completion for beatification of John Paul II

 Rome, Apr. 1, 2008 (CWNews.com) - The postulator of the cause for beatification of Pope John Paul II has nearly finished a definitive summary of the case for consideration by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

Just before the 3rd anniversary of the beloved Pontiff's death-- which will be commemorated on April 2, with Pope Benedict XVI presiding at a Mass in St. Peter's Square-- Msgr. Slawomir Oder told Vatican Radio that he has completed a "semi-final" version of the document known as a positio. That document, which will be about 2,000 pages long, summarizes the evidence that has been collected about the life and work of Pope John Paul II.

The positio offers a brief recounting of all the documents collected in the investigation of the late Pontiff, "organized in a systematic way," Msgr. Oder told the Vatican Radio audience. The prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, last week promised that when the positio reaches his office, it will receive immediate consideration, since the Vatican would like to proceed with the cause "as soon as possible."

Calls for the beatification of John Paul II began immediately after his death on April 2, 2005; during his funeral, loud cries of Santo Subito echoed around St. Peter's Square. Recognizing his predecessor's widespread public reputation for sanctity, Pope Benedict XVI waived the usual 5-year waiting period that must pass after a candidate's death and the opening of a formal cause for beatification.

The first step in that cause, the diocesan investigation, opened in Rome in June 2005. It was formally concluded on April 2, 2007, with the results of the investigation passed along to the Vatican. The next major step toward beatification would be a finding by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, approved by the Pope, that the life of John Paul II was characterized by "heroic virtue."

After the promulgation of a decree to that effect, the certification of a miracle attributed to the intercession of the late Pope would fulfill the requirements for beatification. Several reported miracles are already under examination.

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